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Macbeth and Lady Macbeth – "A dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" Question: At the end of the play, Malcolm dismisses Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as "the dead butcher an his fiend-like queen", what is your judgment of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth based on your understanding of the whole play? "The dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" is not an entirely accurate way to describe Macbeth and Lady Macbeth because even though there are some elements of truth there, in the end, they regretted their actions and regret is not something a "butcher" or a "fiend" might feel. A "butcher" and a "fiend" are the alter egos of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The starting point of Macbeth and actions is the witch's prediction, this is the cause of their actions because the prediction was already planted in their mind. Macbeth cannot be described as a butcher because he could not bring himself to kill the king because he felt it was his duty to protect his king. Although Lady Macbeth coaxed Macbeth into killing King Duncan, she was very drunk, and the next day she could not handle the guilt and started to go insane. The starting point of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's actions was the prediction that was made by the three witches. As a result, a seed was planted into their minds, they expected the prophecy to come true by itself. When they found out that King Duncan had decided to make his eldest son Malcolm as his successor, this created a big obstruction and they felt they needed to get into action and fulfill the prophecy. Quote: "The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap, For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires." Macbeth is...
pages: 4 (words: 918)
comments: 0
added: 01/16/2012
Throughout this essay I will be analyzing the relationship between the main character and his wife from William Shakespeare's world famous play "Macbeth". At the beginning of the play we see a strong bond between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, they are both equal partners yet by the end of the play, their relationship has deteriorated so much that Macbeth shows no emotion when his wife dies. I will be focusing on the initial love the two shared, the reasons for the breakdown as well as the turning point in their relationship, and finally how the shifts in power between the couple drastically affected their marriage. In Act 1, Macbeth writes to his wife to tell her of his thoughts and the witches' prophecies. He relies on her and strongly values her opinion. In the letter he refers to her as: "…my dearest partner of greatness," This shows that he viewed her as an equal in their relationship. He also writes that the reason he is informing her of the witches' prophecies is so that she too can celebrate them. Macbeth was told he would be Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and then King, if this was to come true, it would improve Lady Macbeth's life yet that does not seem to be the reason the news excites her. At this stage in the play we see Macbeth's wife being truly happy for him, she does not appear to care that she will become Queen, only wishes the best for her husband and this shows that her love is pure. When Macbeth returns home to his wife, they speak of the murder and it is Lady Macbeth's nagging that makes him go through with the idea. She has control over her husband and accuses him of being a coward and making drunken promises to...
pages: 5 (words: 1114)
comments: 0
added: 11/08/2011
Macbeth, a tragic-drama of Shakespeare, explores the concept of natural and unnatural factors in society. By doing so, the playwright raises central issues, which are successfully resolved in the culmination of the plays plot. Two such central issues, both evident in the extract and the play throughout, are power and morality. The thoughts, actions and continual reference throughout the play of that which is natural and unnatural exemplify the two central issues chosen for discussion. The central issues raised in the extract continue throughout the play into a resolution whereby the natural or good, conquers the unnatural or evil. Beyond the selected extract, Shakespeare successfully introduces the issues of power (and the desire of) and morality. Shakespeare maintains the presence of these issues and resolves them in the plot of the play. The plot cumulates with Macbeth's tragic death, where the desire for his power and abandonment of morale fibres, remain as central issues as they appear in the selected extract. This is illustrated clearly, as in the selected text; Macbeth is torn morally for his plan to take power, which he and his wife desire. Beyond Act1. Scene 5, Macbeth resolves all concern for morality by disbanding it altogether through his desire for power. It is a deliberate choice that accentuates the plays ethical values and denounces his desire as unnatural due to the actions Macbeth is willing to undertake. Macbeth is aware of Morality and social judgement for his actions. In Act 1, Scene 7, Macbeth delivers a speech: We still have judgement here, that we but teach Bloody instructions which, being taught, return To Plague th' inventor. This even-handed justice Commends th'ingredience of our poisoned chalice To our own lips (1.7.8-12). Despite social and moral constraints, Macbeth indicates he has a deep "vaulting ambition" which surpasses fear of recrimination from society or from god...
