Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0187. Saturday, 5 March 1994.
Date: Friday, 04 Mar 1994 12:01:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Ross and Paulina
The suggestion that Ross is a time server is made by Muir in the Arden
Edition in the notes to II, iv, 40. Muir cites a work by Chambers. The
Old Man's speech could be an ironic blessing on those who would make
"friends of foes" for the sake of saving their own skins. Ross's presence
at Macbeth's coronation is a sign of his time serving, Macduff's absence a
sign of his disaffection from Macbeth. Muir seems to accept this view,
because when Ross appears in IV, ii, Muir calls him a time server in the
notes to line 1. In the notes to IV, iii, 160, he refers to Ross as
"a collaborator," citing R. Walker.
I also want to comment on something said by Bill Godshalk in regard to
the unsolved mystery of the third murderer. He writes "Does Shakespeare
always tell his audience what's going on" What about the Paulina/Hermione
plot?" My answer to the first question would be no, but I don't think
Paulina is a good example. Hasn't Shakespeare pretty much told us what
was going on there? In V, ii, the Second Gentleman tells us that Paulina
has been visiting the sculptor's "removed house" two or three times a day
since Hermione's death. Why couldn't Paulina stage a fake funeral for
Hermione, take her to the sculptor's house, and wait for Leontes'
reformation to give Hermione back to him (more than he deserves, but
that's another issue)?