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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: March ::
Re: Macbeth's Death
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0268.  Saturday, 26 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Mary Jane Miller <
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        Date:   Friday, 25 Mar 94 14:16:16 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
 
(2)     From:   Elise Earthman <
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        Date:   Friday, 25 Mar 1994 11:49:54 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   SHK 5.0267 Q: Macbeth's Death
 
(3)     From:   Mike Young <
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        Date:   Friday, 25 Mar 1994 14:45:52 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
 
(4)     From:   Harry Hill <HILHAR@CONU2.BITNET>
        Date:   Friday, 25 Mar 1994 15:56:50 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
 
(5)     From:   Charles Neuringer <NEURINGER@UKANVAX.BITNET>
        Date:   Friday, 25 Mar 1994 15:37:45 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0267 Q: Macbeth's Death
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Jane Miller <
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Date:           Friday, 25 Mar 94 14:16:16 -0500
Subject: 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
 
Why make him a coward? why rob Macbeth of the courage of despair? It's
virtually all he has left, but Shakespeare leaves him that. He is more than a
"dead butcher"  as Lady Mac is more than a "fiend-like queen"- at least to the
audience. Mind you, when Paul Scofield had to fight MacDuff many years ago, the
broadswords were so heavy he had to impale himself on MacD's sword  or the play
would still be going on.  Mary Jane
 
Mary Jane Miller

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elise Earthman <
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Date:           Friday, 25 Mar 1994 11:49:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Q: Macbeth's Death
Comment:        SHK 5.0267 Q: Macbeth's Death
 
Yikes!  I feel somewhat out of my league in this conference, since I have
not trained as a Shakespearean, but I have taught Macbeth in both high
school and college, and your proposed staging of the fight scene sent
chills up my spine--not, I'm afraid, of the good kind =-). I guess my
objection as an audience member of your production would be that the only
thing that *saves* Macbeth for me at the end of the play is that he stays
the course, he doesn't cave in, that he goes out "as a man," if you will.
When I taught Macbeth to inner city minority students, that was something
they were very pleased to see in the play--yes, Macbeth did horrible
things, yes, he had a terrible fall, but when they brainstormed all the
things he *could* have done at the end (tried to cut a deal, sneaked away
in disguise, committed suicide, surrendered outright), they saw
guts--macho, to some of them--in his ending, a return to the noble figure
we glimpsed if only too briefly at the beginning of the play.  Since I
think they have a point, I'd find your version terribly depressing, if he
begged for mercy at the end.  Still, that said, a surprising
interpretation is always interesting (we had quite an unusual Duchess of
Malfi at ACT this year)--and who knows?  Others may like it.
 
Elise Earthman
San Francisco State University
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Young <
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Date:           Friday, 25 Mar 1994 14:45:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
 
Yes, I have seen the death kept until the very last line at least once (I
can see a university production from about ten years ago in my mind) and
the scream by Macbeth punctuated the action. I think it also makes him
more human, by speaking to anyone who will listen. i.e. the audience, just
before the end.  If the fight has been good and Macbeth a rounded
character and voice, it'll do.  Good hunting.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <HILHAR@CONU2.BITNET>
Date:           Friday, 25 Mar 1994 15:56:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0267  Q: Macbeth's Death
 
No, I for one have never seen this utterance of the soon-to-be dead butcher
turned this way. Don't you think that his words are not in any way an appeal
for mercy but a final savage heroism? But in an evening of fight-scenes it
matters less, of course, except that your audience probably all KNOW the famous
couplet and would likely be impressed only by the novelty. You asked for a
reaction to your idea, and that's mine. "Good fortune attend your endeavours."
(A prize of pride for identifying that!)
 
        Harry Hill
        Concordia, Montreal
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Neuringer <NEURINGER@UKANVAX.BITNET>
Date:           Friday, 25 Mar 1994 15:37:45 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 5.0267 Q: Macbeth's Death
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0267 Q: Macbeth's Death
 
How it plays depends on the context of the whole play's presentation. It
would seem to me that Macbeth's death should reflect his life. If you play
it as planned, Macbeth would have to characterized as a person who would
ask for "mercy".  If Macbeth is played as weary and worn out, (Dose not
the text support such an interpretation?), then he might want to make an
end of it quickly. In that case, asking for "mercy" is out of character.
 
Charles Neuringer

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