Form: Tragedy, taught audiences lessons about ambition, duty, loyalty and treachery, virtues and vices. Features of tragedy;soliloquy;exaggerated rhetoric, supernatural,violent events, wrongs avenged, moral statements.
- Ambition: The main theme is the destruction that follows when ambition goes beyond moral constraints.
Macbeth possesses enough self-awareness to realize the dangers of overzealous ambition,“ I have no spur, To prick the sides of my intent, but only; vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on the other. (I, vii) commits himself to course of evil. Deliberately tries to suppress moral feelings.
Soliloquy which reinforces the dark and ambitious thoughts; “A dagger of the mind, a false creation.” the audience sees him hallucinate as he creates a false image. Symbolises his fear and how it has been overtaken by his eager ambition.
Shakespeare metaphorically uses imagery “I am in blood stepped in so far that,should I wade no more.” Highlights how change cannot be reversed but one change can lead to a chain of new changes. The brave and loyal man was finally viewed as selfish, blood thirsty and arrogant. Shakespeare repetitively uses the word “blood” throughout the play, as it is a jargon related to evil and tragic events. Shown a negative change in one can impact on others.
“Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here, / 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, / That no compunctious visitings of nature / Shake my fell purpose.” (I, iv) (Lady Macbeth)
Passion for power and instinct of self assertion, vehement that no inward/outward misery could persuade to relinquish the fruits of crime.
-Guilt and Conscience: “What hands are here! Ha, they pluck out mine eyes. / Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red.”(II, ii, 56-61) At first physical remainders of a regrettable crime, the royal blood leaves permanent marks on the psyche of the couple, forever staining them with guilt and remorse.The entire passage exemplifies hyperbole and demonstrates the extent of Macbeth's guilt, a guilt which he no longer feels after the murders of Banquo and Macduff's family.
“Out, damned spot! out, I say!” (V, i) the continual washing of her hands shows the automatic reminiscence of her earlier remark. Lady Macbeth sustains her fake identity by playing the supportive wife to Macbeth. Emotive words; “my dearest partner, dear wife and dear chuck” strong connection. However relationship crumbles, through the guilt brought on. Guilt plays a vital role, it can have negative change
Overthrow of natural order: central theme; connected to true desires of men. Shown through paradox and soliloqu
“fair is foul and foul is fair (I,i) “so foul and fair a day I have not seen” (I iii). Constant repetition of paradox, contrast and oxymoron enable audience understand anarchy. Dramatic irony forecast change when Duncan “This castle hath a pleasant seat, the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses” he has no idea about the murder to e made and therefore contrasts the negative thoughts with positive.
Macbeth receives news