with the easily satisfied mind of the self-uninterested Banquo:—

For this reason, Aristotle's thoughts on tragedy (i.e., peopleare imperfect)really seem more useful in discussing Shakespeare than indiscussing Sophocles.In my course and here, my advice is the same -- focus on the human beings, the real-life, individual situations.






and then Macbeth's earnest reply,—

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Still again Banquo goes on wondering like any common spectator:

He may be the "equivocatorthat could swear in both the scales against either scale,who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could notequivocate to heaven." Of course, the witches "equivocate" withMacbeth in reassuring him that he will not be vanquished until the forestmoves, and not be killed by anyone born of woman.Macbeth deals with the fictionalancestors of the Stuart line (Banquo, Fleance) and presents Banquomore favorably than did the play's sources.

Were such things here as we do speak about?

Stephen Greenblatt's "Will in the World" (highly recommended,a book about Shakespeare's times and how he must have beeninfluenced by contemporary events) explains some puzzling featuresof our play.

Is it too minute to notice the appropriateness of the simile 'as breath,' &c., in a cold climate?

I am very familiar with howhuman bodies decompose.

Macbeth verballyabuses and bulliesthe people who he needs to defend him (and who areabandoning him), while reflecting to himself onthe emptiness and futility of it all.

There will be a puddle of oil underneath the body.

Does Macbeth say "Had I but died an hour...." because he is really sorry (i.e.,sad about his moral deterioration and/or realizing he's gettinghimself into trouble),or just overacting?

Moments later, the bad guys break in and stab him to death.

They do not suffer fromfear of the afterlife (which Lady Macbeth b-tches out of her husband;he talks about giving up his "eternal jewel", i.e., his soul,to the devil simply as an accomplished fact).

Act ii. sc. i. Banquo's speech:

They do not suffer primarily from conscience(which is not much in evidence in any character, thoughMalcolm at least claims to live clean to test Macduff).

It showslife at its most brutal and cynical, in order to ask life's toughest question.

Then in the necessity of recollecting himself—

Ib. sc. 2. Now that the deed is done or doing—now that the first reality commences. Lady Macbeth shrinks. The most simple sound strikes terror, the most natural consequences are horrible, whilst previously every thing, however awful, appeared a mere trifle; conscience, which before had been hidden to Macbeth in selfish and prudential fears, now rushes in upon him in her own veritable person:

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Another witch offers to help with a bit of magical wind.

Then he relapses into himself again, and every word of his soliloquy shows the early birth-date of his guilt. He is all-powerful without strength; he wishes the end, but is irresolute as to the means; conscience distinctly warns him, and he lulls it imperfectly:—

Everybody brings a different set of experiences to a book,a theater, or a classroom.

Ross is in a big hurry to leave Macduff's castle.

("Perhaps she is actually a personof more sensitive feelings than she lets on.")Or does she simply pretend to faint todivert attention from her husband's overacting?