The play opens with the chorus reciting a poem. Then, in the opening dialogue, Shakespeare spices his writing with puns and double-entendres, as when the servants Sampson and Gregory make veiled sexual references: The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement.
He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness.
Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, pursues her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of withstanding the repercussions of her immoral acts.
In each case, ambition—helped, of course, by the malign prophecies of the witches—is what drives the couple to ever more terrible atrocities.
There are always potential threats to the throne—Banquo, Fleance, Macduff—and it is always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them. In the same manner that Lady Macbeth goads her husband on to murder, Macbeth provokes the murderers he hires to kill Banquo by questioning their manhood.
Such acts show that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth equate masculinity with naked aggression, and whenever they converse about manhood, violence soon follows. Their understanding of manhood allows the political order depicted in the play to descend into chaos. At the same time, however, the audience cannot help noticing that women are also sources of violence and evil.
While the male characters are just as violent and prone to evil as the women, the aggression of the female characters is more striking because it goes against prevailing expectations of how women ought to behave.
Whether because of the constraints of her society or because she is not fearless enough to kill, Lady Macbeth relies on deception and manipulation rather than violence to achieve her ends.
Ultimately, the play does put forth a revised and less destructive definition of manhood. Macduff shows the young heir apparent that he has a mistaken understanding of masculinity. He tells Macduff of his reproachable qualities—among them a thirst for personal power and a violent temperament, both of which seem to characterize Macbeth perfectly.
The model king, then, offers the kingdom an embodiment of order and justice, but also comfort and affection. Most important, the king must be loyal to Scotland above his own interests.
Macbeth, by contrast, brings only chaos to Scotland—symbolized in the bad weather and bizarre supernatural events—and offers no real justice, only a habit of capriciously murdering those he sees as a threat.
As the embodiment of tyranny, he must be overcome by Malcolm so that Scotland can have a true king once more.Antony. Antony proves strong in all of the ways that Brutus proves weak. His impulsive, improvisatory nature serves him perfectly, first to persuade the conspirators that he is on their side, thus gaining their leniency, and then to persuade the plebeians of the conspirators’ .
Macbeth study guide contains a biography of William Shakespeare, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Macbeth is a tragic hero because he started the play as a good man, but the manipulations of the Weird Sisters and his wife brought out his baser qualities.
Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to see the newest additions. In the play “Macbeth”, the plot focuses around a war hero who becomes greedy for power, which leads to his ultimate coronation as King, and demise.
At the beginning of the play, Shakespeare displays Macbeth as a war hero, back from his latest campaign, and given a new title. At first, he is.
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