Macbeth And Darkness Essay, Research Paper
As Mabeth and Lady Macbeth pursued their evil plans Shakespeare used more and more imagery of darkness. Especially concerning the murder of Duncan. Dark imagery was used to describe the witches and also Macbeth. Dark imagery was used to describe the weather, and the country. Darkness played a very important role Macbeth.
When the king announced that Malcolm was to be crowned as heir to the throne he said But sings of nobleness, like stars, shall shine/ On all deservers. (I, iv, 41-42). He is indicating that this nobleness, such that his son has exuded, will be rewarded. Macbeth was noble during the war, and that s why he was awarded Thane of Cawdor. Unfortunately his future plans allow him to receive the title as king unjustly. Macbeth feeling awful, then says Stars hide your fires; / Let not light see my black and deep desires to kill the king (I, iv, 50-51). He is a good man, and obviously knows it is wrong to have these wishes to kill the king. He has now become burdened with shame. Lady Macbeth is also ashamed. She calls upon night to hide her deed from heaven and from herself: Come, thick night, / And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, / That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, / Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, / To cry Hold, hold! (I, v, 50-54).
Initially in this play, Macbeth was considered a kind and noble man. His life was turned upside down, when he encountered the three weird sisters who gave him hope of someday being more than just the Thane of Glamis. Even during the murder of Duncan, he still seemed to possess caring human like qualities. He wanted Duncan to hear the knocking and wake up, and he was full of remorse and guilt. Whereas Lady Macbeth, the truly sinister one felt no remorse at all. But as time passed, Macbeth turned more and more evil. He hired two murderers to kill Banquo, and had Macduff s wife and children brutally murdered also. He was described as being black, and a tyrant, devilish and dark. Scotland under his power has even become shrouded in darkness. His people weren t loyal to him out of love, but out of fear. Malcolm was a good man, he had to pretend to be dark and evil when speaking with Macduff in order to discover whether or not he was just a spy of Macbeth s or not. He fools him by saying that black Macbeth/ Will seem as pure as snow when he becomes king of Scotland. (IV, iii, 52-53). He pretended that if he were king he would be even worse a ruler than Macbeth was, if such a thing were even possible.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth desperately wanted to become royalty. But the consequences of their action were literally dark. Macbeth turned into a greedy evil man. He becomes greedy, and stoops to the lowest level to seek revenge. He must kill Banquo just to keep suspicions under raps. He no longer loves his wife, or his country. He is the epitome of darkness. Lady Macbeth is no saint either. She was the one who persuaded Macbeth to kill Duncan, and insulted him for not being a man. But the death has its toll on her too. She becomes very sick, and delusional. Her life becomes so awful that she commits suicide out of regret, and fear.
Macbeth s dark act has caused darkness in Scotland. This imagery indicates how devious it was for him to kill his country s king. After the moon sets on the evening of Duncan s murder Banquo says to Fleance There s husbandry in heaven/ Their candles are all out. (II, i, 4-5). There has not been a star in the sky that evening. This is ironic because Macbeth recently said that he didn t want any stars to shine on his awful deed. Ross says to the old man by the clock tis day, / And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp . (II, iv, 6-7). The travelling lamp is referring to the sun.
In Act 4, completing their curse, the witches are appropriately situated in a dark cave. The dark cave is symbol of evil and even hell. The fact that they are witches alone emphasizes a creepy feeling. The witches are could be for Macbeth s troubles. If they had not toyed with him, he would not have told Lady Macbeth their predictions, and she would not have persuaded him to go through with the murder. Macbeth refers to them as secret, black, and midnight hags! (IV, I, 48).
Shakespeare has used darkness in this play to make a tragedy even more tragic by having its main characters truly experience what it is to be evil and despised.