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pointed out. He fights against the temptation to which Macbeth succumbs, and invokes heavenly aid to banish the suggestions of evil. Yet Banquo is not wholly unaffected by the prophecy of the witches. In spite of his well-founded suspicions as to the real murderer of Duncan, he makes no attempt to avenge his old master. On the contrary, he swears allegiance to Macbeth in the hope, it would seem, that by passively acquiescing in the crime he might hope to reap the profit foretold to his house. And this passive acquiescence is the direct cause of his own tragic fall.

Macduff, on the other hand, who begins to play a prominent part in the story just as Banquo drops out of it, represents the simplicity and straightforwardness of a nature untouched by any dealings with the powers of evil. Of all the nobles he is evidently the most horror-stricken at the murder; with the instinctive abhorrence of virtue to guilt, he assumes at once an attitude of opposition to Macbeth, declines to attend his coronation, and refuses the invitation to his solemn feast. His flight to England is prompted not so much by fear, for he has no knowledge of Macbeth's designs, as by the hope of restoring the true heir to the throne. His wild amazement at the fate which overwhelms his wife and children shows plainly that he has no conception of the depth of guilt to which Macbeth has sunk, and his own essential innocence appears in his despairing outcry that his loved ones were punished for his sins.

Duncan and Malcolm are a pair of characters intro



duced to represent the true king in contrast to Macbeth, the bloody usurper. Duncan's goodness is merely passive, and consists in gentleness, courtesy, and gratitude. He has been "clear in his great office." Malcolm, on the other hand, represents a more active type of virtue. is prudent, wise in his choice of friends and councillors, active to redress wrongs and to avenge injuries. It is not without significance that Shakespeare repeatedly puts into his mouth pious expressions of his reliance on the power of God. The child of sainted parents, the friend and ally of the holy Confessor, he is the destined instrument of heaven for the overthrow of a tyranny in league with all the powers of darkness.

Enough has already been said to enable us to realize the position of Macbeth among Shakespeare's plays. It is one of the four great dramas on which his fame as the supreme tragic poet rests. And if it lacks the subtlety of Hamlet, the pathos of Othello, and the wild sublimity of King Lear, it surpasses all three in unity of design, in swiftness of action, and in profound solemnity of purpose. In no other play does Shakespeare show so deep a sense of the reality and the power of evil; in no other does he present so true and terrible a picture of moral ruin. In Professor Dowden's noble words, Macbeth is "a tragedy of twilight and the setting-in of thick darkness upon a human soul."

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Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches

First Witch. When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second Witch. When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.

3. hurlyburly, uproar of battle.

Third Witch. That will be ere the set of sun,

First Witch. Where the place?

Second Witch.

Upon the heath.

Third Witch. There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch. I come, Graymalkin.

Second Witch. Paddock calls.

Third Witch. Anon!

All. Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Hover through the fog and filthy air. [Exeunt.


SCENE II. A camp near Forres


Alarum within. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONAL-
BAIN, LENNOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleed-

Duncan. What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt

The newest state.


This is the sergeant
Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil
As thou didst leave it.


Doubtful it stood;
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together

8. Graymalkin, grey cat. 9. Paddock, toad.

10. Anon, at

once, here used in answer to a call, like our coming!' 12. filthy,
murky. Scene II. Alarum, noise of battle.
8. spent, worn out.

3. newest, latest.

And choke their art. The merciless Macdon


Worthy to be a rebel, for to that

The multiplying villanies of nature

Do swarm upon him - from the western isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Show'd like a rebel's whore: but all's too

For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that

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Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour's minion,

Carved out his passage till he faced the slave;
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to


Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the


And fix'd his head upon our battlements. Duncan. O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman! Captain. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection S Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break, So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to




13. gallowglasses, heavy19. minion,

13. kerns, light-armed foot-soldiers. armed foot-soldiers. 13. supplied, reinforced. favourite. 22. unseam'd, ripped open. jaws.

22. nave, navel. 22. chaps,

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