Macbeth Soliloquy Glossary: If it were done when 'tis done... (1.7.1-29)
trammel up (3)
If the assassination
trammel up] i.e., to entangle in a net from which nothing can break free.
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
With his surcease, success;
surcease ] stop or conclude
To paraphrase: If the assassination could net up the consequence and catch success by Duncan's demise (his surcease).
However, Shakespeare often used his to mean its and so many editors argue his does not refer to Duncan, but to consequence. 1 Then we have: If the murder could prevent its own consequence, and catch success by the stop of that consequence. Here his = the consequence's. This reading seems unnecessarily convoluted.
1. Furness, Rolfe and Elwin believe his refers to consequence, Hudson believes his refers to the assassination and Chambers takes his to mean Duncan's.
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How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Macbeth Soliloquy Glossary. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2008. < http://shakespeare-online.com/plays/macbeth/soliloquies/trammel.html >.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Ed. Edmund Kerchever Chambers. Boston: D. C. Heath, 1905.
Shakespeare, William. A new variorum edition of Shakespeare: Macbeth revised edition. Ed. Horace Howard Furness. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1915.
Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. Boston. Ginn, 1899.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth Ed. William James Rolfe. New York: American Book Company, 1898.
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