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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Problems in Macbeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0798  Monday, 28 April 2003

From:           Robert Icke <
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Date:           Friday, 25 Apr 2003 17:23:12 +0100
Subject:        Re: Problems in Macbeth

I am wondering if other people had an opinion on what I have, in my
study of the play, found strange in Macbeth. If Shakespeare's purpose is
to make his audience watch (and pity) the descent and change from
'worthy' Macbeth who 'well ... deserves that name' to a 'dead butcher',
why employ the witches other than to create drama and excitement?

The tragedy of Macbeth is that of a noble man ruined by ambition, and
his downfall is again because of his own and of L.MB's longing for power
and the crown. Surely then, if the witches are casting spells upon him -
'Peace!  the charm's wound up' I presume refers to a spell aimed at
Macbeth - it comes just before he enters in 1.3 - then his tragedy is
not necessarily of a man ruined by his own flaws, but by a man
bewitched. Presumably the witches are behind the dagger that pushes
Macbeth to kill Duncan, and have been said also to be responsible for
the change in Macbeth's character after the coronation; surely this
partly removes the blame for his crimes from his ambitious mind and
places it upon them?

Robert Icke

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