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Macbeth (RSC) : Video clips


These clips are taken from the film of the production made by Channel 4 television at The Roundhouse in London in 2000, and first shown on 1st January 2001. They show the two scenes in which Richard Armitage's character Angus speaks, Act 1 Scene 3 and Act 5 Scene 2.


Act 1 Scene 3 (excerpt)

In the first part of this scene (not shown in the videoclip) Macbeth (Anthony Sher) and Banquo (Ken Bones) meet the three witches on the heath. They address Macbeth as thane of Glamis (which he is) and thane of Cawdor (which he is not).  Macbeth is baffled, but they refuse to explain any further, saying only that he will be King of Scotland one day. They then tell Banquo that while he will never be king, his children will.

This excerpt begins just after the witches have vanished, leaving the two men discussing their prophecies. Then Ross (Paul Webster) and Angus (Richard Armitage) enter. They have been sent by the king to summon Macbeth, and to tell him that he is now thane of Cawdor. Macbeth asks how this can be, since the thane is still alive. Angus explains that the present thane of Cawdor is to be executed for treason and the king has named Macbeth as his successor.

The first part of the witches' prophecy has come true. What else might follow? By the end of the scene, Macbeth is already thinking of murder as a possible way to the throne, while hoping that the crown might instead fall to him by chance.


Richard Armitage as Angus in Macbeth
Richard Armitage as Angus in Macbeth

The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd?

Into the air; and what seem'd corporal melted
As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd!

Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?

Your children shall be kings.

You shall be king.

And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?

To the selfsame tune and words. Who's here?

Enter ROSS and ANGUS

The king hath happily received, Macbeth,
The news of thy success; and when he reads
Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight,
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,
Strange images of death. As thick as hail
Came post with post; and every one did bear
Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence,
And pour'd them down before him.

We are sent
To give thee from our royal master thanks;
Only to herald thee into his sight,
Not pay thee.

And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor:
In which addition, hail, most worthy thane!
For it is thine.

What, can the devil speak true?

The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me
In borrow'd robes?

Who was the thane lives yet;
But under heavy judgment bears that life
Which he deserves to lose.
Now treasons capital, confess'd and proved,
Have overthrown him.

[Aside] Glamis, and thane of Cawdor!
The greatest is behind.

Thanks for your pains.

Do you not hope your children shall be kings,
When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me
Promised no less to them?

That trusted home
Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
Besides the thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
In deepest consequence.
Cousins, a word, I pray you.

[Aside] Two truths are told,
As happy prologues to the swelling act
Of the imperial theme.

I thank you, gentlemen.

Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill,
Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor:
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings:
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man that function
Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is
But what is not.

Look, how our partner's rapt.

[Aside] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,
Without my stir.

New horrors come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould
But with the aid of use.

[Aside] Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.

Give me your favour: my dull brain was wrought
With things forgotten. Let us toward the king.
Think upon what hath chanced, and, at more time,
The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak
Our free hearts each to other.

Very gladly.

Till then, enough. Come, friends.

Act 5 Scene 2

Macbeth is now king, having murdered King Duncan. He has also had Banquo and the wife and children of Macduff murdered. Malcom and Donalbain, Duncan's sons, have fled to England for safety.

In this scene from the final act of the play, four Scottish noblemen, Menteth (John Killoran), Angus, Caithness and Lennox (Guy Moore), meet near Macbeth's castle at Dunsinane to plot against him. All former allies of Macbeth, they now realise that he must be removed from power.

Malcom has gathered an army in England and is marching north; they will meet him at Birnam Wood. Caithness tells us that Macbeth is fortifying Dunsinane in a mad rage, and Angus adds that he is tormented by his crimes and knows that his hold on power is weakening.

(Nb In this production, the part of Caithness has been cut. His lines in this scene are spoken by Lennox.)

Richard Armitage as Angus in Macbeth
Richard Armitage as Angus in Macbeth

The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,
and the good Macduff.

Near Birnam wood
Shall we well meet them.

What does the tyrant?

Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies:
Some say he's mad; others that lesser hate him
Do call it valiant fury: but, for certain,
He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause
Within the belt of rule.

Now does he feel
His secret murders sticking on his hands;
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;
Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love: now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

Who then shall blame
His pester'd senses to recoil and start,
When all that is within him does condemn
Itself for being there?

Well, march we on,
To give obedience where 'tis truly owed.

Copyright Royal Shakespeare Company

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