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Macbeth Glossary

minion (1.2.20)

Like valour's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave.


i.e., darling or favorite (from Middle French mignon). The following is a paraphrase of the entire passage:

Shakespeare's Passage

For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name--
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix'd his head upon our battlements.
Paraphrase

For brave Macbeth--surely he deserves that title of 'brave'--
challenging fortune, with his sword swinging,
and hot from all the killing,
As though he was the darling of Valour itself,
cut a path right through the enemy troops
Until he faced Macdonwald;
And he did not leave,
Until he had cut him from his navel to his cheeks,
And placed his head on the top of our fort wall.


Back to Macbeth (1.2)


How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Macbeth Glossary. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2009. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/macbeth/macbethglossary/macbeth1_1/macbethglos_minion.html >.




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Aristotle's Rules of Tragedy

microsoft images"Aristotle says this concerning the hero, or protagonist, of tragic drama, and Shakespeare's practice at every point supports him:

(1) A Tragedy must not be the spectacle of a perfectly good man brought from prosperity to adversity. For this merely shocks us.
(2) Nor, of course, must it be that of a bad man passing from adversity to prosperity: for that is not tragedy at all, but the perversion of tragedy, and revolts the moral sense.
(3) Nor, again, should it exhibit the downfall of an utter villain: since pity is aroused by undeserved misfortunes, terror by misfortunes befalling a man like ourselves." Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch. Read on...

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