Macbeth Plot Analysis Essay, Research Paper
God and the devil have a strong presence in ?Macbeth?. The characters look to heaven and hell as places they have to try and strive towards or steer away from. God and the devil seem to be the driving and obvious force behind the happenings of the tragedy. They mold the characters into what they are. Even when things do not end up in their favor.
The witches have an impact on the whole theme of the play. They are the ones who start to label Macbeth with titles, which he does not yet posses. The witches predict the future, which is to Macbeth?s liking. ?All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor. All hail Macbeth, that?s shalt be king hereafter!?(1.3.46-48).
Macbeth at this time was only the Thane of Glamis and he knew he had aspirations of becoming king, but wanted to know how these witches would know to say such things. ??tell me more?But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives, a prosperous gentleman, and to be king stands not within the prospect of belief.? (1.3.68-73) The witches at this point fade out and leave Banquo and Macbeth to speculate. Ross and Angus enter and tell Macbeth that that the Thane of Cawdor is going to be executed and that Macbeth will take on the title. In Macbeth?s mind this means that he is going to be king. Since the witches were able to predict that he was going to be Thane of Cawdor then he believes he is definitely going to be king.
?What can the devil speak true??(1.3.107) This is Banquo?s reaction after Ross ?hails? Macbeth with his new title, Thane of Cawdor. Banquo starts to wonder if what the witches proclaimed, would actually come true. If what they said did come true for him it would mean his children would be kings. This quote is sort of strange to me. I am taking it as he refers to the witches as the devil. I don?t know how he came to this conclusion; maybe it is just how he is trained to think towards anyone that can see the future.
The witches planted this thought into Macbeth?s head about being king. Since the Cawdor topic came true with ease he believes that him becoming king will also be an easy transition. Banquo warns Macbeth that he may be being tricked by the deception the witches. ?And often times to win us to our harm the instruments of darkness tell us truths?. (1.3.120-123)
At this point Macbeth is overrun with the thought of killing King Duncan. He drifts into his thoughts and wonders how he easily believes the witches. It seems that he gave in to their omens quickly, but when someone tells you something that you want to hear it is very easy to believe them. Especially if what they are saying comes true moments after it is said.
Not only do the witches overcome Macbeth with thoughts of murder and being king, when Macbeth tells his wife about what had happened she also becomes drowned with thoughts of murder. As she awaits her husbands return she asks spirits to make her tough, so that she might be able to be part of Macbeth?s rise to king. The spirits she is asking to do this for her have to be evil ones. Anytime that you are asking for the power to kill you definitely are siding with the devil. This almost seems to blind her a little to the actual situation that is happening around her.
?Come thick night?that my keen knife see not the wound it makes nor heaven peep through the blanket of dark to cry hold, hold.?(1.5.48-52). Lady Macbeth is asking the devil to cast a dark cloud over the already dark night. This way she will be able to think about the murder and when Duncan arrives complete the murder without God seeing it. Does she really care if God could see the murder or just her thoughts? She has to be beyond caring about whether she will end up in heaven or hell. The impure thoughts that she is obsessed with will surely seal her fate.
When Macbeth returns they are on the same wavelength. They both are anticipating the arrival of Duncan and know what they are going to do. ?O, never shall sun that morrow see!?(1.5 60-61) King Duncan will never see the light of the next day. Macbeth?s wife is ready to act and to make sure this happens.
Act one scene seven has Macbeth having second thoughts about killing Duncan. Macbeth has to remove himself from the presence of the king. He seems worried about what is life will be like after the murder takes place. Maybe he is worried about the afterlife. Because even if he can get away with murder in the regular world he may not be able to getaway with it in heaven. God can see everything and on judgment day would Macbeth suffer for his actions?
After the Macbeth kills Duncan they quickly cover up the crime. A porter approaches and his knocking startles Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth quickly gets Macbeth to clean himself up. The porter pretends to be a gatekeeper of hell of some sort. He does not enter, but stands outside of the gate and runs off stories. He is welcoming people into hell, but it doesn?t seem to be directed towards Macbeth. Its as he is just running his mouth for no apparent reason. The fact that Macbeth just murdered Duncan makes the scene seem weird because Macbeth was wondering about hell and heaven earlier in the play. Since I know what already happens to Macbeth in the rest of the play I can speculate that this was some sort of omen to Macbeth?s final destiny.
The weather seemed to change while thoughts of and the murder of Duncan took place. Lennox comments on it moments before Macduff realizes that Duncan is dead. ?The night has been unruly. Where we lay are chimneys were blown down, and as they say lamentings heard I?th? air, strange screams of death.?(2.3.50-52) These ill winds were probably the result of God being upset with the situation and the murder of Duncan. They could also possibly be a result of the devil being happy with the events that just happened. Excited that now he has Macbeth under his wing because he just committed the heinous act of killing someone. It is ironic that Lennox says these things about the weather right before the murder is discovered. Shakespeare probably definitely wanted the two events to be connected if he set it up this way.