pages: 5 (words: 1366)
comments: 0
added: 11/24/2011
Macbeth Imagery: Blood In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, there are numerous references to blood, in fact the word blood appears forty-two times throughout the entire transcript. The allusion to blood is used to indicate a variety of things, but often it is used to identify pain or death. One of the first references to blood appears in Act I scene one, when a Sergeant is talking to Duncan about battle going on. The Sergeant makes a remark about Macbeth: "Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valour's minion carved out his passage". By this he meant, how great of a swordsman Macbeth was by being brave and courageous. That in the middle of the battlefield Macbeth manages to carve his way to the traitor so fast that it blood was boiling off his blade due to his speed, which is a hyperbole. The next mention of blood is right before Macbeth comes home to his wife, in Act I scene five. Lady Macbeth is asking the devil to empower her so that she could kill Duncan. During her plea she states "And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood; Stop up the access and passage to remorse," . Lady Macbeth knows that she and her husband are about to commit a great sin, for this she needs to feel no remorse or painful sensations because then she will not be able to live with herself. She wants to be filled head to toe with cruelty to be immune to the suffering that this might cause her, so she would have a clean conscience. Another important reference to blood in Macbeth is in Act II scene two, right after King Duncan is murdered by Macbeth. He referred to his hands...
pages: 3 (words: 628)
comments: 0
added: 12/17/2011
Macbeth was a weak character, despite his noble and honourable reputation. It was this weakness that allowed him to be seduced by the witches' prophecy; it was this very same weakness that resulted in his succumbing to his devious, determined and power hungry wife. And it was ultimately this weakness that resulted in Macbeth's downfall. How ever, despite this flaw Macbeth was not solely to blame for his demise, the witches' prophecy ignited Macbeth's ambition and his wife, Lady Macbeth, was even more ambitious and more determined than her husband. The role of the witches should not be underestimated. In fact in the opening scene Shakespeare creates a mysterious and ominous atmosphere, foreshadowing that 'Fair is foul and foul is fair' suggesting the evil which is followed through out the play, also that nothing is as it seems to be. In act 1 scene iii the witches greet Macbeth as 'Thane of Glamis', 'Thane of Cawdor' and as 'King of Scotland'. This prophecy leads Macbeth to genuinely think about being in control and having power. Although a modern audience would be critical about the role of the witches, Shakespearean audiences viewed them as evil, having the capability of casting terrible events. However the witches cannot force Macbeth to do anything that he does not want to do. They merely revealed the future and chose to confront Macbeth at a time when he is most vulnerable, after the battle where he is feeling very proud of his achievements. Thus, they certainly did have a role to play in Macbeth's downfall, but if Macbeth had been more concerned with morality and ethics and less concerned about having power, control, and becoming king, he would have ignored the witches' prophecy. Macbeth, however, had already thought of becoming king before meeting the witches. He was highly...
pages: 4 (words: 993)
comments: 0
added: 12/24/2011
The theme is "fair is foul and foul is fair." This means that practically nothing in the play is what it appears to be. The witches predictions seem like good news; actually, they lead to death and destruction. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth appear to be perfect hosts to their party, when in fact, they are truly plotting murder. The Macbeths appear to be achieving their hearts desires; when in reality, the only gain torment and death. In reading this play, I came to the conclusion that when examining each scene, I could compare what appears to be happening to what is really happening in stark contrasts. There are many instances in MacBeth when the theme is stated and supported. In Act 1, scene three, Macbeth and Banquo return "from the battlefield in which he fought with honor" and Macbeth says "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." Little did he know that the weird sisters he was about to meet were going to make and break his life. The witches state to MacBeth "you'll be king one day!" But then they say that Banquos offspring will also reign. The next time when we see the theme represented is when a party is thrown at Macbeths castle. In secret, MacBeth and Lady Macbeth plan to kill King Duncan. They plot the most evil deed and say that "Duncan will never see tomorrow's sun!" , while at the same time, they " look frank and innocent" towards the guests. They realized that "showing their feelings is dangerous". To the many guests at the party, it may seem like any typical gala, but internally, the worst is being plotted. The next example of "fair is foul and foul is fair" is when Hecate , the chief witch, realizes that "mans chiefest enemy is...
