Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Rooky/Roaky Wood
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1202.  Tuesday, 25 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Nov 1997 08:35:42 -0500
        Subj:   Rooky wood etc

[2]     From:   Harry Rusche <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Nov 1997 09:58:11 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1196  Re: Rooky/Roaky


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Nov 1997 08:35:42 -0500
Subject:        Rooky wood etc.

William Empson made the point long ago (in 1930) that Macbeth is himself
in some sense the crow, making his silent, sinister way to the 'rooky
wood' where the creatures on whom he will viciously fall  prepare
noisily and innocently for sleep. Of course, rooks are also  crows. But
as a man here turns against humanity, so nature turns against itself.
The distinction permitted by the use of the two words is between rooks,
who 'live in a crowd and are mainly vegetarian', and the solitary
carrion crow, one of 'night's black agents' who aims to wreak havoc
amongst them. This 'subdued pun' also hints at an opposite impulse: the
crow's wish ultimately to be united with the rookery, or Macbeth's
peculiar sense that by murdering Banquo he will somehow fulfill a larger
human destiny. As king, he will be a crow amongst rooks. The
ambiguities, ironies and bloody-minded double-think attendant on the
institution of Monarchy in Britain are of course all operating here. The
appalling scenes and outbursts accompanying the death of the 'people's
princess' indicate that they are still current.  In a later comment,
Empson disarmingly allows that 'Obviously the passage is still
impressive if you have no opinions at all about the difference between
crows and rooks'. ( See his Seven Types of Ambiguity, London, Chatto
1930: 3rd edition Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1961, pp. 37-9)

Terence Hawkes

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Rusche <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Nov 1997 09:58:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.1196  Re: Rooky/Roaky
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1196  Re: Rooky/Roaky

Re: The rooky wood.  I have not noticed, but has anyone mentioned
William Empson's discussion of the passage from _Macbeth_ in his _Seven
Types of Ambiguity_?  It is worth looking at.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.