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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: April ::
*Mac.* Discussions
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0327.  Thursday, 20 April 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Scott Shepherd <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Apr 1995 10:38:48 -0400
        Subj:   *Mac* discussions
 
(2)     From:   Scott Shepherd <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Apr 1995 10:38:55 -0400
        Subj:   *Mac.* discussions
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Shepherd <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Apr 1995 10:38:48 -0400
Subject:        *Mac* discussions
 
  SERGEANT
    No sooner justice had, with valor arm'd,
    Compell'd these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
    But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,
    With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men
    Began a fresh assault.
  DUNCAN                  Dismay'd not this
    Our captains Macbeth and Banquo?
  SERGEANT                          Yes,
    As sparrows eagles or the hare the lion.
    If I say sooth I must report they were
    As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks,
    So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
 
Doesn't sound to me like two skirmishes on opposite sides of the country. Where
did that idea come from anyway?
 
If the above isn't enough to put Macbeth in both battles, here's Ross:
 
    The king hath happily receiv'd Macbeth
    The news of thy success, and when he reads
    Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight
    His wonders and his praises do contend
    Which should be thine or his. Silenc'd with that,
    In viewing o'er the rest o' th' selfsame day
    He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks...
 
Any attempt to equate Bellona's bridegroom with Macduff is a rewrite theory. We
all admit that, right?
 
Is something missing in the development of Macduff? Why are we looking for more
of him in act one? Lots of avengers have to wait for their big scenes. Look at
Richmond in *R3*. Look at Antony in *JC*. Look at Laertes. They can't emerge
until the configuration of events calls for them. (cf Tolstoy's conception of
history in *War and Peace*) "Hero" is an opportunity afforded to Macduff by the
assassination of Duncan, and he can't announce his candidacy before the
position opens up.
 
Dom Saliani wants to establish Macduff as "a worthy adversary" in act one, but
that's an unshakespearean dramatic concern. I feel the same way about Bill
Godshalk's scenario where Macduff resents Macbeth after being passed over for
thane of Cawdor. The idea that Macduff would expect that appointment has no
existence in the play. It might have been there before, but there's still no
good reason to think so.
 
Bellona's bridegroom seems to be a sticking point, because an epithet is used
instead of a name. But the whole project of 1.2 is to glorify Macbeth! By the
time Ross says "Bellona's bridegroom" everybody knows who the man of the day
is.
 
If you cut from
 
> Or memorize another Golgotha,
> I cannot tell
 
to
 
> Norway himself with terrible numbers,
 
making one long battle report, could we still doubt the identity of the
bridegroom?
 
The sergeant's speech is followed by the story from Ross the same way one
paragraph follows another in a monologue. One messenger collapses and another
takes up where he left off, continuing in the same bloated epic style (which is
the reason for epithets in the first place).
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Shepherd <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Apr 1995 10:38:55 -0400
Subject:        *Mac.* discussions
 
I wish I had an OED here. My old Webster's has this for "rebellious":
 
> 2. resisting treatment or management.
 
You can be rebellious against anything, not just a political state. For example,
 
> ...His antique sword,
> Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
> Repugnant to command.                         [Hamlet 2.2.469-471]
 
So I think Norway (or Macbeth) can have a rebellious arm even if he's not a
rebel.
 
But Don Foster's main point about identity confusion as a device or pattern in
*Macbeth* is right on the money.
 

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