pages: 2 (words: 456)
comments: 0
added: 10/28/2012
Guilt can drive anyone mad if they let it. The story MacBeth is a perfect example of this. MacBeth and Lady MacBeth did many things in the play to have a mind full of guilt. MacBeth just handled it better than Lady MacBeth did; she let the guilt take her like a disease. Although, she broke under the pressure of a guilty conscience, doesn't mean that she had the most reasons for guilt she just couldn't handle the truth of what she did. In the play MacBeth and Lady MacBeth had a desire to be king and queen of Scotland. At the time they didn't consider the tool it would take on their lives because their heads were full of greed. As Thane of Cawdor, MacBeth had a good relationship with the king. Duncan, the king trusted MacBeth fully which is very ironic since the last Thane of Cawdor was a traitor as well. Lady MacBeth devised a plan to kill the king in his sleep so her husband, MacBeth, could gain the title as king. They proceeded with the plan and MacBeth became king. After sometime has past, Lady MacBeth realized she had all that she wanted and still was not happy. She realized her husband would do anything to cover up the terrible crime they did so he committed more crimes of murder. Lady MacBeth also felt responsible for his acts. Once again time took its toll and Lady MacBeth drove her self-crazy. She would sleep walk, talk mad, and shed tears that no one else understood. She then killed her self because the guilt was too much to handle. Lady MacBeth wasn't the only one who had a guilty conscience. MacBeth did as well but his was a blind guilt he could over look. Not only did MacBeth commit...
pages: 3 (words: 589)
comments: 0
added: 12/08/2011
Life is a reality play that forces individuals to choose between right and wrong. Decisions that are made have a lasting effect that decides the outcome of a person's future. Macbeth has a great deal of trouble deciding the difference between moral and immoral decisions during his rise to power which. Macbeth's character experiences a string of questionable decisions that consequently lead to his dethroning. First, Macbeth becomes engulfed in greed and will stop at nothing to obtain what he feels is his own. Next, he displays disloyalty towards his friends and superiors while trying to reach his goals. Finally, Macbeth exhibits gullibility. These three traits are what ultimately lead to the downfall of Macbeth, not only as a king but also his life. Macbeth first displayed his greediness after his first conversation with the three witches. The witches spoke to Macbeth and provided him with a glimpse into the future. This small act awakened the greed that Macbeth has always possessed. Macbeth then felt he deserved to be crowned king and would stop at nothing to fulfill his goals. This is the first sign that Macbeth's character is losing control of reality. Macbeth also exhibited greed after he honorably received the title of Thane of Cawdor, but is still not satisfied. Macbeth then plotted to kill his best friend Banquo, and his son Fleance just to further ensure his plans to become king. Macbeth's greed began to cloud his mind even more when he planned the murders of Macduff's innocent wife and children. Macbeth's greed began controlling his life, and forced him to make rash decisions. This ultimately exposed his evil ways and was killed because of it. Disloyalty is the second character flaw Macbeth exhibits. Macbeth displays this when he murders his king and longtime friend, Duncan. Macbeth does not...
pages: 3 (words: 696)
comments: 0
added: 12/23/2011
Shakespeare is perhaps most famous for his use of imagery and metaphors. Who can't recognize the quote "Hark! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the Sun" as being uniquely Shakespeare? In Macbeth Shakespeare uses all sorts of imagery including avian and animal. However the most predominant imagery in Macbeth involves blood. Blood is used as a symbol to represent different attributes of the characters in the play. It is used to represent honor, guilt, and strength. Blood shows the bravery of Macbeth in the first scene, but also shows his human side. King Duncan is the first in the play to refer to blood. Scotland at this time is fighting Norway; Macbeth and his friend, Banquo, lead the Scottish forces to victory. In mentioning blood, Duncan shows the honor and the heroic deeds done by Macbeth. "What bloody man is that?" Duncan asked to which Malcolm tells him it is the sergeant who had fought honorably. The sergeant shares the battle story of how Macbeth fought so honorably even when outnumbered, and "carv'd out his passage." This valiant story with the bloody sergeant being weak from his war injuries enhances Macbeth's heroic appearance. Duncan's response to the story shows his respect for Macbeth and his realization of Macbeth's honor, "O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!" At this point, being bloody is a sign of valor and courage. Contrasting this heroic portrayal of blood, Lady Macbeth displays the evil that blood represents. She hears from a messenger that the king shall arrive at the castle tonight, and decides that she will help Macbeth live up to his prophecy by wishing evil upon herself. She wishes that her weak female body would change, "unsex me her, / and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full/ of...
