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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: April ::
Re: Macduff; Hamlet's Trial
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0305.  Monday, 4 April 1994.
 
(1)     From:   William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
        Date:   Sunday, 03 Apr 1994 10:56:30 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0298  Macduff and Macbeth
 
(2)     From:   Robert Teeter <
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        Date:   Sunday, 3 Apr 1994 22:55:49 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0299 Re: Hamlet's Trial
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Sunday, 03 Apr 1994 10:56:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0298  Macduff and Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0298  Macduff and Macbeth
 
Sean Lawrence,
 
I think you must have been confused by my rhetoric. I don't think there's any
reason to believe that Macduff is not Thane of Fife, and, as Thane of Fife, he
should obviously defend his own territory in the initial battles of the play.
 
Okay, surely you have evidence for seeing Macduff as a heroic man. He himself
emphasizes that he is a man of feeling, a man who will condone only so much
evil in a king. Greed and lust are fine with him. But that's it (4.3.92-114,
Wells and Taylor). He won't, he says, accept general corruption in his king.
 
But that still leaves us with the question: why did he not take his family with
him when he fled from Scotland? Why did he leave them as possible hostages?
 
I think that historical paradigms imposed by later historians can take us only
so far in explaining Macduff. And I've been convinced by recent arguments that
Raymond Williams's paradigm (moribund/dominant/emergent) is too simplistic.
 
No, MACBETH as play has a concern with children. Macbeth seems to want (in both
senses) male heirs. Macduff has a male heir and leaves him in the clutches of
the butcher. (cf. he departs from  Germany himself, but leaves his family in
the hands of Hitler.) He loses his whole family in fact. Very, very careless,
as Oscar might have said. Macduff lacks SOMETHING -- the common  touch?
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Teeter <
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 >
Date:           Sunday, 3 Apr 1994 22:55:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0299 Re: Hamlet's Trial
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0299 Re: Hamlet's Trial
 
Thank you, Chris Gordon, for the report on Hamlet's trial. The report on
National Public Radio gave the added bit of information that Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsburg also urged investigating Hamlet's complicity in the death of Ophelia.
 
Robert Teeter
 

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