Shakespeare is well known for his affinity when it comes to writing tragedies that have an an overwhelming amount of dark tones. As well as the murderous and gothic events that take place. This play is about a man named Macbeth who encounters three witches who prophesied that he will be thane and eventually king of Ireland.
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Of course, he does not believe them and takes their words with a grain of salt as he returns to the battlefield where he is fighting. After the Thane before him was caught up with stealing treasure and sentenced to death, Macbeth had become Thane. Just like most writing in this time era, the themes were based around both money and lying/mischief. However, the themes most identifiable are what guilt does to the human mind and the corruption that was brought up by Macbeth having the knowledge that he would one day become the king. The play focuses around how knowing about the prophecy has changed Macbeth and his wife’s lives, the audience is exposed to the guilt that they both feel. Expressed clearly is the guilt felt by Macbeth as he sees the ghost of his dead best friend, Banquo, after having him killed for the prophecy that states Banquo’s children would become the future rulers. He says, Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee./Thy bones are marrowless; thy blood is cold;/Thou hast no speculation in those eyes/Which thou dost glare with. In simpler and more modern terms this quote translates to say, Go away, I don’t want to see you. Your bones have no marrow, your blood is cold; you cannot see with your eyes with which you are glaring. Despite Banquo being his best friend, Macbeth’s paranoia and fear that one would take his throne drove him to near madness.
Eventually, the image of the ghost becomes too much and Macbeth is not able to stand it anymore, Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal mockery, hence! He yells at it, demanding the spirit to leave him alone. However, Macbeth wasn’t the only person experiencing this overwhelming guilt. Lady Macbeth too felt the stress from having persuaded her husband to murder the king in cold blood and blame their servants. Here’s the smell of the blood still./All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. O,O,O! In this scene, Lady Macbeth begins to sleepwalk, as she does she would reenact her role in the murder of King Duncan. She sleepwalks, writes, and tries over and over again to wash her hands, but she cannot get the blood out because it is no longer there. It is all in her mind. Such instances occur even today in the minds of the guilty. However, Macbeth’s insanity cannot be solely blamed upon his guilty. As a common theme in now-a-day stories, everyone knows how power is able to corrupt the minds of those who have it. In this case, Macbeth was brainwashed with the ideal of what a powerful being/king would hold. 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? At first, Macbeth can wish that the three witches were right about the prophecy, saying that the thought of such things made his heart pound in his chest nervously. Thou sure and firm-set earth,/Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear/Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,/And take the present horror from the time,/Which now suits with it./Whiles I threat, he lives./Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives. This is one of the most complexing quotes for the argument.
Just before Macbeth murders Duncan, Macbeth’s mind creates a glowing dagger in front of him. At this moment, Macbeth makes the decision to murder Duncan, this establishes how the power has utterly changed and corrupted his mind. In any way that you look at it, this play is the perfect example of what happens when the guilt is planted in someone’s brain and how the promise of becoming royalty completely changed Macbeth and his wife. This play stays true to the Shakespearean cliche for tragedy and somewhat depressing undertones without the sense of despair and melancholy that tend to be traits in other work. The themes in his works could be contributed to the idea that he could have had a troubled and difficult view on life that may not have been accepted by the people around him. With that, this play does an outstanding job on portraying the causes and effects of guilt and the corruption that power causes.
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