pages: 3 (words: 635)
comments: 0
added: 12/13/2011
Macbeth Independence and Failure Peasants of the early sixteenth century are often pictured carrying a bundle of limbs tied with vines on their backs. This is a perfect metaphor for the events in Macbeth. Macbeth is one of many thanes, or limbs, bundled together. The thanes are united by the king, or the vine. Scotland, or the peasant, carries the bundle by the sweat of his brow. They carry the bundle for fires on cold nights, or wars, and to build homes, or castles, to protect them from the elements, or invaders. If the limbs are tied improperly, one limb may slip to the side and cause the peasant, or nation, to stumble or fall. If the limb slides completely out, the rest of the limbs may follow because the bundle is loose. Marriage is like a triangle. Each spouse makes up one of the leaning sides, and marriage the lower side. The three together are very strong, but to stand they all must be united. The longer a marriage is held the longer the bottom stretches, and the more dependent each person becomes on the other. If one side tries to stand on its own then the second will fall on the first as it tries to stand. This metaphor also excellently exemplifies the catastrophe that occurs in Macbeth as both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth try to separate. Macbeth is a eighteenth century play written by William Shakespeare. Using these two metaphors, the breakdown in the relationship between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth and between the king and the thanes and how they perfectly parallel each other because each is caused by Macbeth's will to be independent. According to Webster's dictionary, the archaic definition of independence is "competence" (1148). To be independent is not to be "subject to control by others" (Gove...
pages: 7 (words: 1898)
comments: 0
added: 11/30/2011
Sometimes we meet people that leave a great impression in our lives. We may only meet them once and that is enough to make an impact in our lives or sometimes not even meet them just see the they react to something. That's all it takes for them to mark our lives. And leave behind a great mark that will probably be with us the rest of our lives, even though we would never see them again. Its amazing how just one little thing or word can stays with us for our entire lives. And at times there influence can affect us in many different ways that influence us to make decisions, or change the way that we live our lives. In the play of Macbeth when he is on his way home from a battle he meets three witches that don't only change his life, but also the lives all of those that are around him. Because of their strong influence Macbeth kills his uncle, to steal the crown, and makes himself king. And also because of them his wife kills herself. They also influence the whole kingdom. Before Macbeth, meet them he was a great man. He was a war hero, and that most honorable person in the kingdom. Their strong impression on his life, totally change everything for him. They never told him what to do, he did every thing on his own they told him his future and what to do. Since that moment they change everything about him, change. He even change the way he though. When he told his wife about what had happen to him in the road, and about his brief encounter with the witch even influence the way that his wife though. And from that moment everything happen. If he would never had meet them, Macbeth...
pages: 2 (words: 423)
comments: 0
added: 02/01/2012
Lady Macbeth is often considered to be Shakespeare's most famous and evil female character. We see that she is much stronger, more ambitious and more ruthless than her husband through out the play. Lady Macbeth is the one that convinces Macbeth that he must commit the murders so that he can become more powerful. We also see a more complex side to her personality. We see her battle with herself when she has to balance her ambition with the social constraints that have been placed upon her as a woman. We see many instances of Lady Macbeth being much stronger and more determined to achieve her aspirations of becoming powerful and important than Macbeth. When Macbeth is first confronted with a situation where he will have to commit a murder to continue his rise to king, he is very uncertain and struggles with the idea. He says that he is not afraid of the crime itself, but instead the consequences of such a violent act, "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well, It were done quickly. If the assassination, Could trammel up the consequence, and catch, With his surcease success." When Lady Macbeth discovers this, however, she becomes determined to make him change his mind, manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections. She denies him his manhood, his courage and all things that he held most dear. This makes Macbeth commit the murder, despite still holding doubt and fear inside of him, just to prove himself to her. Lady Macbeth's admirably strength of will is shown throughout the murder of King Duncan, as it is she who steadies her husband's nerves immediately after the crime has been perpetrated. We also see a more complex side to Lady Macbeth's personality before Macbeth kills Duncan. We see that...
