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How do you think the Thanes around the table are feeling after Macbeth's outburst and...

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tuforlunch | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 13, 2011 at 1:20 AM via web

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How do you think the Thanes around the table are feeling after Macbeth's outburst and Lady Macbeth's hasty dismissal of them?

How do you think the Thanes around the table are feeling after Macbeth's outburst and Lady Macbeth's hasty dismissal of them?

Tagged with discussion, literature, macbeth

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teachersyl | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 13, 2011 at 9:48 AM (Answer #2)

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I suppose you are looking for a personal opinion. Certainly the thanes are confused by Macbeth's actions, but they are easily placated by Lady Macbeth's explanation. It is likely that the thanes know little about Macbeth personally--he was chosen to be king based on his reputation as a fierce and loyal warrior-- so they are willing to take the explanation at face value. Besides, what reason has the good Queen to lie?

To a certain extent, however, it doesn't really matter what the thanes think about Macbeth. The reader's focus should be on Macbeth's mental anguish and guilt over Banquo's murder. Lady Macbeth facilitates that by basically telling her husband to "snap out of it" and keep his ruthlessness intact.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 22, 2011 at 2:20 AM (Answer #3)

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In the context of the Elizabethan thought, the appearance of a ghost is extremely disconcerting since the presence of the supernatural world is always taken seriously by the people of this era.  In an earlier era, such as that of the setting of Macbeth, it seems reasonable that people, also, would be affected by bizarre activities.  In Act III, Scene 4 when Macbeth abruptly addresses something that does not appear to the others, the Thanes, one would suppose, would be rather disturbed themselves.  Of course, Ross immediately suggests that he and the others depart as "his Highness is not well."  And, although he remains because Lady Macbeth explains her husband's behavior, he yet wants to know what it is that Macbeth has seen: "What sights, my lord?."  Certainly, when a king shows signs of mental disturbance, there is a doubt created in the mind of his subjects.

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samantha96 | Student , Grade 11 | Honors

Posted September 30, 2011 at 5:31 PM (Answer #5)

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The Thanes would obviously be feeling very confused and curious about Macbeth's outburst. At this moment in time, Macbeth is still looked up to as the King of Scotland and is very well respected, the Thanes would have been concerned for his mental health, as they did not understand at the time that he was seeing Banquo's ghost. They also expressed distraught at the helplessness and confusion they were feeling watching this scene take place and not knowing what to do to help his highness.

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