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TOPIC: CSI: Macduff

CSI: Macduff 3 years 9 months ago #6697

  • Patrick Golden
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In trying to bring a bit of variety to the portrayal of Scotland's Boy-Scout-Abroad (Macduff, I mean), I'm contemplating a couple of important questions.

1. Does Macduff figure out that Macbeth killed Duncan?
2. If so, when does he? Only much later, after the fact, or during the "discovery" scene, (2.3)?
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CSI: Macduff 3 years 9 months ago #6704

  • William Shakespeare
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No, I don't think Macduff suspects Macbeth in 2.3. If he suspects anyone at that point, it's Malcolm & Donalbain (likely paid off the guards to do the deed or aided in the process before Macbeth "killed" the murderers).

Later, Lennox is at the banquet where Macbeth comes about as close as he can get to admitting guilt without actually saying it outright. It's likely his connection to Malcolm is what puts the pieces together for the two of them and Malcolm heads to England to raise an army to overthrow Macbeth.

Macduff later meets up with Malcolm in 4.3 where he's tested to see if he's one of Macbeth's spies and finds out his family has been killed. The two of them at this point pretty come to the conclusion that Macbeth has been the cause of many murders and mount an offensive to kill him so Malcolm can ascend the throne.
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CSI: Macduff 3 years 9 months ago #6705

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I think a seed of suspicion, at least, is planted when Macbeth admits to killing the king's bodyguards. "O, yet I do repent me of my fury / That I did kill them." To which Macduff immediately interrupts his line (finishing the line, actually) with "Wherefore did you so?" There's a rush there in the words. I think the reason this is so incredibly suspicious is because Macbeth has just finished showing Macduff to the king's chamber. Macduff has come to the castle late ("He did command me to call timely on him / I have almost slipp'd the hour.") He goes in to visit the king; Macbeth shows him the way, to the MURDER SCENE. After Macbeth admits he killed the guards, the question implicit in Macduff's "Wherefore did you so?" is really, "Well...wait a damn minute. WHEN did you do this? Before or after you just showed me to the very place? Why didn't you tell me THEN?"

Macbeth is not a good liar and he doesn't think his plans through. Really, I think he's improvising the whole way, and this is a point where he almost reveals himself.

As a side note, I really dig the idea that Malcolm is trying to sound out Macduff's loyalty in 4.3, trying to determine is he's a spy or not. My reading of that scene is that Malcolm is playing on Macduff's perceived naivete with regards to courtly politics: he's playing him so that Macduff will back Malcolm's kingship. Of course, I am personally not portraying him naive, but rather savvy, playing Malcolm just as he's being played himself.
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CSI: Macduff 3 years 9 months ago #6706

  • Ron Severdia
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I don't think Macduff is any more rushed in his response than the others in the scene because panic has set in and there are quite a few interruptions in this exchange. That's not to say Macbeth couldn't have a certain awkwardness in trying explain why he says "What's the matter?" when Macduff comes out screaming "Horror..."

Yes, Malcolm knows that Macbeth's spies are everywhere and he's a marked man. So when Macduff comes in to rile him up for battle, he doesn't believe he's sincere. He hints at several points ("Be not offended") that he's not *directly* suggesting Macduff is lying and swears he'd be a worse tyrant than Macbeth. The conversation elevates to the point where Macduff has honestly given up all desire to live as well as his faith in Scotland's future. He invokes the old king and queen and how he's known Malcolm since he was a little boy while he breaks down into tears. I think he really believes that Malcolm has just given up—and Malcolm does a pretty convincing job of it so I don't think he's naïve.

Seeing Macduff's sincerity, Malcolm reveals his true self and plans to go to war.
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