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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: February ::
Rs: Middleton's Mac.; Psycho Mac.; Poem; Review
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0118.  Tuesday, 15 February 1994.
 
(1)     From:   James McKenna <MCKENNJI@UCBEH>
        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 1994 00:27:21 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Middleton's Macbeth
 
(2)     From:   Lonnie J Durham <
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        Date:   Monday, 14 Feb 1994 10:58:31 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Bell's Psychotic Macbeth
 
(3)     From:   Nancy W. Miller <
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        Date:   Monday, 14 Feb 94 10:04:23 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0116  Miscellaneous Questions
 
(4)     From:   Michael Skovmand <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 94 09:25:51 MET
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0116  Miscellaneous Questions
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James McKenna <MCKENNJI@UCBEH>
Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 1994 00:27:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Middleton's Macbeth
 
I'll bite:  Do songs usually appear in Middleton's recognized plays?  If
rarely, then we may have a pattern--that is, songs often appear in Sh's plays,
so it seems likely that Middleton was engaging in his (according to Taylor and
Wells) favorite activity of putting Sh to work for his own ends.
 
Mack
mckennji@ucbeh.bitnet
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lonnie J Durham <
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Date:           Monday, 14 Feb 1994 10:58:31 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Bell's Psychotic Macbeth
 
I know that there is no practical way to rank the relative quality of
various interpretive emphases, but it seems to me that casting *Macbeth*
in the light of current "social crisis" obsessions is not only
trivializing, but represents chrono- and cultural centrism with a
vengeance.  If Lear's and Macbeth's are simply examples of Dysfunctional
Families, the public can get their curiousities satisfied much more
directly from Oprah or Donahue.
 
Personally, I believe that Tragedy as an art form must be ACHIEVED by an
audience (as an act of interpretation), rather than its being an inherent
quality of the work, and the possibility of that achievement is undermined
by the production's pointing too blatantly toward pathologies (even Mary
Bess Campbell's fine, old-fashioned humours theories).  The audience is
simply let off the hook by being invited to attribute the terrors of
existence to a few "abnormal" types.
 
What tragic proportions can we attribute to a couple who may have averted
their "problems" through a timely visit to the marriage counselor?
 
But look at the METAPHYSICAL questions raised by the Macbeths' deeds.
Lady Macbeth's madness may be given its current psychological label, but
the significance of that madness is that she has struck through the fabric
of cultural meaning to catch a glimpse of a world of mere animal
competition, mere breeding, bleeding and dying, in her attempt,
ironically, to clothe herself and her husband in more substantial robes of
cultural significance.  Her obsessive washing is an attempt to eradicate
the stain of mortality (very like the little hand in Hawthorne's "The
Birthmark") and its link with empty linear time ("Tomorrow and tomorrow")
that she glimpsed in the bleeding carcass of what had once been a KING.
 
Similarly, I take Macbeth's obsession to be a magnificently magnified
version of EVERY culture (speaking of a likely shared value): the
attempt to give this existence meaning by linking it with some invisible
cosmic plan or pattern.  Hasn't he committed a cosmically significant
crime?  Hasn't he been promised a MIRACULOUS retribution for that crime?
Are these Halloween effects and prophetic quibbles all he is going to see
of the face of that avenging God?  I mean, if you were going to be assured
once and for all that what humans do to one another matters somewhere
beyond this existence, wouldn't you be tempted to force this fugitive,
peek-a-boo God into a clear manifestation of himself?
 
Such acts, I submit, are not simply the result of psychic maladjustment, but
one form of the continuing human quest to track down (in a kind of reversal of
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN) that slippery old deity.  To my mind, this is a project of
true tragic proportions.
 
Lonnie Durham  U.of Minn.  <
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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy W. Miller <
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Date:           Monday, 14 Feb 94 10:04:23 EST
Subject: 5.0116  Miscellaneous Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0116  Miscellaneous Questions
 
Can Nate Johnson give me more info about the "much ado" poem?  In
particular, who is this lady poet it appears to be praising?  Which microfilm
is it on (not U of M if it's a ms.?)
 
Thanks in advance.
 
Nancy W. Miller

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(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Skovmand <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 94 09:25:51 MET
Subject: 5.0116  Miscellaneous Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0116  Miscellaneous Questions
 
re: negative review of Branagh's Much Ado: Richard Corliss, Time
Magazine, May 10 1993.
 
Michael Skovmand
Dep't of English
U. Of Aarhus
Denmark
 

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