Essay, Research Paper: Macbeth Analysis

Shakespeare: Macbeth

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Macbeth In Shakespeare’s lifetime he wrote many plays. Many of them were
critically acclaimed and others cast aside. The crowd always wanted to be more
thoroughly entertained and Shakespeare always tried to keep up with the
people’s needs. In 1605, Shakespeare was being hounded for another work of
genius. Hamlet and King Lear had just been completed and the people of England
begged for more. He knew not of what to write and like many playwrights did some
research. He found two stories from Hollinshed’s Chronicles of England,
Scotland and Ireland. Shakespeare had already taken some ideas from there for
his plays like Henry IV and Henry V. William decided to combine the reign of
Macbeth and the murder of King Duff by Donwald and his wife, altering both to
suit his needs. Macbeth is by far the shortest play that William Shakespeare
wrote. The main reason why this is so is not because Shakespeare did not have
much to say, but because King James was so impatient. Macbeth was written
basically for the king. In fact, the emphasis on witchery was because King James
so heavily believed in sorcery. Shakespeare worried very much about the evil
powers insulting the king. After all was said and done, Macbeth was another
barrier to be broken in the great scheme of performances. It was an instant
success. King James and the court loved it along with England. No offenses were
made from Malcolm needing help from England. Shakespeare feared that James would
be offended by that. From that moment on Macbeth would be known by all. Yet the
people begged for more and hoped Macbeth would be out done by another astounding
play. Shakespeare wondered how such a task could be accomplished. What was it
about Macbeth that made it loved by everyone? Shakespeare’s style has been
analyzed by many and some still can not figure it out. His poetry has influenced
his plays immensely. Apart from the fascinating characters of the two leading
roles, the play’s chief attraction is it wonderful poetry. Scarcely a word is
wasted, and vivid images tumble after each other in a stream of color and ideas
(Ross 43). Shakespeare put great thought into what he wanted to write and his
feelings expressed themselves through the stylistic devices of tone,
characterization, and symbolism. Shakespeare’s characterization of Macbeth
exonerates the impact he had on the play. The tone in Macbeth remains sinister
and depressing throughout the play. Symbolism, on the other hand, kept the
tragedy in tact, and if understood, revealed the whole play in the very
beginning of her pages. The character of Macbeth profoundly effects the play, by
means of transpiring his actions to hurt others. If looking at the
characteristics of good and evil, it makes the reader wonder what makes a person
good or evil. Evil is not born into people, but it is the only option they have
left. Three features we have seen stand out clear in the general conception of
Macbeth. There is his eminently practical nature, which is the key to the whole.
And the absence in him of the inner life adds two special features: one is his
helplessness under suspense, the other is the activity of his imagination with
its susceptibility to supernatural terrors...His practical power develops as
capacity for crime...his mind is as scorpions; it is tortured in restless
ecstasy. Suspense has undermined his judgment and brought on him the gambler’s
fever...The third feature in Macbeth is the quickening of his sensitiveness to
the supernatural side by side with the deadening of his conscience...In the
reaction from the murder of Banquo the supernatural appearance-which no eye sees
but his own-appears more real to him than the real life around him. And from
this point he seeks the supernatural, forces it to disclose its terrors, and
thrusts himself into an agonized vision of generations that are to witness the
triumph of his foes. (Moulton 335-337) Moulton knows what he is talking about.
Macbeth was heavily influenced by supernatural forces. In fact, were it not for
them he might be living a happy and content life. The witches had a profound
affect on him. He soon found himself in a world where he wanted to know more and
more and the weird women were the only ones who could satisfy his hunger.
Macbeth went from a man who served everyone but himself to a man who served only
himself. The one thing that Macbeth had that meant the most to him was his wife.
Lady Macbeth is his world. For a man who shows so much hate, gives a lot of
love. They are one of the greatest pairs of lovers that ever existed. There is a
spot where the reader can obviously pick up the dramatic change Macbeth went
through. “Seyton: The queen, my lord, is dead. Macbeth: She should have died
hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word “(Shakespeare, Act V,
Scene V). His wife, his love, his world had died and he did not even care. The
way he just disregarded her lets the readers know that he is a changed man, and
not for the better. His desire to be unstoppable and all powerful was what
killed him. His ambition clouded his once clever mind to where he could not look
past the apparitions prophecies. From the very first words, the tone reveals
itself as drab and murky. It is thundering and lightning in the very beginning
and rainstorms automatically give the readers an eerie feeling. A.C. Bradley
states Darkness, we may even say blackness, broods over this tragedy. It is
remarkable that almost all the scenes which at once recur to memory take place
either at night or in some dark spot. The vision of the dagger, the murder of
Duncan, the murder of Banquo, the sleep-walking of Lady Macbeth, all come in
night scenes (Bradley 266). Bradley is merely stating that the atmosphere
remains uniform. There are a few places where the dreary mood is blanketed by
things that appear to be happy. When Macbeth arrives home, Lady Macbeth seems so
enthusiastic to see him. She really is excited to see him, but beneath her
happiness is a plot of deceit and murder. Lady Macbeth: Your face, my thane, is
as a book, where men may read strange matters:-To beguile the time, look like
the time; bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue: look like the
innocent flower, but be the serpent under it (Shakespeare, Act 1, Scene III).
She is telling him that his face can easily be read and that he needs to act
like normal, but underneath to be cunning. This passage takes an almost cheery
moment and takes it back to a world full of betrayal. Another place where gaiety
is almost achieved is toward the very end of the book. “Malcolm: We will
perform in measure, time, and place: So thanks to all at once, and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown’d at Scone” (Shakespeare, Act V, Scene VII).
All seems merry, but if thought about it, the reader can easily see that trouble
awaits. Malcolm has just defeated Macbeth. However, he did not do this all on
his own.. He had help from England in defeating. England would not send troops
in to help fight a war all for nothing. They will soon try to recapture
Scotland. Therefore, the “happy ending” is not really going to end
“happily ever after.”
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