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Macbeth: The Importance of Macduff

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Matthew Chan

on 8 January 2014

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Transcript of Macbeth: The Importance of Macduff

The Slaughter at the Castle
Learning of the Murders
- Ross's initial report of Macduff's family = agitated and secretive
What is Macduff's significance in Macbeth?
The presence of Macduff in William Shakespeare’s Tragedy, Macbeth, provides...

- a stronger depth of dynamic
- pity and fear within the audience
Cathartic Fall
Macbeth: The Importance of Macduff
so what?
so what?
Therefore, the presence of Macduff provides...
- a large accumulation of tragic emotions, resulting in a grander
- a "checkmate" on Macbeth


Thus, a more complete tragedy is accomplished.
Lady MacDuff's character tries to stay strong in front of her son even though she knows what will inevitably happen to them
MacDuff's son is killed while defending his father's honour
"Thou liest, thou shag-haired villain!"
Lady MacDuff watches her young son die
audience knows exactly what is going to happen as soon as the murderers appear on screen but must watch none the less
creates sense of horror and shock in the audience
Macbeth Polanski 1971 pt.13 Lady MacDuff (português). Dir. Bardorama. Perf. Roman Polanski. 26 Jan. 2010. YouTube. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.
Throne of Blood (4/4) Movie CLIP - High Treason (1957) HD. Dir. Kurosawa. movieclips, 22 May 2012. YouTube. Web. 20 Dec. 2013.
Polanski's Macbeth - The Fight Scene. Dir. Roman Polanski. Perf. Jon Finch as Macbeth, Terence Bayler as Macduff. 29 Apr. 2008. YouTube. Web. 17 Dec. 2013.
Beheading Macbeth. Dir. Roman Polanski. Perf. Jon Finch as Macbeth, Terence Bayler as Macduff. 4 Mar. 2010. YouTube. Web. 17 Dec. 2013.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Coles Editorial Board. Toronto, Ontario: Coles Publishing Company , 1999. Print.
"Throne of Blood." LikeTelevision Movies. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. <http://tesla.liketelevision.com/liketelevision/tuner.php?channel=791&format=movie&theme=guide>.
Throne of Blood. Dir. Kurosawa. Toho, 1957. DVD.
Macduff demands truth
- Ross states that his family was "savagely slaughter'd" (IV, iii, 205)
Skepticism through Repetition
- constant questions from Macduff dictates sorrow for audience
within audience
"All my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop?" ( IV, iii, 218).
-aids in the visualization of the murdering of innocents
gives an emotional reason to side with Macduff
To Feel as a Man
-besides letting "grief convert to anger" (IV, iii, 228), Macduff opts to "feel it as a man" (IV, iii, 220).
- allows audience to empathize with genuine pain
- displays masculinity + sensitivity (contrary to Macbeth)
- The fighting & Beheading Scene
development of pity and fear within audience, purgation, cleansing of the tragic emotions of pity and fear
Spectacles and Music
- Violence -- movie and text contrast
-- Actions
Beheading of Macbeth
Movie: Action over Words
- The fight between Macbeth Macduff

Omission/ Placement of Texts
Shows the importance of Macduff.
Adds to tragedy -- Catharsis
-- Compare and contrast with Shakespearean Text
"Hail, king! For so thou art. Behold where stands. The usurper's cursed head. The time is free. I see thee compassed with thy kingdon's pearl, that speak my salutation in their minds, whose voices I desire aloud with mine. Hail, King of Scotland!" act V sc viii
"My soul is too much charg'd with blood of thine already" act V sc vii
- As Macduff stabs Macbeth
The Death of Washizu
Throne of Blood:
makes the audience hate the villain MacBeth has become
shows how inhuman power has made MacBeth (creating his own downfall)
creates more reason for MacDuff to kill MacBeth in the end
the graphic nature of this scene is made to show the audience how ruthless MacBeth really is, how many lives he has destroyed, and how much he has changed from the beginning of the play
The Absence of MacDuff
lack of motive from a single person to right what Washizu has wronged
no "hero"
"none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth" (act IV, sc i)
in Polanski, even when Macbeth sees "Great Birnam wood [move] to high Dunsinane Hill", he is not worried (act IV, sc i)
in Kurosawa, there is no such requirement
in both adaptations, the audience already knows the Macbeth character is going to die before it happens
in Kurosawa, once Washizu begins panicking, audience knows it's over
in Polanski, audience is wondering who is going to fulfill second requirement
greater suspense in Polanski = greater cathartic ending = more complete tragedy
Full transcript