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-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 466
NOTES ON MACBETH

he has. If the Qq. 'have' is right, the reference is to Lear, Gloster and Kent.

 

NOTE Z.

SUSPECTED INTERPOLATIONS IN MACBETH

     I have assumed in the text that almost the whole of Macbeth is genuine; and, to avoid the repetition of arguments to be found in other books,1 I shall leave this opinion unsupported. But among the passages that have been questioned or rejected there are two which seem to me open to serious doubt. They are those in which Hecate appears: viz. the whole of III. v; and IV. i. 39-43.

     These passages have been suspected (1) because they contain stage-directions for two songs which have been found in Middleton's Witch; (2) because they can be excised without leaving the least trace of their excision; and (3) because they contain lines incongruous with the spirit and atmosphere of the rest of the Witch-scenes: e.g. III. v. 10 f.:

              all you have done
Hath been but for a wayward son,
Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
Loves for his own ends, not for you;

and IV. i. 41, 2:

And now about the cauldron sing,
Like elves and fairies in a ring.

The idea of sexual relation in the first passage, and the trivial daintiness of the second (with which cf. III. v. 34,

Hark! I am call'd; my little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me)

suit Middleton's Witches quite well, but Shakespeare's not at all; and it is difficult to believe that, if Shakespeare had meant to introduce a personage supreme over the Witches, he would have made her so unimpressive as this Hecate. (It may be added that the original stage-direction at IV. i. 39, 'Enter Hecat and the other three Witches,' is suspicious.)

   1E.g.. Mr. Chambers's excellent little edition in the Warwick series.

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