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Macbeth Glossary

Bellona's bridegroom...self-comparisons (1.2.62-3)

Bellona's bridegroom ] Bellona was the Roman goddess of war. Here the Thane of Ross praises Macbeth's unsurpassed skill on the battlefield, referring to him as "Bellona's bridegroom." (bridegroom = groom).

lapp'd in proof ] - clad in strong (proven) armor.

confronted him with self-comparisons ] - Note that Macbeth confronted Norway, not the Thane of Cawdor.

This passage is perplexing because in 1.3, Macbeth still refers to the sitting Thane of Cawdor as a "gentleman" (72), and he seems baffled by the possibility of Cawdor losing his title.

Could it be that Shakespeare intended Macbeth to be unaware of the Thane of Cawdor assisting Norway? Perhaps, but this does not explain how Angus does not know why Cawdor is about to be executed for treason. In 1.3, Angus says, "Whether he [Cawdor] was combin'd with those of Norway...I know not" (115), but yet he was with Ross when they delivered the news that Norway was indeed "Assisted by that most disloyal traitor/The thane of Cawdor" in 1.2.

This lack of continuity could be the result of 1.2 being revised by someone other than Shakespeare. Thomas Middleton is the popular candidate because scholars now accept that the whole of 3.5 was likely added by Middleton, and the song fragment Hecate sings in lines 33-4 can be found in full in Middleton's play, The Witch.

Back to Macbeth (1.2)

How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Macbeth Glossary. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2009. < >.


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Notes on Macbeth

"The purpose of the scene is to tell us something about Macbeth, who has only been named in the preceding scene. We learn here that he is a Scottish nobleman, a near kinsman of the old king, and a valiant warrior. In a single day he has routed two hostile armies, one of the Scotch rebels under Macdonwald, whom he has slain with his own hand, the other that of the invading Norwegians under Sweno. He has been assisted by another nobleman, Banquo, but the main glory of the victory is ascribed to Macbeth." Thomas Marc Parrott. Read on...


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