Macbeth Soliloquy Glossary: To be thus is nothing (3.1.47-71)
Rather than so...utterance (70-1)
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man,
To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo kings!
Rather than so, come fate into the list.
And champion me to the utterance!
list ] a field or arena where knights on horseback competed in jousting tournaments known as tilts.
champion me ] Critics are divided on the meaning of champion. Either Macbeth is challenging Fate itself to combat or he is calling upon Fate to be his champion -- to support him in the fight against Banquo's sons.
utterance ] uttermost, combat to death.
"This passage will be best explained by translating it into the language from whence the only word of difficulty in it is borrowed. Que la destinee se rendre en lice, et qu' elle me donne un defi a l'ovtrance. A challenge or a combat a l'outrance, "to extremity," was a fixed term in the law of arms, used when the combatants engaged with an odium internecinum, "an intention to destroy each other," in opposition to trials of skill at festivals, or on other occasions, where the contest was only for reputation or a prize. The sense therefore is, "let Fate, that has fore-doom'd the exaltation of the sons of Banquo, enter the lists against me, with the utmost animosity in defence of its own decrees, which I will endeavour to invalidate, whatever be the danger." (Samuel Johnson's Shakespeare)
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How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Macbeth Soliloquy Glossary. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < http://shakespeare-online.com/plays/macbeth/soliloquies/ratherthan.html >.
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