pages: 3 (words: 639)
comments: 0
added: 11/25/2011
I am going to prove that in the play Macbeth, a symbol of blood is portrayed often(and with different meanings), and that it is a symbol that is developed until it is the dominating theme of the play towards the end of it. To begin with, I found the word "blood", or different forms of it forty-two times (ironically, the word fear is used forty-two times), with several other passages dealing with the symbol. Perhaps the best way to show how the symbol of blood changes throughout the play, is to follow the character changes in Macbeth. First he is a brave honoured soldier, but as the play progresses, he becomes a treacherous person who has become identified with death and bloodshed and shows his guilt in different forms. The first reference of blood is one of honour, and occurs when Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says "What bloody man is that?". This is symbolic of the brave fighter who been injured in a valiant battle for his country. In the next passage, in which the sergeant says "Which smok'd with bloody execution", he is referring to Macbeth's braveness in which his sword is covered in the hot blood of the enemy. After these few references to honour, the symbol of blood now changes to show a theme of treachery and treason. Lady Macbeth starts this off when she asks the spirits to "make thick my blood,". What she is saying by this, is that she wants to make herself insensitive and remorseless for the deeds which she is about to commit. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence of blood is a treacherous symbol, and knows it will deflect the guilt from her and Macbeth to the servants when she says "smear the sleepy grooms with blood.", and "If he do bleed,...
pages: 4 (words: 871)
comments: 0
added: 02/09/2012
William Shakespeare wrote the Tragedy of Macbeth in approximately 1606 AD. He loosely based it on a historical event occurring around 1050 AD. Macbeth is the story of a nobleman, who, while trying to fulfill a prophecy told to him by three witches, murders his King to cause his ascension to the throne of Scotland. After the King's murder, Macbeth reigns as a cruel and ruthless tyrant, who is forced to kill more people to keep control of the throne. Finally, Scottish rebels combined with English forces attack Macbeth's castle, and Macbeth is killed by a Scottish Thane named Macduff who has sacrificed everything to see peace return to Scotland. In the play, the word "blood" is mentioned numerous times. Shakespeare's use of this particular word is significant; he uses it to develop the character of Macbeth and the unfolding events of the drama. The powerful symbolic meaning of blood changes from the beginning to the end. Near the beginning of the play, after Macbeth and the Scottish army defeated the rebel Macdonwald's army, a bleeding sergeant comes on stage. The sergeant then proceeds to describe the battle and how bravely Macbeth and his friend Banquo fought, "For brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name- / Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel / Which smok'd with bloody execution, / Like valor's minion carv'd out his passage…" (Act I, Scene 2, Lines 19-21) Blood is symbolic of bravery and courage in this passage. Blood shed for a noble cause is good blood. However, Macbeth's character changes throughout the play are characterized by the symbolism in the blood he sheds. Before Duncan's murder, Macbeth imagines seeing a dagger floating in the air before him. He describes it, "And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, / Which was not so before. There's no such thing: /...
pages: 4 (words: 950)
comments: 0
added: 01/21/2012
The tragedy of "Macbeth," by William Shakespeare, follows the fall of Macbeth from a man in a position of power with a contented life, to a man with nothing but "mouth honor" and a corrupted soul. In this essay, I wish to show to what extent Macbeth's tragedy was his own fault. The downfall of Macbeth begins early on in the play when he and Banquo (a fellow Scottish noble) meet the witches. The witches waylay Macbeth and Banquo whilst they were on their way to meet Duncan, King of Scotland. They decide to listen to the witches, out of sheer curiosity. The three witches greet Macbeth as "Thane of Glamis", the title he already holds, and begin to tell the two nobles of things to come, and prophesies that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor, and the King of Scotland. Macbeth asks how they know of his current title, and laughs at the following two prophesies. The witches ignore his questions, and tell Banquo of how he will not be king, but his sons will be kings. Instead of just ignoring the witches, the statement of his current title intrigues Macbeth and he follows the witches to try and get them to tell him more. "Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more" says Macbeth, showing that he is indeed interested in what the witches have to say. The witches disappear, and Macbeth dismisses them, and he and Banquo ride off. The witches appearance, and Macbeth becoming intrigued may amount to his downfall, but I believe that they were merely the 'helping hand' for Macbeth who's own weak will and other events where the catalyst for his eventual death. At this point, Macbeth is still a highly respected man, and is about to get more respect from Duncan, for defending Scotland from...
pages: 6 (words: 1650)
comments: 0
added: 02/10/2012
The play of Macbeth is one, which involves the depiction of Fate compared to free will. The play shows the struggle of one man's determination to be king. Despite all forces involved in Macbeth, it is only Macbeth who is the controlling force in his destruction. In the first act of the play Macbeth and Banquo come across three witches, which proclaim their fates. Macbeth is intrigued by the prophecies and listens on. His choice to take the fates as truth is evident when he says to Banquo, "Your children shall be king…And Thane of Cawdor too. Went it not so?" (Act I, sc.3, ll. 86-88). While Macbeth proclaims his decision, Banquo attempts to persuade Macbeth away from the prophecies by saying, "Were such things here as we do speak about? Or have we eaten on the insane root That takes the reason prisoner?" (Act I, sc. 3. ll. 83-85). It is after this point in the story that all of his life will change. His character suffers from his choice and Macbeth's decision will take a very serious turn. Macbeth's contemplation of murder creates a serious tone in the play. With Macbeth's career leading him to the throne, he decides to take it on himself to kill the king. The discussion with his wife (Lady Macbeth) gives him two paths to take. It is evident that Lady Macbeth persuades Macbeth to murder when she states to Macbeth, "Who dares receive it other, As we shall make our griefs and clamor roar Upon his death?" (Act I, sc. 7, ll. 78-80). He has the option to wait for his opportunity to arise. Instead, he decides to take the initiative and kill the king that night. His character suffers drastically from his actions. Lady Macbeth sets the pressure upon him. Though this is true,...
pages: 4 (words: 1077)
comments: 0
added: 12/29/2011
The play "Macbeth" by Shakespeare is jam-packed with malfeasance and darkness. All actions taken by Macbeth, his wife, Lady Macbeth, the witches and Hecate have immoral intentions and/or evil outcomes. An example of such is Lady Macbeth's dark intentions to quicken Macbeth's crowning, fuelled Macbeth's "vaulting ambition[s]" (Act 1 scene 7 line 27) to murder anyone or anything that stood in his path of a long reign. Shakespeare often uses darkness and will frequently set the scene as a dark and stormy night. This depicts that evil happenings are occurring or are about to take place. There are at least three examples of this in "Macbeth". "The night has been unruly: where we lay,/Our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say,/Lamentings heard i' the air; strange screams of death,..." (Act 2 scene 3 line 54-56). "Three score and ten I can remember well;/Within the volume of which time I have seen/Hours of dreadful and things strange, but this sore night/Hath trifled former knowings." (Act 2 scene 4 line 1-4). Both these quotes are talking about the night of Duncan's death. They are showing the comparisons between the natural unruliness and the anomalous disaster. "And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp." (Act 2 scene 4 line 7) is a metaphor for both the murder of Duncan and the night in which it transpired. A dark and stormy image is also portrayed when pernicious characters (ie. the witches, Macbeth and the murderers) meet. The witches play a very important role in "Macbeth", as they initiate the evil plot. Even from the prologue we can see the witches are evil. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair:" (Act 1 scene 1 line 11). They uphold their evil status throughout the play although their power is not fully demonstrated until the prophecies come true...
