In 1605, Shakespeare was beinghounded for another work of genius. Hamlet and King Lear had just been completed and thepeople begged for more. He knew not of what to write and like many playwrights, he didresearch. He found two stories from Hollinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Shakespeare had already taken ideas from Hollinshed for his plays like Henry IV and Henry V. William decided to combine the reign of Macbeth and the murder of King Duff by Donwald andhis wife, altering both to suit his needs. Macbeth is by far the shortest play that WilliamShakespeare wrote. The main reason why this is so is not because Shakespeare did not havemuch to say, but because King James was so impatient.
Macbeth was written basically for theking. In fact, the emphasis on witchery was because King James so heavily believed in sorcery. Shakespeare worried very much about the evil powers insulting the king. After all was said anddone, Macbeth was another barrier to be broken in the great scheme of performances.
It was aninstant success. King James and the court loved it along with England. No offenses were madefrom Malcolm needing help from England. Shakespeare had feared that James would beoffended. From that moment on Macbeth would be known by all. Yet the people begged formore and hoped Macbeth would be out done by another astounding play.
Shakespeare wonderedhow such a task could be accomplished. What was it about Macbeth that made it loved byeveryone? Shakespeare’s style has been analyzed by many and some still can not figure it out. His poetry has influenced his plays immensely. Apart from the fascinating characters of the two leading roles, the play’s chiefattraction is it wonderful poetry. Scarcely a word is wasted, and vivid imagestumble after each other in a stream of color and ideas. (Ross 43)Shakespeare put great thought into what he wanted to write and his feelings expressedthemselves through the stylistic devices of tone, characterization, and symbolism.
Shakespeare’s characterization of Macbeth exonerates the impact he had on the play. Thetone in Macbeth remains sinister and depressing throughout the play. Symbolism, on the otherhand, kept the tragedy in tact, and if understood, revealed the whole play in the very beginning ofThe character of Macbeth profoundly effects the play, by means of transpiring his actionsto hurt others. If looking at the characteristics of good and evil, it makes the reader wonder whatmakes a person good or evil.
Evil is not born into people, but it is the only option they haveThree features we have seen stand out clear in the general conception of Macbeth. There is his eminently practical nature, which is the key to the whole. And the absence in him of the inner life adds two special features: one is hishelplessness under suspense, the other is the activity of his imagination with itssusceptibility to supernatural terrors. .
. His practical power develops as capacity forcrime. . .
his mind is as scorpions; it is tortured in restless ecstasy. Suspense hasundermined his judgment and brought on him the gambler’s fever. . . The thirdfeature in Macbeth is the quickening of his sensitiveness to the supernatural sideby side with the deadening of his conscience. .
. In the reaction from the murder ofBanquo the supernatural appearance-which no eye sees but his own-appears morereal to him than the real life around him. And from this point he seeks the supernatural, forces it to disclose its terrors, and thrusts himself into an agonizedvision of generations that are to witness the triumph of his foes. (Moulton Moulton knows what he is talking about. Macbeth was heavily influenced by supernaturalforces. In fact, were it not for them he might be living a happy and content life.
The witches hada profound affect on him. He soon found himself in a world where he wanted to know more andmore and the weird women were the only ones who could satisfy his hunger. Macbeth went froma man who served everyone but himself to a man who served only himself. The one thing thatMacbeth had that meant the most to him was his wife. Lady Macbeth is his world.
For a manwho shows so much hate, gives a lot of love. They are one of the greatest pairs of lovers thatever existed. There is a spot where the reader can obviously pick up the dramatic changeMacbeth went through. “Seyton: The queen, my lord, is dead. Macbeth: She should have diedhereafter; There would have been a time for such a word “(Shakespeare, Act V, Scene V). Hiswife, his love, his world had died and he did not even care.
The way he just disregarded her letsthe readers know that he is a changed man, and not for the better. His desire to be unstoppableand all powerful was what killed him. His ambition clouded his once clever mind to where hecould not look past the apparitions prophecies. From the very first words, the tone reveals itself as drab and murky. It is thundering andlightning in the very beginning and rainstorms automatically give the readers an eerie feeling.
