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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: April ::
Macduff and Macbeth
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0298.  Friday, 2 April 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Apr 1994 11:27:17 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0295  Re: Macduff
 
(2)     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 01 Apr 1994 14:13:46 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0295  Re: Macbeth's Death; Macduff
 
(3)     From:   William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
        Date:   Friday, 01 Apr 1994 22:53:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0295  Re: Macbeth's Death; Macduff
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Apr 1994 11:27:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0295  Re: Macduff
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0295  Re: Macduff
 
Like Naomi Liebler, I agree that the exchange between Lady Macduff and her son
is puzzling and problematic, but I think it has something to do with the issue
of "manhood," which is defined in competing and contradictory ways throughout
the play and is associated, I think, with the contradictions between residual
and emergent conceptions of marriage. (Cf., e.g.,"I dare do all that may
become a man; Who dares do more is none." "When you durst do it, then you were
a man." "Dispute it like a man." "But I must also feel it as a man") Macbeth's
murder of Duncan takes place in the context of a close, affective bond with his
wife, which historians associate with an emergent ideal of companionate
marriage. Macduff's heroic, patriotic action requires literal and figurative
estrangement from his wife, which reminds me of the old-fashioned ideal of the
warrior satirized in Hotspur's preference for his horse to his wife.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 01 Apr 1994 14:13:46 -0400
Subject: 5.0295  Re: Macbeth's Death; Macduff
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0295  Re: Macbeth's Death; Macduff
 
Just a question for Bill Godshalk.  Is there any reason to think that Macduff
is not Thane of Fife?  It is where he lives, after all, and he seems to receive
the respect given to other Thanes.
 
As for his leaving for England, it hardly makes him a bad or ambitious person.
He is, after all, the man who desires the voices of the thanes "aloud with
mine" to proclaim Malcolm king, and he no doubt saves hundreds of lives by
helping to end Macbeth's tyranny.  He doesn't enjoy leaving his wife exposed in
the process, but if he doesn't run this risk, even more will die.
        Cheers,
        Sean Lawrence.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Friday, 01 Apr 1994 22:53:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0295  Re: Macbeth's Death; Macduff
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0295  Re: Macbeth's Death; Macduff
 
Okay, let's admit that that the first thane of Cawdor dies with dignity, or, at
least, Malcolm so reports his death (1.4.7-8, Wells and Taylor). That does NOT
prove that Macbeth died in the the same fashion. In fact, isn't Macbeth a
traitor worse that the former thane? I don't see why we have to glorify this
murderer. I don't see why we have to see this play as a tragedy -- if tragedy
means that the protagonist has  redeeming qualities. Macbeth does NOT have
redeeming qualities. He kills his direct superior to get his place; he kills
his friend; he kills a defenseless family of women and children; he kills a boy
warrior. I would not really like to hear anyone defend this kind of behavior
for any reason. I don't think that Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth are the kind of people
I'd like to live with. If you want them as neighbor, I guess we won't be
hearing from you again.
 
Let's not glorify this kind of violence.
 
Bill Godshalk
 

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