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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: December ::
Re: Succession
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2750  Wednesday, 5 December 2001

From:           Ruth Ross <
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Date:           Tuesday, 4 Dec 2001 16:11:06 -0500
Subject: 12.2711 Re: Succession
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2711 Re: Succession

What about succession in "Macbeth"? Does Macbeth have any reason to
think that Duncan will name him as successor? I once read that in the
11th century (the time of the "real" Macbeth) primogeniture wasn't
necessarily the way to go. If a more qualified candidate came along, he
could be named king. I've often thought Malcolm could be about 14 years
old and a bit wet behind the ears (after all, the sergeant had to save
him during battle) to become king and Macbeth evidently expects to be
named (Shakespeare uses the term "earnest" twice in the first act ---
kind of like earnest money one gives to show intent), especially since
he was "Bellona's bridegroom" in the recent rebellions. What kind of
king could Duncan be if two of his trusted thanes rebelled (and did it
with outside help from the Western Isles and the Norwegians)? That
Malcolm shows himself to be a shrewd manipulator with Macduff in Act IV
could be chalked up to the passage of time; after all, Macbeth reigned
for a couple of years although Shakespeare seems to collapse time to
suit his dramatic purposes.  Any thoughts?

Ruth Ross

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