Darkness, we may even say blackness, broods over this tragedy. It is remarkablethat almost all the scenes which at once recur to memory take place either at night or in some dark. The vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo, the sleep-walking of Lady Macbeth, all come in night scenes. (BradleyBradley is merely stating that the atmosphere remains uniform.
There are a few places where thedreary mood is blanketed by things that appear to be happy. When Macbeth arrives home, LadyMacbeth seems so enthusiastic to see him. Her excitement is truly genuine, but beneath herhappiness is a plot of deceit and murder. Lady Macbeth: Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men may read strangematters:-To beguile the time, look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, yourhand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it. She is telling him that his face can easily be read and that he needs to act like normal, butunderneath to be cunning.
This passage takes an almost cheery moment and takes it back to aworld full of betrayal. Another place where gaiety is almost achieved is toward the very end ofthe book. “Malcolm: We will perform in measure, time, and place: So thanks to all at once, andto each one, Whom we invite to see us crown’d at Scone” (Shakespeare, Act V, Scene VII). Allseems merry, but if thought about it, the reader can easily see that trouble awaits. Malcolm hasjust defeated Macbeth.
However, he did not do this all on his own. He had help from England inthe defeat. England would not send troops in to help fight a war for nothing. They would soontry to recapture Scotland. Therefore, the “happy ending” is not really going to end “happily everThrough foreshadowing, Shakespeare was able to give the play a deeper meaning. Foreshadowing was used in the very first scene.
The three weird sisters in Act 1, Scene III, werediscussing about someone whom they were going to place a curse on. “3 Witch: Sister, wherethou? 1 Witch: A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap” (Act 1, Scene III). This sailor isreferring to Macbeth. Macbeth was at first the Thane of Glamis, which represents the sailor of aship.
The witches later go on to describe what they do to the sailor. 1 Witch: I’ll drain him dry as hay: Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang uponhis pent-house lid; He shall live a man forbid: Weary sev’n nights, nine timesnine, Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine: Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet isshall be tempest-toss’d. (Shakespeare Act I, Scene III) Macbeth was literally being drained dry as hay, “Macbeth: And, with thy bloody and invisiblehand, cancel, and tear to pieces, that great bond which keeps me pale” (Shakespeare Act III,Scene II). He often complained how he never slept. He had insomnia and it had all started thenight he had killed Duncan.
“Macbeth: Still it cried, ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house: ‘Glamishath murther’d sleep: and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more’”(Shakespeare Act II, Scene II). Shakespeare used foreshadowing in most of all of his plays. There are also many who believe that Macbeth and the Bible are related to one another. Paul N.
Macbeth resembles Adam in being suggested to evil by demonic forces, in thedeliberate choice of evil which seems good, in his desire to rise in the scale ofbeing, and in susceptibility to wifely logic. Thus his characterization isuniversalized and made applicable to every man. Evil in Macbeth is given thesame wide reference by the protagonist’s linkage with Judas, Lucifer, and Saul. Macbeth is like Judas in that his victim, Duncan, is a Christ-figure overflowingwith love and grace; in his welcome at Dunsinane to Duncan as being reminiscentof Judas at the Last Supper; and in the earthquake and eclipse that accompany thecrucifixion of Christ and the murder of Duncan. (Monarch Notes 4)In my opinion, I never would have thought about Macbeth and the Bible relating to one another,but everyone has their own opinion. Symbolism played a very important part in Macbeth.
Blood, for instance, was very key in it. Duncan’s blood on the Macbeth’s hands is a symbol ofthe evil crime they committed, the guilt of which cannot be washed away. Macbeth’s curse,“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand willrather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” (Shakespeare Act II, SceneIII). “Lady Macbeth: Out, damned spot! out I say!. . .
yet who would have thought the old man tohave had so much blood in him” (Shakespeare Act V, Scene I). The guilt of Duncan’s murder,although more present in Macbeth at first, has grown in Lady Macbeth until she began having thesame insane visions of her hands getting bloodier and bloodier not ever coming clean.Bibliography: