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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: June ::
Macduff
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 383.  Wednesday, 23 June 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jun 1993 10:13:51 +22306256 (EST)
        Subj:   Re. Macduff
 
(2)     From:   Herbert Donow <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jun 93 09:44:03 CST
        Subj:   Macduff and Cleopatra
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <
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Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jun 1993 10:13:51 +22306256 (EST)
Subject:        Re. Macduff
 
Maybe Macduff has to leave his family to join the army of righteousness
and his wife and children have to be killed because this is a play where
men are tainted by associations with women. Neither Duncan nor Banquo has
a wife, and the first credential Malcolm offers when he decides to abjure
what he calls the "taints and blames" he laid on himself to test Macduff
is, "I am yet unknown to women" (IV.iii).
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Herbert Donow <
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Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jun 93 09:44:03 CST
Subject:        Macduff and Cleopatra
 
Two brief observations: a) Macduff is a significant character who achieves that
significance rather late in the play.  Prior to the 4th act he is little more
important than Ross.  Questions about his character (why he abandons his family
and so forth and why he looms so large in Macbeth's mind) might have been
answered in a missing scene--one of those many of us believe were lost before
the printing of F1.  Macbeth, to his credit, was one who consulted with his
wife (unlike Brutus or Hotspur); Macduff, had we that significant scene to
prove it, neglected his wife and felt it unnecessary to share his thoughts with
her. Someone needs to write "Macduff" including all the facts that Shakespeare
undoubtedly intended to provide us but carelessly lost.
 
b) As one of late middle years, I have long been taken with Cleopatra.  She
appeals to us older guys.  Proof of her extraordinary powers lies in the fact
that the most lyrical piece of poetry in the play comes from the tongue of a
most prosaic solder -- Enobarbus -- as he describes "her infinite variety."
What can one say but "O, rare for Antony"?
 
Herbert Donow
Southern Illinois University
 

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