pages: 3 (words: 619)
comments: 0
added: 11/20/2011
William Shakespeare wrote four great tragedies, the last of which was written in 1606 and titled Macbeth. This "tragedy", as it is considered by societal critics of yesterday's literary world, scrutinizes the evil dimension of conflict, offering a dark and gloomy atmosphere of a world dominated by the powers ofdarkness. Macbeth, more so than any of Shakespeare's other tragic protagonists, has to face the powers and decide: should he succumb or should he resist? Macbeth understands the reasons for resisting evil and yet he proceeds with a disastrous plan, instigated by the prophecies of the three Weird Sisters. Thus we must ask the question: If Macbeth is acting on the impulses stimulated by the prophecies of his fate, is this Shakespearean work of art really a Tragedy? Aristotle, one of the greatest men in the history of human thought, interpreted Tragedy as a genre aimed to present a heightened and harmonious imitation of nature, and, in particular, those aspects of nature that touch most closely upon human life. This I think Macbeth attains. However, Aristotle adds a few conditions. According to Aristotle, a tragedy must have six parts: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle, and song. Most important is the plot, the structure of the incidents. Tragedy is not an imitation of men, but of action and life. It is by men's actions that they acquire happiness or sadness. Aristotle stated, in response to Plato, that tragedy produces a healthful effect on the human character through a katharsis, a "proper purgation" of "pity and terror." A successful tragedy, then, exploits and appeals at the start to two basic emotions: fear and pity. Tragedy deals with the element of evil, with what we least want and most fear to face, and with what is destructive to human life and values. It also draws out our...
pages: 8 (words: 2048)
comments: 0
added: 12/05/2011
Macbeth - "A Dead Butcher And His Fiend-like Queen" How accurate an analysis is this of the two main characters? Look at their development throughout the play. "A dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" is spoken by Malcolm on line 98 in Act 5 Scene 7 as Malcolm announces the beginning of a new reign, just after he has defeated Macbeth at his castle. Malcolm uses it to describe and sum up Macbeth and his wife's reign over Scotland. My first impression of this question after reading the book is that this is a fair representation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, mainly because of the atrocious murders that took place. Both characters come across as evil people and I think that this quote reflects that. By the end of the play, Macbeth has been given this label of "butcher". He has been transformed from a mighty and ambitious warrior to a cruel and unjust ruler. Macbeth could well have fitted the description of "butcher" very well as he did kill many people, even people who were very close to him. He kills Duncan, the king, Banquo, his best friend, and also Lady Macduff and her son. The Collins Modern English Dictionary describes a "butcher" as an indiscriminate and brutal murderer; this is certainly what he was becoming. To be a "butcher", Macbeth first had to be changed from a loyal leader of Duncan's army, to a cruel killer. This all came down to the work of the witches, Macbeth's greed and Lady Macbeth's ambitions. The first contribution to Macbeth's later attitude could well have been his newly found title of Thane of Cawdor, given to him after the end of the battle, by Duncan himself. This could well spark Macbeth in to thinking of ambitions that were greater, such as king. In Act 1 Scene 3 Macbeth...
pages: 10 (words: 2493)
comments: 0
added: 02/11/2012
How does Shakespeare use the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to develop his themes? In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth embody the main themes of the play. Macbeth is set in Scotland and follows the rise and fall of a tragic hero. The major themes of the play are ambition and its corrupting effects, the importance of loyalty and honour, good versus evil and the power of fate. Shakespeare presents these themes through the actions of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and their results: the corrupting effects of ambition by the slow and fatal downfall of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the importance of loyalty and honour through the couple's absolute lack of both and the disastrous results that this entails and the couple's battle between good and evil when they are trying to make important decisions. Shakespeare also uses the witches' prophecy about Macbeth and his fortune to show how significant fate is and how it has the power to shape peoples lives. The corrupting power of ambition is arguably the most important and most prominent theme in Macbeth, and is expressed most powerfully through the play's two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is portrayed as a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds. He does have a great desire for power and importance, however, and lets these desires twist and warp his original personality. When Macbeth is first confronted with the choice to gain more power by killing and lose his honour and loyalty, or to be content with the power that he had, he is uncertain of what he should do and faces a battle between his ambition and his conscience. The battle results in Macbeth pursuing his ambition,...
pages: 7 (words: 1834)
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added: 12/13/2011
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