Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
Born in 1564 in Stratford, England, William Shakespeare is renowned for his 37 plays. He began by writing comedies such as The Comedy of Errors and Love?s Labors lost, and continued by writing plays based on English history and tragedies. One of his most famous tragedies, written in 1605, was Macbeth. Shakespeare?s Macbeth reveals the universal themes of death, of ambition, and of guilt.
Shakespeare reveals the theme of death in his tragedy, Macbeth. At the end of the first Act, Lady Macbeth expresses her desire to become completely numb to the pain and suffering of others so that she may have the will to participate in the murder of King Duncan. She says to herself, ??fill me to the toe topfull of direst cruelty! make thick my blood ; stop up the access and passage to remorse?(Act one, scene five)? Macbeth recklessly kills Duncan between the first and second scenes in Act two. In the third Act, Macbeth hires three men to murder his former companion, Banquo, and his son; though they only succeed in killing Banquo. Later, the same three murderers are hired to kill the family of Macduff. The final murder of the play is ironically of Macbeth. Many innocent people are killed throughout the play until the antagonist is eliminated.
Shakespeare?s Macbeth reveals the theme of ambition. When at first Macbeth receives the prophecies of the witches, he is confused and in disbelief. But after some careful thought he motivates himself to take hold of the crown. When Lady Macbeth hears of the prophecies through the letter sent by her husband, she also becomes determined to assume the role as queen. She and Macbeth carefully plan the murder of King Duncan in order to eliminate an obstacle in achieving their ultimate goal of becoming royalty. Macbeth eventually becomes so intent on gaining the crown and eventually becoming king that he returns to the witches for more information about what he hopes to be his prolonged royal destiny. ?I call upon you, in the name of your art- whatever be the source-to answer me! (Act four, scene one)? Macbeth?s ambition is what encourages him to commit all of the murders of what he believes to be obstacles on his road to success.
Shakespeare?s Macbeth reveals the theme of guilt. After the murder of King Duncan tin the second Act, Macbeth appears to be extremely frightened and fearful of what might happen to him. He imagines that he hears a voice saying ?Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more! (Act two, scene two)? While the three hired murderers are hunting down Banquo, Macbeth has a feast for all of his friends. After the murderers have succeeded in their task, Macbeth imagines that he sees the ghost of Banquo. These hallucinations show signs of a guilty conscience. At the end of the play, Lady Macbeth commits suicide by hanging herself because of the heavy burdens she bears and her overpowering guilt. Macbeth deals with his guilt through several different hallucinations and Lady Macbeth simply ends her life when the stress is too much to bear.
The themes of death, of ambition, and of guilt are all apparent in Shakespeare?s Macbeth. The theme of death is revealed through the many reckless attempts at murder that take place throughout the play. Ambition is an important theme because the entire play is based on Macbeth?s struggle to be and remain King. Guilt mostly becomes apparent through Macbeth?s hallucinations. They are all considered to be universal themes because not only did they apply to situations in Shakespeare?s lifetime, but they also occur today. Not many people go through as much as a week without experiencing one of these emotions, much less all of them.