Marxist Theory Essay, Research Paper
The Marxist literary theory is based on the idealistic notion of socialism, therefore, economics is at the center of Marxism. Everyone is equal and nobody has more money than anyone else. The Marxist theory says that all actions follow a logical, scientific pattern. That statement is the complete opposite from the world Macbeth lived in where status was gained by murder, and immortality was gained by dying. Social progress is also a key aspect of Marxism. It involves the advancement of the whole community not just one person, to the point where everyone is equal. Marxism also encourages the formation of a middle class and equality among all the people of the community. From a Marxist point of view, materialism is seen as a step backwards because the people who feel the need to accumulate wealth and possessions do not understand their responsibility to their fellow folk.
Macbeth is lacking self-respect and confidence by conforming to the wishes and demands of those around him such as the witches and most of all Lady Macbeth. This is a form of social regression, which is a point of consistency in Macbeth?s character. Duncan was one of the most beloved kings and by Macbeth killing Duncan he creates countrywide corruption. By killing Duncan he not only destroys a country, he destroys himself. The gradual deterioration of Macbeth?s sanity is matched with Macbeth?s loyalty to the King. After his newfound power in the Thane of Cawdor his loyalty and self-respect take a drastic plunge. As Lady Macbeth slowly influences him to kill Duncan, Macbeth becomes more and more committed to the idea of power. Lady Macbeth keeps on wanting more and more and as Macbeth slowly transforms into her he becomes as greedy and materialistic as her. Marxism is against materialism because if one hoards all the goods than there can be no equality within the community. Materialism in any form does not serve the common good of the society. Duncan?s murder is a slow process because it his first and he contemplates the severity and consequences of this murder more so than any to follow. By killing Duncan Macbeth killed God?s divine presence on earth and by killing Macbeth, MacDuff kills the devil?s presence on earth. Before Macbeth kills the king he contemplates the consequences of the crime. Macbeth, at this point, is not planning on killing Duncan. It is in more of a hypothetical context.
?But in these cases we still have judgement here; that we but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught return to plague th? inventor.? — Macbeth Act I vii lines 7-10.
Macbeth knows that the action of this crime will haunt him and eventually ruin him. If he kills Duncan someone will ultimately take his life. He realizes the consequences of his actions and knows that eventually they will come back to haunt him and possibly have the same thing done to him. He does not think that he will ever actually kill the king, only for the king. In the war when Macbeth served loyally and killed for the country and everyone in it he was fitting in with the ideas of Marxism. By serving everyone Macbeth along with everyone else was progressing. But when he kills Duncan he kills for purely selfish reasons.
?I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on?t again I dare not.?
Macbeth is completely terrified and beside himself at what he has done. He already wants to block it out of his memory. This is just the beginning of the journey he is going to take towards complete anti-Marxist behavior.
Banquo?s murder shows what level Macbeth allowed himself to stoop to. He had his best friend murdered in an effort to cover up his mistake. This is the perfect example of how power in the wrong hands can so quickly go awry.
?So he is mine (enemy), and in such bloody distance that every minute of my his being thrusts against my near?st of life: and though I could with barefaced power
sweep him from my sight and bid my will avouch it?? (III,i ll. 16-20)
Macbeth declares to the murderers while convincing them that Banquo is the enemy, that he could kill Macbeth face to face and have no remorse about it. This is the continuing saga of Macbeth?s attempts to keep his power. He continues on his downward spiral of social regression. He has become cold and heartless and has become desensitized to murder. Killing people just keeps getting easier and easier for Macbeth especially because of Lady Macbeth?s constant influence over him.
?Blood will have blood? (III,iv ll. 123)
Macbeth at some point has a moment of clarity and realizes that what he is doing is extremely destructive. By this point he knows that there is no way to stop all the killing unless he himself is killed.
Macduff didn?t believe that they would kill a wife and a child, which is why he left them. Honor among thieves kind of thing. The thought of Macbeth stooping so low gets to the very core of Macduff and their murders eventually avenged by the slaying of Macbeth. Macbeth has just entered Macduff?s estate.
?His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool; This deed I?ll do before this purpose cool:? (IV,ii ll. 152-155)
Macbeth becomes more and more withdrawn from the former shell of himself. He has no problem with killing innocent, defenseless people. Macbeth was also mad at MacDuff, or possibly even scared of MacDuff when he didn?t show up for Macbeth?s coronation. Macbeth was also jealous of MacDuff because he had children and Macbeth had none.
?Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.? (IV, iii ll. 229)
The perfect way to ruin MacDuff would be to kill his family. Macbeth?s plan was spoiled by MacDuff?s resilience. Macduff?s revenge is only strengthened by the guilt brought on by the murder of his family. Macbeth is not afraid to die because after the murdering of Banquo he knew he had gone way past the point of no return. Macbeth was left with no one to blame but himself because Lady Macbeth killed herself. She realized too that there is no way that they would ever rid themselves of the deed they did. Macbeth can?t blame it on the witches because witches are not a respected source of information.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had everything yet were in constant fear of losing it. Greed, money, lies, deceit, misuse of power all get you nothing in the end. Nothing was gained by anyone in this whole story yet too many things were lost. This play displayed social regression, not progression. Materialism instead of creating equality for the whole community was extremely evident. The scientific order of things was backwards. By killing Duncan Macbeth gained the status he wanted. The rest of the murders were simply to keep that status as well as his name clear. Somewhere in the midst of all of it he knew that it wasn?t worth it at all. Greed and money from an economic standpoint was the thing that could be directly related to Marxism.