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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: April ::
More *Mac.* Responses
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0303.  Saturday, 15 April 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Melissa Aaron <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Apr 1995 08:43:36 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0291 *Mac.*: 3.4; Lead on; More Questions
 
(2)     From:   Dom Saliani <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Apr 1995 08:42:18 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   *Mac* problems
 
(3)     From:   W.L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Apr 1995 22:21:31 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0295  Assorted *Mac.* Responses
 
(4)     From:   Pete Callahan <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Apr 1995 21:33:50 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0288  Re: *Mac.* 3.4; Another *Mac.* Question
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Apr 1995 08:43:36 +0200
Subject: 6.0291 *Mac.*: 3.4; Lead on; More Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0291 *Mac.*: 3.4; Lead on; More Questions
 
>OK, I'd like to suggest that the propechy re Banquo comes true too, in an
>unexcpected way. Banquo is told 'you won't be king but will get kings' or words
>to that effect.  At the end of the play Fleance is forgotten.  However, the
>person coming to take the crown is Malcolm.  For the propechy to be true (and
>all ther others are) the father of Malcolm must be Banquo.
 
The Malcolm line is going to die out--there are a couple of his sons that reign
(including David I) and then a different dynasty, tracing its way back to
Fleance, takes over via Marjory Bruce (Robert the Bruce).  Viz James V's words
about his daughter Mary--"It came with a lass and it will pass with a lass."
 
Melissa Aaron
University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dom Saliani <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Apr 1995 08:42:18 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        *Mac* problems
 
> It's true. 3.6 and 4.1 are in the wrong order. But not because of a "bad
> editor."
 
If this isn't bad editing, what is? The editors could be forgiven this one
gaffe if this were the only one. However, such is not the case with *Macbeth*.
 
The First Folio text of *Macbeth* was branded by the Cambridge editors as "one
of the worst printed of the plays."
 
As suggested in my previous posting, I believe that the play was heavily (and
crudely) edited because of censoring - to make it less offensive to the king.
Perhaps even to overcome a previous banning of the play.
 
The question remains, however, why would *Macbeth* be banned. Could it be that
the play contained anti-Scottish sentiments which were out of vogue at this
time considering the likelihood of James' succession?
 
Could this tie in with the fact that in April 1595, the English Agent in
Edinburgh wrote to Lord Burghley how ill King James took it "that the comedians
in London should scorn the King and people of Scotland in their play"?
 
Could the play mentioned above be an earlier version of *Macbeth*?
 
Here are some other examples of "bad editing"
 
In Act 1, 2, we hear of two battles. The second took place in the area of Fife
- far distant from the site of the first battle. We are expected to believe
that Macbeth had a major hand in both. Ross reports that
 
     Assisted by that most disloyall Traytor,
     The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismall Conflict,    65
     Till that Belona's Bridegroome, lapt in proofe,
     Confronted him with selfe-comparisons
     Point against Point, rebellious Arme 'gainst Arme,
     Curbing his lavish spirit:
 
It seems obvious that Belona's bridegroom confronted Cawdor face to face in
this conflict. And yet, if Macbeth were Belona's bridegroom, why does his
express surprise when he hears in Act 1,3 of Cawdor's treason? Could it be that
someone other that Macbeth is Belona's Bridegroom. There is a note in the
Variorum *Macbeth* suggesting that Macduff is the more likely candidate for the
title. If so, this would suggest further evidence of cutting.
 
> (BTW, "they" might have been Shakespeare, but I don't think so.)
 
I agree.
 
Ron Shields writes:
 
> King James (don't forget Shakespeare wrote this play for him) saw his
> connection to the throne through Fleance--not Malcolm.
 
I have difficulty accepting the baseless legend that Shakespeare wrote this
play to please James. There is very little in the play that would appeal to the
King - including the use of the witches. What James has to say about witches is
quite different from what is suggested in the play.
 
The play deals too closely with the murder of James' father Lord Darnley for it
to be pleasing to the King. In my defence I offer the following from Oscar
James Campbell's *The Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare*:
 
     Since Shakespeare probably designed the play partly to
     please King James 1, he may have substituted Donwald's
     crime for Macbeth's in order to make Duncan's murder
     more like Bothwell's murder of Darnley, King James'
     father. Thus he could involve more securely the king's
     horror and loathing of Duncan's murder.
 
Is this not a classic example of cognitive dissonance on the part of Campbell?
How could he for one minute believe that seeing the reenactment of his father's
murder could be in any way pleasing to James is beyond me. This would not be
complimentary to the king - it would serve to recall all too vividly affairs
that he was only too anxious to forget.
 
There is absolutely no evidence that the play was performed at Hampton Court on
the 7th of August 1606 before James and King Christian of Denmark. This is mere
conjecture. Christian by the way could not speak English. We have a record that
he was entertained in Latin at Oxford during this trip.
 
As for the belief that James would be flattered with the presence of his
ancient ancestor Banquo in the play, even my 11th grade students laugh at this
suggestion. There is nothing commendable in Banquo's character. Holinshed
speaks directly on this issue. As for his characterization in the play, the
great Shakespeare scholar :) Isaac Asimov has the following to say:
 
     If Macduff, with no knowledge of the weird sisters, can
     suspect Macbeth so actively as to refuse his presence at
     the coronation, then for Banquo, with his knowledge, to
     have nothing more than a vague fear is for him to be
     naive almost to the point of imbecility."
          (*Guide to Shakespeare, Vol. II,177)
 
Please help me out here. There was an article (book?) written that dealt
directly with the proposition that *Macbeth* would not have been complimentary
to King James. I have lost the bibliographic info on this. Does anyone know of
such a work?
 
Dom Saliani
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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W.L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Apr 1995 22:21:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0295  Assorted *Mac.* Responses
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0295  Assorted *Mac.* Responses
 
Scott Shepherd makes some interesting conjectures about the revision of
MACBETH. The Oxford editors, in the case of this play, Wells and Taylor assign
the revision to Middleton, and in their edition print a scene from Middleton's
THE WITCH (which doesn't fit well).
 
But as Scott admits, the reviser of MACBETH may have been Shakespeare, and that
identification might go over better now than 40 years ago. Many of us now
believe that Shakespeare fairly routinely revised his plays, and perhaps Eric
Sams pushes this to the limit, arguing that plays that used to be identified as
"sources" are really "early attempts."
 
One thing to remember is that the two witch scenes after Banquo's murder
balance the two witch scenes at the beginning of the play. The witches' initial
all-hails have got Macbeth to the center of the play. The next series of
prophecies get him to the end. Of course, this structuralist argument is not
terribly strong, but the play does seem to have a balance of scenes as somebody
or other pointed out many years ago.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pete Callahan <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Apr 1995 21:33:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0288  Re: *Mac.* 3.4; Another *Mac.* Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0288  Re: *Mac.* 3.4; Another *Mac.* Question
 
Perhaps it is the same as "Play it again Sam", which also was never said.
 
Pete Callahan  SH377413 WVNET
 

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