The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1087. Tuesday, 28 October 1997.
Date: Monday, 27 Oct 1997 16:02:42 -0400 (AST)
Subject: Macbeth Whodunit?
I have been doing some general research regarding some questionable
aspects of *Macbeth* and have stumbled across something interesting: in
a book entitled *Macbeth with Related Readings* (apparently designed as
a teaching aid for junior high and high school level instructors), there
was a short story called "The Macbeth Murder Mystery" that deals with
Now, it is a common-and justified-assumption that Macbeth killed Duncan,
but this story attempts to cast a shadow of doubt upon that which we
feel is so obvious. The author, James Thurber, tries out a couple of
other hypotheses concerning the identity of the murderer with different
degrees of success. But the surprising thing is how each alternative
gains a little plausibility when compared with the equally disturbing
traditional line of argument. I won't try out his hypotheses here, but
rather let anyone who is interested read it for themselves.
The book: *Macbeth with Related Readings* is edited by Dom Saliani,
Chris Ferguson and Tim Scott and is published by ITP, Albany (NY?),
1997. It is part of "The Global Shakespeare Series" and they have a web
address at http://www.thomson.com for those interested.
The article: "The Macbeth Murder Mystery" is written by James Thurber.
(copyright 1970 by Rosemary Thurber) and is from *My World - and Welcome
To It*, published by Harcourt Brace (no date here, but the original
publication date is 1942).
Who killed Duncan? Isn't it obvious?