The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0790 Friday, 25 April 2003
From: Matthew Baynham <
Date: Friday, 25 Apr 2003 09:16:30 +0100
Subject: Macbeth's Hired Thugs
Michael Shurgot's passing phrase 'one of Macbeth's hired thugs'
inadvertently raises a fundamental question about Macbeth 2.1. Why
doesn't Shakespeare's Macbeth, as in the sources, just hire some thugs,
instead of going through this long rigmarole of repeated meetings with
people he needs to lie to, in order to convince them that they have
their own reasons for killing Banquo?
In 2.1, the murderers are portrayed, I think, not as thugs but as
ordinary men ('We are men, my liege' etc) whom Macbeth dupes and thus
corrupts. There is, in fact, no mention of hire or reward.
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