As the last post said, I was discussing Macbeth with Karen 2 days ago and from there, I digressed to illustrate our digression. I seem to be chasing butterflies half the time. Well, so today I’m gonna talk about Shakespeare and Macbeth and expose some of the inconsistencies present. No writer/playwright/poet is perfect and I have my misses as well, so no offence to the good people of the Elizabethen (this how you spell it?) times and of course, our grand Shakespeare.
I chose Macbeth cos its my most thoroughly read script of Shakespeare. Was reading casually and stumbled upon some discrepancies. The first is just clarifications for readers.
1. Lady Macbeth planned everything to the details– even the bell to ring to signal that everything is right for Macbeth to kill, drugging the guards, framing them by smearing blood on their sleeves. Wouldn’t it be easier and safer for Lady Macbeth to drug Duncan at the banquet? I very well think she did. While Banquo was talking to Macbeth in Act 2 scene 2 (was it scene 2, I don’t have my book here now), he suggested that the King retired early.
Now, think about it this way: Does Lady Macbeth trust Macbeth? Of course not, we can see this through his pages-long soliloquy in which he fantasizes that with Duncan’s demise, Armageddon (death of natue) will ensue. And he kills for Lady Macbeth.
And I don’t believe that Macbeth killed Duncan, Lady Macbeth did. As Karen kindly pointed out, Macbeth might have hallucinated the act. Shakespeare had his reasons for elision (acts taking place off-stage) giving allowance for that possiblity. I propse that Lady Macbeth drugged Duncan and Macbeth did stab him, when he was dead already.
You might think this ridiculous but it is in Lady Macbeth’s character to push blame somewhere else. In this case, she don’t want anyone to suspect her of killing, not even her husband, while ensuring that the King is really dead. The only way is the above. This also explains for the sudden motivation for her to get up and smear the blood on the guards’ sleeves, while checking that the King is really dead.
Another justification is that Lady Macbeth plunges into guilt later on, something she’ll never sucuumb to if Macbth did the act. For all we know, she just uses Macbeth as a pawn and as karen and I joked– she, the supervisor and Macbeth, the odd-job worker. Murder solicited the same fate for Macbeth and his wife.
2. Banquo was originally characterised as this shrewd, cynical nobleman but when Macbeth is made King and invited him to the feast, while chipping questions on how he’s gonna spend his afternoon with Fleance, his son, Banquo turned literally an idiot. He had earlier suspected Macbeth of the murder, in fact he more than anyone else since he visited the witches with him and also brought a sword with him on the night of the crime in case macbeth turns on him.
Then why did he turn idiot while conversing with Macbeth– exact details about his afternoon ride. Karen suggested that he don’t want Macbeth to suspect him for suspecting Macbeth for the murder, but Banquo could have easily thrown Macbeth off-scent by saying that he’s having tea with some god-knows-what Lord or say he’s going hunting. This is incredulous and of course, Banquo is murdered there and then.
The only reason I can think of is that Shakespeare desperately wants Banquo to die, under Macbeth, opportune and neat before the feast.
3) I wonder why Malcom and Donalbein is still alive. Again, Macbeth seems to be playing fair. He is not supposed to. Especially the way he hired 3 murderers to kill good friend Banquo. He should be sneakish. And he allowed them to fly away and live while building up an army hundred times stronger than his while basking in the witches’ prophecies.
But Shakespeare has got to get the play going, so Malcom in particular should live.
4) Macbeth killed Macduff’s wife and children while sparing Macduff. Don’t the idiot know that this is one, useless, not preventing Macduff from waging war, and two, makes way for more revenge. Now it seems to us readers that Macduff is justified to kill Macbeth for he killed his family.
I pity Macbeth. He’s a puppet moved by the witches for entertainment and experiment and Lady Macbeth for royal status. Essentially, he did not kill for himself, he killed to fend for his first supposed murder. He feels this constant need to protect his interest and is paranoid and insecure. Will talk about this someday.