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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Ross and Macduff
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0473  Wednesday, 17 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Hilary Thimmesh <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 10:38:29 -0600
        Subj:   ross/macduff

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 12:49:32 -0500
        Subj:   Ross and Macduff

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 17:53:04 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0461 Re: Ross and Macduff


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hilary Thimmesh <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 10:38:29 -0600
Subject:        ross/macduff

Ross's assurance to Macduff, "They were well at peace when I did leave
them," is a textbook example of equivocation.   Ross means that they are
Christian souls now resting in peace after a bloody death but he knows
that Macduff will understand him to mean that they were secure and
unharmed when he last saw them.  Equivocation was the impeachment issue
of 1606 as the Gunpowder Plot of the preceding November gave James all
the pretext he needed for hunting down and publicly gutting Jesuits.
Shakespeare capitalizes on the topic and weaves it into the structure of
his play until Macbeth finally recognizes that he has been the plaything
of "the fiend that lies like truth."  Years ago Furness suggested a
possible motive for Ross's deception: that he needed to guard his own
position until he received the assurance of solid opposition to Macbeth
that Malcolm proceeds to give him.

Hilary Thimmesh
St. John's University (MN)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 12:49:32 -0500
Subject:        Ross and Macduff

Heather James tells us that "the scapegoating of Macbeth becomes easier
for characters within the play than audiences of it."  "Scapegoat"
hardly seems an appropriate term for somebody who has ordered the
cold-blooded murder of women and children who represent no threat to
him.  And while Macduff's decision to join Malcolm may be injudicious it
is hard to see it as somehow wicked, unless H.J. perceives any and all
politics as so fundamentally corrupting that the only morally sound
decision a man may take is to stay at home and leave affairs of state to
others.  That holds for Malcolm, as well-the play enacts no crime of
his, only an effort to recover his legitimate rights from a bloody
tyrant.  So what's the beef?

Dave Evett

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 17:53:04 -0800
Subject: 10.0461 Re: Ross and Macduff
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0461 Re: Ross and Macduff

Ed Friedlander writes:

>Some people have suggested that
>Shakespeare intended us to realize ("I have given suck") that the
>Macbeths had lost a baby of their own.  This seems rather too
>ingenious-and even if true, no excuse for their bad behavior.

I don't get it-why is determining what little we know about the Macbeth
brood on the basis of the text worse manners and more ingenious than
making similar determinations about the clan Macduff, as in the
following:

>"All my pretty chickens" -- Macduff must have enough to say "all", >i.e., at least 2 kids (his own, or adopted) and a wife.

Curiously,
Se

 

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