Waste in Macbeth
Throughout the play Macbeth, characters change and so do their relationships with other characters. Life is taken for granted, and tossed away as if it’s merely an old toy. Honour and potential of great men tarnished due to their greed and power hunger. The plot develops the idea that A.C Bradley proposes: The central feeling of a tragedy is one of waste. Macbeth is portrayed as a tragic hero, someone who has it all at first but decides to give it all up. Throughout the story the waste of potential, the waste of life and finally the waste of innocence are just some of the types of wastes that can be found, but they are enough to prove the theory. According to critic A.C. Bradley, the central feeling of a tragedy is
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Finally the most evident quote: “Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” (Macbeth, Act V, scene v) This quote shows that Macbeth’s final, as it’s at the end of the play, thought of human life is that it is very worthless, and that is in fact why he chose to waste it. It is time on this earth that we waste because it is absolutely meaningless. In conclusion, critic A.C. Bradley, was right to state that the central feeling of a tragedy is one of waste, especially throughout Macbeth. The waste of innocence, waste of potential and finally waste of life have the power to prove the critic indeed right. Yet the list of all that was wasted goes on and on, and it’s logical to consider if not for fear of what society thinks of us would we too be able to waste life, potential perhaps, or maybe innocence to our own dismay. Bradley was correct, but do the things that stop our lives from becoming a tragedy have to do with our values or with what society will think of us.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York:Signet NAL, 1963. * Act I, scene vii, lines 46 - 47 * Act II, scene ii, line 64 * Act III, scene ii, line 17 * Act III, scene iv, lines 135 - 137 * Act II, scene iii, lines 95 - 96 * Act V, scene v, lines 17 - 28 * Act V, scene viii, line