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Shakespeare is easily recognized as one of the greatest playwrights and one of the finest poets in the English language. He was known for his tragedies, most namely his play, Macbeth. The famous Macbeth is a play about the main character, Macbeth and his pathway through being a king, encountering drama and loss of loved ones. The main character, Macbeth, is portrayed as someone who is prominently ambitious and powerful whereas Lady Macbeth is portrayed as energetic and affectionate to develop the theme of the corruptibility of absolute power, reminding the audience that the thirst for power can transform one’s mental state and affect one’s relationships with others.
During Act I of Macbeth, Macbeth receives a prophecy from the Weïrd Sisters which expressed Macbeth’s nearing of being king. Once Lady Macbeth read the letter given from Macbeth, she believes that Macbeth’s characteristics are not suitable. Lady Macbeth’s intention is to kill Duncan so she and Macbeth are on the throne.
Although Macbeth agrees with the idea, he is still skeptical about it. During scene seven, Lady Macbeth taunts Macbeth in a sense that he will never become a man if he doesn’t murder. “Wouldst thou have that/ Which thou esteem’ st the ornament of life/ And live a coward in thine own esteem/ Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,”/ Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?” (I, vii, 45-49). This quote explains the emotions of Lady Macbeth as she mocks the masculinity of Macbeth by calling him a coward because he is second guessing murdering Duncan which makes him feel belittled which makes him question his masculinity.
This conveys Lady Macbeth insanity for how much she wants the be the queen to the point where her husband’s mental state is unbalanced, as he’s conflicted with the choices he should make, which then shows the dynamic of the relationship, making Lady Macbeth more of the preeminent figure. However in contrast with Act I, Act III is mirrored dramatically. For example, Duncan’s murder was plotted whereas with Banquo it’s more spur in the moment, with Lady Macbeth not knowing. Furthermore, with the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth was more in control, whereas Macbeth is more in control with the murder of Banquo. Macbeth’s plans the murder of Banquo and doesn’t confide his plan to Lady Macbeth. Specifically, in scene two, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth discuss their unhappiness amongst one another. “We have scorched the snake, not killed it” (III, iv, 15). Macbeth fears that someone might kill him since he killed Duncan which can convey that Macbeth is in a cycle of violence to where he believes that in order to stay in power, there has to be violence. In addition, Macbeth notes “deed of a dreadful note” (III, iii, 49) which hints Banquo’s upcoming murder. However, doesn’t go forth with telling Lady Macbeth conveying how Macbeth paranoia is taking him over to the extent where he can’t even speak to his wife, showing the dynamic of the relationship.
Furthermore, in Act III scene four, Macbeth encounters a ghost during the dinner banquet. Macbeth believes to see the spirit of Banquo. When Macbeth meets the Ghost, his tone is horrifying, in the sense that he sounds paranoid “Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that/ Which might appall the devil.” (III, iv, 72-73). Throughout the scene, his language and tone switches when the ghost comes and goes. In contrast, when the ghost fades away, Macbeth articulates more in a peaceful tone “Can such things be/ And overcome us like a summer’s cloud” (III, iv, 135-136). This contradicting structure connects to the loss of control of Macbeth and the psychological toll it is taking. However, Lady Macbeth’s tone is more sensible, since she cannot see the ghost. Lady Macbeth comments on Macbeth’s superficial lack of his own sanity. “What, quite unmanned in folly” (III, iv, 88). This conveys how the madness of Macbeth is affecting his relationship with his wife, and the other guests at the banquet. Furthermore, in Act IV, Macbeth’s thirst for power is shown as he visits the witches to seek guidance on how to keep his kingship secure. As a result, the witches speak about the three apparitions, making Macbeth have the conclusion of killing Macduff.“Then live, Macduff what need I fear of thee?/ Bet yet I’ll make assurance double sure/ And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live,/ That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,/ And sleep in spite of thunder” (IV, i, 93-97). With this thought, Macbeth has a feeling of contentment and serenity, showing once again the cycle of how violence will keep him in power, making him feel carefree and untroubled.
Lastly, during Act VI, Lady Macbeth is seen as mad, having more of a physiological disorder because as she sleepwalks, she speaks about different fragments of events. Specifically, the murders of Duncan, Lady Macduff, and Banquo. Lady Macbeth is seen to be washing her hands, recalling the line “A little water clears us of this deed” in Act 2, scene 2. Which raises the doctors’ suspicions of what she is suffering from. Moreover, throughout the scene, Lady Macbeth’s speeches become more fragmented to the extent where her memory is more shuffled, making the events she talks about not in the correct order. For example, Lady Macbeth speaks first about Lady Macduff “The Thane of Fife had a wife” (VI, i, 44). Following Lady Macduff, Lady Macbeth talks about Banquo “Banquo’s buried he cannot come out on ‘s grave” (VI, i, 66). Furthermore, towards the end of the scene, Lady Macbeth presumes that Macduff is knocking at the gate. This explains the amount of devastation in Lady Macbeth’s head to where she can’t recall events in the right order and her sleeplessness is taking over the way she thinks and her mental state. Moreover, also in Act VI, Lady Macbeth has gone paranoid because of the guilt weighing her down which eventually lead to her killing herself. Macbeth then hears the news about Lady Macbeth’s death and speaks upon it. “She should have died hereafter/ There would have been a time for such a word/ Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day/ To the last syllable of recorded time/ And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/ The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle” (V, v, 20-26). Macbeth talks about how Lady Macbeth was going to die anyway, leaving a feeling of neglect. Furthermore, the way Macbeth is speaking upon Lady Macbeth implies how careless he is of her and how Lady Macbeth isn’t considered a priority anymore, whereas throughout Act I Macbeth would do anything to please her. This indicates the shift of Macbeth’s mental state on what he thinks about Lady Macbeth, whereas the beginning of the play (Act I) Lady Macbeth was seen as a more dominant figure, making Macbeth wanting to do anything just to make sure she’s content, whereas, in Act VI, Lady Macbeth is seen as more “weak” and isn’t involved with Macbeth plans (e.g. the murder of Banquo) which further explains the dynamic where Macbeth almost doesn’t need Lady Macbeth anymore whereas
To conclude, one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, Macbeth has many underlying themes. One theme thoroughly developed is the corruptibility of absolute power. This is shown by the unstableness of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship once in power and the paranoia from Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Paranoia is seen throughout both characters as Macbeth is in a constant Examples shown of the unstableness of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship, for example, Macbeth seeing Banquo’s.
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