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He is less moved by the weeping of Lady Macbeth (Francesca Annis) than by a casual affront from Malcolm. ' More conventionally, Bob Peck in the 1982 RSC production spoke these words while embracing Lady Macbeth. But they went for little - a vernacular translation might be 'Good on you, lass' and, still holding each other, the pair chucklingly rehearsed their plans. ' (Sunday Times, 11 June 1978). This was the rugged man oddly childlike in his dependence on a woman. But his weakness in being too easily led by her was inimical to the tragic movement.

And there is a splendid moment when, emptying the bucket into a puddle, he sees his reflection in the bloodstained water. But expressive use oflanguage was combined with effective business ill the 1976 Stratford production, when the principals caressed with false sympathy the newly orphaned Donalbain. Part Two: Performance 43 In Polanski's film, it is not until the scene of Banquo's leave-taking [III i] that such smooth treachery is evinced. There it is Fleance who receives a playful 'chuck' fromJon Finch, in a tradition running back at least as far as William Macready's assumption in the 1830s.

Georgina Masson, in Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance (1975), translates a description of a dinner given in Rome during the 1519 carnival season, where the principal guests were four cardinals. The room was draped in black and Part One: Text 31 adorned with gruesomely candle-lit skeletons. Skulls and bones decorated the table, revolving to produce cooked meats. These and other bizarre arrangements seem to have disposed of the guests' appetites, and the cardinals and some of the others were physically sick.

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