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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: December ::
Re: 3rd Murderer in Macbeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2279  Thursday, 23 December 1999.

[1]     From:   Eric W Beato <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Dec 1999 10:29:21 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 10.2269 Re: 3rd Murderer in Macbeth

[2]     From:   Nancy Taylor <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Dec 1999 12:03:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2269 Re: 3rd Murderer in Macbeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric W Beato <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Dec 1999 10:29:21 -0500
Subject: Re: 3rd Murderer in Macbeth
Comment:        SHK 10.2269 Re: 3rd Murderer in Macbeth

Modern audiences of Macbeth, of course, would not have the same reaction
to witches as would audiences of 400 years ago.  I would assume the
staging of the witches would be one of the most difficult decisions a
modern director would make.  I am troubled, though, when that decision
offers too much power to the witches.  Making a witch the third murderer
is a step in the process of making the evil in the play NOT the fault of
Macbeth himself.  I would never show the witches with any sort of power
whatever to force the prophecies into occurrence.  I feel the witches
are a SYMPTOM of the evil in the heart of Macbeth, never a CAUSE of it.

The text also clearly suggests that Macbeth is, at the moment of the
murder of Banquo, already inside the court.  No doubt a powerful idea,
but making Macbeth the third murderer does not work for me, either.

Happy holidays,
Rick Beato
Lisle (IL) Senior High School

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy Taylor <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Dec 1999 12:03:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.2269 Re: 3rd Murderer in Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2269 Re: 3rd Murderer in Macbeth

Last winter there was a production here at Tufts directed by Anthony
Cornish (using only 8 actors) that embodied Goddard's idea, so Macbeth
played the third murderer. Unlike the CSF production Mike Jensen
discusses, Macbeth remained hooded throughout, but the audience knew his
identity because he was the only African-American actor in the cast.
The frequent doubling of roles, however, blurred a definitive
interpretation of Macbeth as literally the third murderer.  But if the
audience does read him this way, his question, "Is he dispatched?" seems
like an attempt to distance himself from the murder, to convey to the
other murderers he has been at the castle the entire time.  He won't
even tell his wife his plan after all, so of course he asks the question
they would expect him to ask so as not to arouse suspicion.   In
general, I found it quite effective.

Nancy Taylor
 

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