⌛ All Themes In Macbeth

Monday, June 21, 2021 1:29:50 AM

All Themes In Macbeth

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Macbeth Themes Revision: The Supernatural, Fate vs Free Will, Appearance vs Reality

But before Lady Macduff can escape, murderers attack the house and kill everyone including Lady Macduff and her son. Macduff arrives at the English court and meets with Malcolm. Malcolm, remembering his father's misplaced trust in Macbeth, decides to test Macduff: he confesses that he is a greedy, lustful, and sinful man who makes Macbeth look like an angel in comparison. Macduff despairs and says that he will leave Scotland forever if this is the case, since there seems to be no man fit to rule it. Upon hearing this, Malcolm is convinced of Macduff's goodness and reveals that he was merely testing him; he has none of these faults to which he has just confessed. In fact, he claims, the first lie he has ever told was this false confession to Macduff.

He then announces that Siward has assembled an army of ten thousand men and is prepared to march on Scotland. A messenger appears and tells the men that the king of England is approaching, attended by a crowd of sick and despairing people who wish the king to cure them. The king, according to Malcolm, has a gift for healing people simply by laying his hands on them. Ross arrives from Scotland and reports that the country is in a shambles. When pressed further, he relates the story of their death. Macduff is stunned speechless and Malcolm urges him to cure his grief by exacting revenge on Macbeth.

Macduff is overcome with guilt and sorrow from the murders that occurred while he was absent. Again Malcolm urges him to put his grief to good use and seek revenge. All three men leave to prepare for battle. As the act opens, the witches carry on the theme of doubling and equivocation that threads throughout the play. As they throw ingredients into their cauldron, they chant "double, double, toil and trouble"—a reminder that their speech is full of double meanings, paradox, and equivocation IV i The apparitions that the witches summon give equivocal messages to Macbeth, and they appear to know quite consciously that he will only understand one half of their words.

Although Macbeth himself has previously acknowledged that "stones have been known to move and trees to speak" III iv , the apparitions give Macbeth a false sense of security. He takes the apparitions' words at face value, forgetting to examine how their predictions could potentially come true. The theme of doubling is amplified when the witches summon the "show of kings. For Macbeth, it is as if the ghosts of Banquo have returned to haunt him several times over. In the procession of kings, Macbeth also notes that some carry "twofold balls and treble scepters"—as if even the signs of their power have been doubled. On a historical note, it is generally thought the eighth king holds up a mirror in order to pander to James I.

This last king—the eighth-generation descendant of Banquo—is none other than a figure of James I himself. He thus carries a mirror to signal as much to the real James I, who sits at the forefront of the audience. In various subtle ways, Shakespeare complimented King James I—a legendary descendant of Banquo and author of a book on witchcraft Daemonologie []. James I is not the only character who is doubled in Macbeth. Throughout the play, characters balance and complement each other in a carefully constructed harmony.

As a man who also receives a prophecy but refuses to act actively upon it, Banquo serves as sort of inverse mirror image of Macbeth. Although he has troubled dreams like Macbeth, his arise from the suppression of ambitions whereas Macbeth's arise from the fulfillment thereof. Other major characters, including Malcolm, Macduff, and Lady Macbeth , can also be seen as foils or doubles for Macbeth. Whereas she first advises Macbeth to forget all remorse and guilt, Lady Macbeth becomes increasingly troubled by her own guilt as Macbeth begins to heed her advice. Another form of doubling or equivocation is found in the theme of costumes, masks, and disguises. After the murder, Lady Macbeth paints the bodyguards' faces with a mask of blood to implicate them.

Thus when Malcolm tests Macduff's loyalty, he begins appropriately by saying that "all things foul would wear the brows of grace" IV iii Even the most foul of men—perhaps like Macbeth and the murderers—are able to disguise themselves. It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,. The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms. As I descended? On the Knocking at the Gate "When the deed is done, when the work of darkness is perfect, then the world of darkness passes away like a pageantry in the clouds: the knocking at the gate is heard; and it makes known audibly that the reaction has commenced: the human has made its reflux upon the fiendish; the pulses of life are beginning to beat again; and the re-establishment of the goings-on of the world in which we live, first makes us profoundly sensible of the awful parenthesis that had suspended them.

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