Critical Analysis of Macbeth by Shakespeare
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Critical Analysis of Macbeth by Shakespeare
There are contrasts evidentthroughout Macbeth
Banquo vs Macbeth
conscience vs murder
fate vs destiny
reason (M) vs passion (LM)
The devestation that followswhen morals are ignored.
Macbeth is a corageous, respected soldier who is not naturallyinclined towards evil but has strong ambition. He is balanced,weighing up his actions (quote to show he doesn't want to killDuncan)
Lady Macbeth is far more determined. TauntsMacbeth for not being a man (find quote) andpersuades him to kill Duncan, and to remain strongafterwards
Contrast at the end of the play when Macbethbecomes a boastful 'beast' and it is Lady M whocannot cope with the blood on her conscience.
is paired with agression
Lady M talking of wishing shecould be unsexed
Macbeth goads murderers byquetionning their masculinity
Lady M goads Macbeth simiarly??
Women also shown as sourcesof violence, and evil
this goes against nature theway women were expected tobehave
Fate and free will
witches represent Fate. Thatlives are predetermined
How that comes about is downto mans free will.
Macbeth is a tragic play, because a tragedy iswhen your downfall is brought about by yourown choices
Disruption of nature
Killing the King, who was seenas God's representation onearth
Violent disruptions in nature — tempests, earthquakes, darkness at noon, and so on — parallel theunnatural and disruptive death of the monarch Duncan. The medieval and renaissance view of the worldsaw a relationship between order on earth, the socalled microcosm, and order on the larger scale of theuniverse, or macrocosm.
Many critics see the parallel between Duncan's death anddisorder in nature as an affirmation of the divine right theory ofkingship.
The Elizabethans believed in "The Great Chain of Being". This was the idea that everyonewas ordered by God into his allotted place, with the king at the head. By killing the king andtaking his place, Macbeth was subverting this natural order.
Nature of the ideal King
Shakespeare's patron, King James, had written abook on this topic, Basilikon Doron, and so thistheme was also of great contemporary interest.
Duncan, Good man, but not great king as toogullible. Evidece mistrusting Macbeth andjudging the castle as pleasant
Banquo would have made agood 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 orphanscry."
Malcom Duncan's son Malcolm is depicted as the perfect king. In his testing ofMacduff, he lists the "kingbecoming graces", such as justice, verity,temperance, mercy, lowliness etc., showing his awareness of how a king shouldbe. He has his father's noble character but without Duncan's fatal flaw ofgullibility.
Discussed in the first act
reversal of values
foul is fair quote
scene 1.4 stresses natural relationships (findexamples) which is soon to be violated. Linked
natural order means both nature itself, and thelove and friendship of man, ordered by law andduty
Main vehicle for readers tounderstand the emotion in theplay
Duncan referring to traitor onceexecuted quote
Believes that there is too much importance given to analysing thecharacters and plot in Macbeth. That it is a dramatic poem thatshould be experienced as a whole, to see Shakespeare plays as anextended metaphor, with 'characters' being poetic symbols, nothumans.
The fact that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth frequently invokedarkness, always linked to the forces of evil and disorder,prepares the audience for the disorder to come: "Stars, hide yourfires"; "Come thick night" etc. Darkness allows evil to flourish.
Shakesperean audience were trained by pamphlets, sermons, orcommon conversation to listen to or read his plays with anattnetion to the subletities of poetic language that is not naturalto modern day readers, as well as sharing the same speechidiom.
Treating the play as a dramatic poem, we need to look at howwords are affected by rythym. The plot, character and recurrentthemes all work together to determine the readers reaction atany one point.
Rhyming couplets often used inselfrighteous passages that give advice orpoint to a moral
A lot of the play is written in iambicpentameters which was a common speechpattern
A single rhymed couplet may also appear at theend of a speech or scene in blank verse, inwhich case it is called a capping couplet.
this could be to show theaudience that a scene lasended
references backwardsa and forwards
Shakespeare uses rhyme andmeter for two reasons
to make the script easier to learn for theactors, often would only be one play toshare.
tension of the
language used by Lady Macbethduring her famous sleepwalkingscene (V,i)
languae used as a way toexpress emotion