• Histrionic study of III, iv (Banquet scene)

• Introduction

• On Performance Theory: Bibliography and Method

Poem vs. Play--squint-eyed reading vs. wide eyed imagination

Styan, Taylor, Levin vs. Brooks, Bradley

performance theorists

Marvin Rosenberg's massive combination of all three

Berger's "Imaginary Audition"

• Greenblatt on "Shakespeare and the Exorcists"

evacuation of meaning of ritual and religion in Lear

meaning moved into theatre

histrionic analysis of Lear IV, vii

• speech about player strutting and fretting V,ii

all the world's a stage, and Prospero's now our revels all are ended

acting and action--i.e. Michael Goldman's actor's freedom: to act vs. be passive, acted upon; audience is passive

Greenblatt's notion of self-fashioning as acting

breakdown of performance is breakdown of self

the deed and the act: what's done is done--Macbeth's attempt to divorce act from texture of reality--escape destiny and morality and god

all gestures are symbolic, carry meaning; all physical presence is signifier; time and space are fully charged with meaning; "body language" -- "Highness"

• Entrances and Exits

• emphasis on them, like opening and closing sentences of a paragraph

magic appearance and disappearance--

• actor and ghost--quote Goldman

uncanny; aggressive; terrific; fascinating and frightening; more than alive and dead; mask; plays and exorcisms; playwrights and magicians--Prospero

ghost makes two entrances and exits in this scene

• Processional entry

evocation of order--own degrees

• Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as actors and directors

• This is directed scene-- like MND, Hamlet, Lear-- before audience of thanes; the central dramatic representation is of a failed performance

a true horror show for players

director at Kennedy center coming out and apologizing for light screw-up

audience managed, but finally dismissed in disarray; performance has failed

• sit down; stand up--internal stage directions; comic routine; here I'll sit i th midst (12)



• i'll mingle with society and play the humble host

Macbeth as player: playing and acting--ceremony and falsehood; cf. HV as king

• starts the drinking

• contest among other characters to give direction=struggle for power: Macbeth, LM, Ross, the Ghost always struggling

expressed as struggle to command and struggle for the position of "state"--Duncan's usurped by M and retaken by Banquo

• Location on stage as significant: high and low-- on dais or "state"; center and periphery; up and down stage

• Creating new spaces; levels of reality; with a very long stage that has several horizontal levels of "up and down"

meeting with the murderer--direction; blood on thy face

down stage between audience in front and audience in back--counterpoint indicates hypocrisy

also puts on the murderers; more intimate diction; also positive and festive, but secret

further down stage aside to audience creates another "inner-outer" space; then back to murderer; audience; murderer

inner space he enters through asides from the beginning, creating identification with audience

"my fit comes again," presaging ghost; inner space of immense struggle, which he wins

called back to space of ceremony by Lady M. and returns to conviviality (=drinking) falsely calls on Banquo to enter

but entrances of Banquo [and exits], usurp his central space and disorient him

"The table's full" (47) vs. Lennox's: "here is a place reserved"

symbolism of Banquo's future

attention on exits and exits

destroys his control over entrances and exits, over levels of reality, and over spaces

Macbeth's responses: range from cowardly to heroic

Lady M indicates his expressions: "faces" flaws and starts"

bewilderment, dread of losing reason, insecurity of inexplicable, guilt, physical revulsion

contrast happiness of hearing throat cut to seeing it

his first response is paranoia: which one of you has done this

second is false defense--thou canst not say I did it

third is aggression--Never shake thy gory locks at me

this is specifically a stage direction to the audience or director




Ghostly entrance changes our relation to levels of reality--

Banquo is present to us as the robbers are, but not in a separate stage location; he's in the space of the guests, but invisible to them; we are with Macbeth in his space, observing the uncanny

stage direction makes us aware of it before Macbeth is

many stagings reserve appearance for ghost for M's perception of it

what they don't see--here is a place reserved... here--protects them

Now Ross says rise--gives direction

Then Lady Macbeth denies Ross' perception; says sit, twice, and instructs her audience to ignore Macbeth;

commands their perceptions--feed and regard him not; seeks to hide him by commanding them

theme of hiding; secrecy; making invisible; make "exit"--e.g. witch

moves [downstage] toward his space, which they do not hear: are you a man?

he answers her and comes down further, refusing not to look on what is forbidden to regard

she instructs him [pulling him upstage?] to ignore what he sees--reduces it to woman's story and a stool

very painting of fear; not a state--small chair; small place locator

compares it to dagger

but audience experience dagger as imagination and ghost as real

Macbeth [moving downstage] calls to ghost and challenges it

fearlessly: why, what care I

and with jest--kites vomit up their prey

Ghost exits; Macbeth returns to LM's space and marvels over the past experience of the ghost--more strange than the murder

moral rumination about the destruction of order--dead wont stay dead--he himself has created this destruction--deed is not done

She lures him back upstage to the banquet and his seat now vacated

he is back in convivial, community space and drinks again, and commands--"love and health to all"(89)

heads back to his seat, drink to Banquo, whose ghost again enters, as thanes take the toast




Toast broken again; Macbeth back downstage--in higher pitch of terror, tension and heroic domination: pattern of fright, recovery, attack

symbol--like feast, symbol of unity and sharing

LM again in between talking to thanes

trembling; identifying self as baby girl--this time more terrifying

how could staging emphasize this?

succeeds in sending it hence, mobilizing his total fierceness, and regains partial composure

visceral "Hence"

Macbeth tells them to sit still, but this time, doesn't succeed in covering up, and speaks "enraged" to thanes about sight, both addressing them and remembering ghost as real--seeking to break his isolation

moves from fraud to self exposure; from "acting" to responding

rage and lyric musing

Ross says "what sights?"--as challenge or as support?

She denies this reality; shuts off questioning; speaks of him in third person; commands them to leave in no order; isolates them and makes them disappear--Exeunt

perhaps moving among the thanes

in the same way; with the same summoning of her powers that Macbeth uses to drive out the ghost

• Private, non-performative moment between M and LM [Orsino w. Cesario]

• Macbeth's understanding of what's happening; supernatural causes are now engaged; initiate fear is gone

not shaken, but thinks strategy and commits himself to total evil; ghost doesn't shake him but rather hardens his conviction

speaks as royal we; acts most kingly in private

ghost becomes "strange and self abuse"

he'll get Macduff, go to witches, pursue evil without remorse

balance between them changes--she fears for him; he's confident; these are her last lines before going mad; strain on her of this scene is too much

• instead of having lost control, he's gained it

• he's no longer interested in appearances or trickery; she still is

• Overall structure of scene

• like encounter with murderers

expectation of relaxation--fair


triumph of the will to power--Satan rules; conscience is purged

• all introspections end with stronger resolution; Macbeth opposite of Hamlet