English Analyzing Macbeth.


were friends before the murder of King Duncan, Malcolm is not willing to accept him as a friend until Macduff proves that he does earnestly care for his nation.

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After Malcolm lies to Macduff that he is so hopelessly lecherous that the women of Scotland will not be able to quench his lust, Macduff responds in a rational manner. He points out that “Boundless intemperance / In nature is a tyranny” (66-67), disapproving the way Malcolm has described himself as a person who has no control over his base desires. According to Macbeth, such limitless lust had been the reason for the dethroning of and fall of many kings. But he assures Malcolm that there is no need to lose hope. Though such a character in itself is a vice, Kings can afford to have such pleasures if they need it. It is possible to hide the lecherous aspect of a King’s character, and there could be many “willing dames” who would fulfill his desires. In fact, there could be more such dames than the “vulture” in Malcolm can devour. Though Macduff is appalled by the lack of morals involved in such an arrangement, he is willing to compromise on it for the greater good of replacing the treacherous Macbeth who had committed the unpardonable sin of killing the King. Moreover, Malcolm is the rightful inheritor of the throne.

Malcolm responds that being lecherous is not the only bad aspect of his character. He says that he is guilty also of “stanchless avarice”. He suggests that he may “cut off the nobles for their lands, / Desire his jewels and his other’s house…” (79-80). He fabricates the picture of a ruthless brute to describe himself, saying how his “more-having would be as a sauce / To make me hunger more…” (81-82). It may even lead him to quarrels with those who are good and loyal people in the nation, for stealing their wealth. Malcolm’s intent here is to find out how Madcuff would react to such propositions, so that he can judge whether he is loyal to him and the nation.

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