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The Sounds of Supernatural Soliciting in Macbeth

The Sounds of Supernatural Soliciting in Macbeth The Sounds of Supernatural Soliciting in Macbeth by David L. Kranz T is a commonplace among critics of Macbeth to point out that the eponymous hero’s first words echo a similarly antithetical line I chanted by the witches in the opening scene of the play. Macbeth’s ‘‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen’’ (..) is noteworthy not only because it reiterates a paradoxical statement, but because it refers back to the very beginning of the play rather than to the sorceries which have just preceded Macbeth’s arrival in the third scene. Macbeth can- not have overheard the ‘‘fair is foul’’ antithesis of the witches; instead, it seems to come to his mind out of the very thick air. Whether readers and audiences infer that Macbeth and the witches speak the same language by mere chance or that the latter’s words have infiltrated the hero’s mind simply by proximity, a close and mysterious connection between the hero and the supernatural hags is established well before the actual staged temptation of the former. Thus it is by means of verbal echo, not dramatic confrontation, that Shakespeare first connects Macbeth to the Weird Sisters. What is repeated in Macbeth’s http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

The Sounds of Supernatural Soliciting in Macbeth

Studies in Philology , Volume 100 (3) – Aug 4, 2003

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 The University of North Carolina Press.
ISSN
1543-0383

Abstract

The Sounds of Supernatural Soliciting in Macbeth by David L. Kranz T is a commonplace among critics of Macbeth to point out that the eponymous hero’s first words echo a similarly antithetical line I chanted by the witches in the opening scene of the play. Macbeth’s ‘‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen’’ (..) is noteworthy not only because it reiterates a paradoxical statement, but because it refers back to the very beginning of the play rather than to the sorceries which have just preceded Macbeth’s arrival in the third scene. Macbeth can- not have overheard the ‘‘fair is foul’’ antithesis of the witches; instead, it seems to come to his mind out of the very thick air. Whether readers and audiences infer that Macbeth and the witches speak the same language by mere chance or that the latter’s words have infiltrated the hero’s mind simply by proximity, a close and mysterious connection between the hero and the supernatural hags is established well before the actual staged temptation of the former. Thus it is by means of verbal echo, not dramatic confrontation, that Shakespeare first connects Macbeth to the Weird Sisters. What is repeated in Macbeth’s

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 4, 2003

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