After they realize that Duncan had been murdered and the confusion unfolds. Macbeth lays down the story of the two drunken grooms. People somewhat seem to believe him and accept the story. Surprising, but unsurprisingly Banquo questions and doesn?t accept the story of the two drunken men committing the murder. This is surprising because Banquo heard the omens of the witches and knew that a fate like this may fall on the king, but also that he heard it with Macbeth. Banquo knows that Macbeth was professed to be the next king and Macbeth is standing here telling everyone what happened. This is unsurprising because he probably feels that Macbeth had something to do with it and he warned Macbeth earlier that he might be falling into evil thinking. Banquo is probably upset with Macbeth and wants to expose him.
?In the great had of God I stand; and thence against the undivulged pretence I fight of treasonous malice? (2.3.126-127). Banquo is going to fight for the truth as a symbol of God and stand against the ?devil? which is the murderer of Duncan. Banquo is not the only one that doesn?t believe what is going on is totally true. Malcolm, Duncan?s son, has a doubt that about what has happened also.
In the next scene there is a lot of comments on the weather and general atmosphere. Ross talks with an old man about darkness or something. By this time it is probably morning so the darkness of the night may have loomed into the morning hours. This would seem appropriate because God would want to give a sign that there had been wrongdoing and a murky sky seems appropriate for death. ?Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with mans act?by the clock ?tis day, and yet the dark night strangles the traveling lamp.?(2.4.5-7)
They comment on a few other unnatural occurrences in recent days. The death of a falcon and Duncans horses turning on him. ?Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, contending against obedience, as they would make war with mankind?(2.4.16-18) The horses eventually ate each other which was a very unnatural act.
Act three has Macbeth starting to lose it a little. He is worried about Banquo because of what the witches said. Banquos children will be King, not Macbeth?s. He asks a few people to come in and tells them that Banquo must be dealt with because he is a danger to him. They are committed to dealing with the murder of Banquo. Macbeth seems to be jealous of Banquo in this scene. Macbeth has to do all this work to fulfill his prophecies and Banquo has to do nothing.
In act 3.4 Banquo has been murdered. Macbeth is having a dinner for everyone and Banquos ghost appears. The ghost sits in Macbeth?s chair and Macbeth is the only one who can see him. Thus Macbeth looks a little crazy and the guests start to wonder about him. Macbeth seems to think that everyone else can see the ghost also and asks questions towards the guests as if they could.
The witches reappear with Hecate in 3.5. There is thunder that opens the scene, which suggests that the meeting is a dark and gloomy one. Spirits appear to beckon Hecate away from the witches. She has a long speech and seems to give commands to the witches. ?Thither he will come to know his destiny?(3.5.15-17). That quote could be directed towards Macbeth because all of what they have been doing has surrounded Macbeth. We know what ultimately happens to Macbeth, but at this point this is a forewarning that his fate may not be a good one.
Macbeth goes to see the three witches in act four. They tell Macbeth three apparitions that conceal his fate. The main apparition is telling Macbeth how he can be killed. ?”Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth” (4.1.81). The witches are telling Macbeth that someone who is not born by a woman cannot harm him. Macbeth knows Macduff was not born by his mother. His attitude changes and he makes his plans to deal with Macduff to save himself.
Macduff and Malcolm discuss plans to get back at Macbeth. At first Malcolm thinks that Macduff is working for Macbeth and has to trust him. Their hatred is really evident for Macbeth. They refer to him many times as ?evil? or the ?devil?.
Scene 4.3 has Macduff finding out that his entire family has been murdered. He right away relates this to Macbeth. Did heaven look on, and would not take their part? Sinful Macduff they were all struck for thee! naught that I am, not for their own demerits, but for mine, fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now! (4.3.225-229) He thinks his family was struck down because of his sins, God is punishing him for what he had done. Macduff then asks god for the chance to fight Macbeth. ?But gentle heavens?front to front bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself?(4.3.233-235)
Lady Macbeth starts to lose it in the beginning of Act 5. She sees blood on her hand and cannot wash it off. She is sleepwalking and is letting out guilt from the secrets she has been possessing. A doctor calls her state ?a great perturbation in nature? and begins to discuss what a gentlewoman has heard from Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is given the benefit of the doubt by the two, but they start to figure out what happened by what she said. Even though we never know how Lady Macbeth died, this instance could have served as her confession to God. She may have known death was near and wanted to cleanse herself before she died.
In Macbeths final scenes he thinks he is above all and untouchable. He proclaims to young Siward that who he is and Siward replies, ?the devil himself could not pronounce a title more hateful to mine ear?(5.7.11-12). Macbeth snaps back with, ?no, nor more fearful?(5.7.13) He is saying that he should be feared more than the devil. He thinks he is above death at this point and untouchable.
Macbeth?s last scene has Macbeth boasting that a man not born by woman cannot kill him. Macbeth professes how deadly his sword is cause he just killed young Siward very quickly. Macduff strikes back with this line, “Despair thy charm And let the angel whom thou still hast served tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb Untimely ripp’d” (5.10.14-16). He frustrates Macbeth because Macduff is saying that he should tell his evil friend that he was not born by mother and he will kill Macbeth. After fighting some he does kill Macbeth.
The Devil or evil had a strong role throughout the play. It seems to get its way, because so many innocent people were killed throughout the play. As in most cases though good does triumph and God makes up for all the bad things that have happened by letting someone dispose of the problem.
Only book used was the actual tragedy Macbeth written by shakespeare