Monday, May 23, 2011

Magpie 67


The Tournier banquet reminds us of one of Shakespeare’s most famous scenes: the banquet that Macbeth throws to celebrate his splendid new Kingship.
All the nobility and accompanying VIPs have been invited. Lady Macbeth, very experienced in such social occasions, is gracious to everyone.
There is actually an element of farce in this scene. It’s the kind of thing usually played for comedy: the elegant supper party where everything goes wrong. But the play’s audience is aware that the background of the scene is far from funny. The Macbeths have committed regicide; they have murdered Duncan, the previous King, though no one at the banquet is aware of this.
Macbeth’s second murder is to be of Banquo, a colleague, a friend. He doesn’t actually commit the murder; he has a hired killer do the deed. When he asks the murderer, “Banquo’s safe?” the man knows just what is meant. “Aye, my good lord, safe in a ditch he lies.”
And the banquet goes on, an event everyone is enjoying. Lady M. is in her element, charming all with her social poise.
But the pleasant occasion is wrecked beyond retrieval; Banquo shows up. He is, of course, a ghost, but Macbeth sees the real Banquo, sitting there in his chair. No one else sees him, of course.
The new King is visibly shaken, distraught; he cries out to his wife: “Can such things be?”
Lady M shifts into damage control mode. She tells the guests that the King is suffering a bit from an old illness, nothing to worry about.
Macbeth then cries out to the ghost: “Avaunt! And quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!”
Lady M. decides that it would perhaps be better if everyone just left. “Good night! Stand not upon the order of your going but go at once.”

24 comments:

Steve Isaak said...

Classy, witty.

Stafford Ray said...

I never read your wonderfully instructive and entertaining pieces first. To do so would change my own impression of the prompt! Succinct and witty as usual.

Friko said...

The Bard did everything and matched everything.

I think the painting is probably a scene in a brothel.

jen revved said...

This is terrific-- I love that your mind went to MacBeth and it's very apropos... xxxj

Christine said...

Wish you were my sons English teacher, he hates the fact he has to study Macbeth and the dead language, as he calls it. This was very interesting to read.

Kathe W. said...

perfect to go to Macbeth! Bravo!

Rinkly Rimes said...

It certainly has the look of the era but I expect Lady Macbeth was a tougher nut than this girl.

Lyn said...

Shakespeare sure knows how to clear a table..super as usual! I tipped my hat to Romeo and Juli... this time around...

ninotaziz said...

Oh yes... the 'farce act' comes shining through...

Helen said...

As always, a delightful romp and read.

Berowne said...

Steve I.: "Classy, witty." Stafford R.: "...your wonderfully instructive and entertaining pieces." jen r.: "This is terrific." Christine: "This was very interesting to read." Kathe W.: "Perfect to go to Macbeth!" Helen: "As always, a delightful romp and read."
What a great collection of comments -- thanks.

Margaret Pangert said...

Amazing how a guilty conscience can weigh on a man's mind... Lady MacBeth has a little of that, too, when she says, "Out, damned spot!... Yet who would have thouught the old man to have had so much blood in him?... All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."
Your aligning these two banquet scenes is brilliant! Shakespeare's characters really come to life: shaken, panicked old man and his fixer wife.

Berowne said...

Friko: "I think the painting is probably a scene in a brothel."
I don't know; a brothel would have a few more females around -- (from what I've heard). :-)

Sue J said...

The bard and a banquet. What more could you want?

earlybird said...

I like the way you headed off to another meal and so succintly modernised the banquet scene in Macbeth. Nice take on the prompt.

Doctor FTSE said...

Modern Macbeth has all the guy's in tuxedos or D.Js, and in the final set-to between Macbeth and Macduff they are kitted out with assault rifles. Wonderful stuff!
Your erudition topmost as usual. Best thanks.

Anna :o] said...

Excellent, educational piece.

Anna :o]

Tumblewords: said...

I hope they are all wearing their shoes.

gautami tripathy said...

Very, very good..

facade

Kavita said...

Aahh.. I love the way she said it! Or more like, the way you says she said it!! Very classy, and ..well.. REGAL!!
Nicely narrated, my friend..

Irish Gumbo said...

Interesting, indeed. That Banquo is a busy chap...or spirit, I should say :)

Lydia said...

What Stafford Ray said goes for me too. But, after having written my own Magpie, here I come for the best class ever. Case in point, I had no idea the background of this painting and now I feel "in the know," thanks to you.

Lady M shifts into damage control mode. (That just cracked me up.)

Berowne said...

What a collection of great comments -- from Lydia, Irish G., Kavita, gautami t., Tumblewords, Anna, Doc FTSE, earlybird and Margaret P. My sincere thanx.

Vicki Lane said...

A wonderful take on the prompt! Perfect Macbeth!

 
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