Critical Analysis of Macbeth by Shakespeare

Critical Analysis of Macbeth by Shakespeare
Contrast
There are contrasts evident
throughout Macbeth
gender roles
Banquo vs Macbeth
conscience vs murder
fate vs destiny
reason (M) vs passion (LM)
Language
The fact that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth frequently invoke
darkness, always linked to the forces of evil and disorder,
prepares the audience for the disorder to come: "Stars, hide your
fires"; "Come thick night" etc. Darkness allows evil to flourish.
Shakesperean audience were trained by pamphlets, sermons, or
common conversation to listen to or read his plays with an
attnetion to the subletities of poetic language that is not natural
to modern day readers, as well as sharing the same speech
idiom.
Treating the play as a dramatic poem, we need to look at how
words are affected by rythym. The plot, character and recurrent
themes all work together to determine the readers reaction at
any one point.
Rhyming couplets often used in
selfrighteous passages that give advice or
point to a moral
A lot of the play is written in iambic
pentameters which was a common speech
pattern
A single rhymed couplet may also appear at the
end of a speech or scene in blank verse, in
which case it is called a capping couplet.
this could be to show the
audience that a scene las
ended
references backwardsa and forwards
Shakespeare uses rhyme and
meter for two reasons
for effect
to make the script easier to learn for the
actors, often would only be one play to
share.
tension of the
language used by Lady Macbeth
during her famous sleepwalking
scene (V,i)
languae used as a way to
express emotion
Themes
Ambition
The devestation that follows
when morals are ignored.
Macbeth is a corageous, respected soldier who is not naturally
inclined towards evil but has strong ambition. He is balanced,
weighing up his actions (quote to show he doesn't want to kill
Duncan)
Lady Macbeth is far more determined. Taunts
Macbeth for not being a man (find quote) and
persuades him to kill Duncan, and to remain strong
afterwards
Contrast at the end of the play when Macbeth
becomes a boastful 'beast' and it is Lady M who
cannot cope with the blood on her conscience.
Masculinity
is paired with agression
Lady M talking of wishing she
could be unsexed
Macbeth goads murderers by
quetionning their masculinity
Lady M goads Macbeth simiarly??
Women also shown as sources
of violence, and evil
The witches
Lady M
this goes against nature the
way women were expected to
behave
Fate and free will
witches represent Fate. That
lives are predetermined
How that comes about is down
to mans free will.
Macbeth is a tragic play, because a tragedy is
when your downfall is brought about by your
own choices
Disruption of nature
Killing the King, who was seen
as God's representation on
earth
Violent disruptions in nature — tempests, earthquakes, darkness at noon, and so on — parallel the
unnatural and disruptive death of the monarch Duncan. The medieval and renaissance view of the world
saw a relationship between order on earth, the socalled microcosm, and order on the larger scale of the
universe, or macrocosm.
Many critics see the parallel between Duncan's death and
disorder in nature as an affirmation of the divine right theory of
kingship.
The Elizabethans believed in "The Great Chain of Being". This was the idea that everyone
was ordered by God into his allotted place, with the king at the head. By killing the king and
taking his place, Macbeth was subverting this natural order.
Nature of the ideal King
Shakespeare's patron, King James, had written a
book on this topic, Basilikon Doron, and so this
theme was also of great contemporary interest.
Duncan, Good man, but not great king as too
gullible. Evidece mistrusting Macbeth and
judging the castle as pleasant
Banquo would have made a
good king 'royalty of nature'
Macbeth unworthy king. Regicide, a tyrant,
whose cruelty drains the life blood from his country:
"each new morn, new widows howl, new orphans
cry."
Malcom Duncan's son Malcolm is depicted as the perfect king. In his testing of
Macduff, he lists the "kingbecoming graces", such as justice, verity,
temperance, mercy, lowliness etc., showing his awareness of how a king should
be. He has his father's noble character but without Duncan's fatal flaw of
gullibility.
Discussed in the first act
reversal of values
foul is fair quote
unnatural disorder
scene 1.4 stresses natural relationships (find
examples) which is soon to be violated. Linked
natural order means both nature itself, and the
love and friendship of man, ordered by law and
duty
Main vehicle for readers to
understand the emotion in the
play
deceitful appearance
Duncan referring to traitor once
executed quote
Knights
Believes that there is too much importance given to analysing the
characters and plot in Macbeth. That it is a dramatic poem that
should be experienced as a whole, to see Shakespeare plays as an
extended metaphor, with 'characters' being poetic symbols, not
humans.
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