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When his wife enters, he tells her he is resolved to proceed no further in this fatal affair ; and upon her calling him coward, he makes this fine reflection,
I dare do all that may become a man ;
Who dares do more is none. But what is will and resolution, when people's opinions are what the philosopher calls ®KHPINAI ΥΠΟΛΗΨΕΙΣ ? How does everyhoneft fuggeftion vanish, and resolution melt like wax before the sun, coming in competition with his ambition ? For her fake (powerful phantom!) honour, honesty, all is facrificed.
Macbeth is now king, and his wife a queen, in enjoyment of their utmost wishes. How dear the purchase, will soon appear. When he murders his royal hoft, he comes out with the bloody daggers. This circumstance, little as it seems, paints the hurry and agitation of his mind, stronger than a thousand verses. ' But Shakespeare is full of these true touches of nature.
Methought I beard a voice cry, 'Sleep. no more,
Again, 8 Epict. L. III. c. XVI.
9 The repetition here-sleep no more, Macbeth doth mur. der Reap, the innocent feep, &c.-has something in it ele.
Again looking on his hands, W bat bands are bere? bab! they pluckout mine eyes: Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my band "?
gantly pathetic. --fleep that knits up the ravelld sleeve of care. The allusion is to fleav'd filk ravellid : the allusion perhaps may appear trifling, but Shakespeare knows how to give trifles a new grace and dignity.
10 Shakespeare had this from his brother tragedians. So Hercules in Seneca :
Tis faid of Oedipus, in Sophocles, that neither the waters of the Danube, or Phafes car wash him and his house clean,
Οίμαι γαρ έτ' αν "Ιερον έτε Φάσιν αν
In allusion to their expiatory washings in the sea or rivers. Various were the ceremonies of washing among the Jews, as well as Gentiles ; particularly that of the hands. Homer, Il. 266.
'Tis much happier for a man never to have known what honesty is, than oncë knowing it, after to forsake it. Macbech begins now to sees at a distance, that virtue which he had forfaken ; he sees the beauty of it, and repines at its loss. Jealousie, mistrust, and all the tyrannic passions now wholly possess him. He grows chiefly jealous of Banquo, because his posterity had been promised the crown.
For Banquo's issue have I fild my mind :
To make them kings : " the feed of Banquo kings:
Hence came the proverb of doing things with unwashed hands ; i. e. impudently, without any regard to decency or religion. Henry IV. A& III.
Falft. Rob me the exchequer the firft thing thou do, and do it with unwashed hands too. 11 The place should thus be pointed,
To make them kings. The feed of Banquo kings! to be spoken with irony and contempt, which gives a spirit to the sentence.
12 Alluding to the words of the champion at the coronation. So Holingshed : “ Whoever shall say, that king “ Richard is not lawful king, I will fight with him at the
And to have any virtue is caufe fufficient of a tyrant's hatred; hence vengeance is vowed a gainst Macduff.
I am in blood
Returning were as tedious as" goder, 6 UTTERANCE." . e. to the uttermoft, to the last extre. mity. “ A outranci, à toute satranci. adv. L'a. et l'autre “ eft bon, et signifie à la rigueur, avec violence. (pour future " quelqu'an à toute outrance. Coftar. Ce vous eût été peu . de gloire de mener à outrance un homme deja outré. “ Voi. I. 52.") RICHELIT. Douglass in his translation of Virgil. Aen. V, 197.
Olli certamine fummo
With all thare fazce than at the uterasse. And Aen. X, 430.
Et vos, Graiis imperdita corpora, Teucri. #nd ze also feit bodpis of Trojanis,
Chat war not put by Oreikis to uterante. The gloffary thus explains it : " Werance. Chaut, in Oatrance, deftruétion : to the uttermost of their Power. a F. " Orltrance, extremity, excess ; combatre a oultrance, to o fight it out, or to the uttermolt, not to spare one another “ in fighting : and that from the adv. oultre, ultra. q. d. * ultrantia.
13 i. e, as to go o’er. 'Tis very common for our poet and his contemporaries to omit [ro] the sign of the infinitive mood.
This is one of the great morals inculcated in the play, that wickedness draws on wickedness, such is it's deceitful nature. And how poetically is the whole managed, to make all the incidents produce each the other neceffarily and in order ; till the measure of their iniquity being full, they both miserably perish? And thus the fatal effects of ambition are described, and the story is one.
The episodes, or under-actions, are so interwoven with the fabric of the story, that they are really parts of it, though seemingly but adornings. Thus, for instance, it being proper to Thew the terrors of Macbeth for his murder of Banquo; the poet makes him haunted with 4 his apparition. And as wicked men are often superftitious, as well as inquisitive and jealous, to draw this character in him more strongly, he sends him to enquire his destiny of the three witches. But every thing falls out to encrease his misfortunes. There is such a cast of 14 tiquity, and something so horridly folemn in this infernal ceremony of the witches, that I never
14 The Greek rhetoricians call this, Carlaoite and siddha movía. One of the finest instances of this kind is in he Orestes of Euripides.
15 If the reader has a mind to compare Shakespearo with the ancients, I would refer him to Ovid's Circe : and