Saturday, January 11, 2020

Macbeth †The Central Themes of the Play Essay

The central themes of the play are highlighted by the sinister statement made by the witches at the very beginning of the play, â€Å"Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.† The whole tone for the play is set as it is a drama about contradictory forces and ideas: light and darkness; good and evil; holy and unholy; loyalty and disloyalty; trust and mistrust; what is natural and unnatural; honesty and deception. The witches mention of Macbeth is significant because he is immediately associated with evil. Duncan decides to appoint Macbeth as the next Thane of Cawdor as the previous one was a traitor, he says, † No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth.† This is ironic as Macbeth has inherited the title of a traitor and the title leads to Duncans killing and ultimately Macbeths downfall. This is also a link to the fair is foul statement as Macbeth seems fair, noble and a good servant for the king but in the end he kills Duncan and is evil. Macbeth has the capacity to kill for both good and evil. Duncan realises that he can’t judge people by their appearances and that they can be deceptive, † There’s no art To find the minds construction in the face:† This is ironic as he about to make the same mistake with the next Thane of Cawdor, the fact that people can be deceptive is reflected by ‘fair is foul’ as people aren’t always what they seem. When Macbeth realises that one of the witches’ prophesies has come true Banquo says, † What! Can the devil speak true?† This is saying that the witches are the devil and evil but they have spoken the truth which is not expected, this mixes good and evil referring back to ‘fair is foul’ and one of the themes this statement explores. Macbeth is also immediately liked with evil as he echoes the witches, † So foul and fair a day I have not seen.† The witches have established their deliberate evil and their powerful presence in the play, Macbeth has become their victim, we can see this where he says † Upon the blasted heath you stop our way With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.† This shows that Macbeth is drawn into what they are saying and also indicates the witches power over him as they just vanish. Macbeths echo links him with the themes that these words explore, he uses ironic lines such as, â€Å"Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s In deepest consequence.† Macbeth is now liked with the themes such as honesty, betrayal and loyalty all explored by the ‘fair is foul, and foul is fair’ statement, Macbeth is gradually being drawn more and more towards evil by his own weaknesses. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth share a very close relationship which is based around trust and honesty. Macbeth is ambitious and Lady Macbeth is trying to help him achieve his ambition, † All that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have thee crown’d withal.† This is ironic as although the wealth and power seems very attractive to them once they get it the trust, honesty and closeness they had is lost, this once links back to the ‘fair is foul’ theme. Lady Macbeth also tells Macbeth to be deceitful and disguise the truth, † Look at the time, bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your toungue: look like the innocent flower But be the serpent under’t.† This shows that Macbeth looks innocent and fair but inside he is evil and foul. Duncan ironically praises Macbeths castle as pleasant and welcoming, † This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself Unto our gentle senses.† This shows that ‘fair is foul’ as the castle looks pleasant from the outside but is evil within and is where Duncan is to be murdered. Duncan also praises Lady Macbeth as the noble, welcoming hostess; she is deceptive and puts on the false face of goodness to Duncan when really she is planning his murder, she says, † Your majesty loads our house: for those of old, and the late dignities heap’d up to them,† Macbeths ambition overpowers his conscience and morality with the help of Lady Macbeth and he commits the murder. Once they find out that Duncan has been murdered Macbeth again plays innocent and is not genuine, for example, † You are, and do not know’t: The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood Is stopp’d; the very source of it is stopp’d.† Macbeth conceals what he knows and pretends to be horrified by the murder in contrast to Macduff who is genuine, Macbeths language is over elaborate. The theme of natural and unnatural is created throughout the play, for example when the Old Man says, † T is unnatural, Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last, A falcon, towering in her pride of place, Was by a mousing owl hawked at, and killed.† This means that nature has changed and become strange and unnatural and reflects the murder and unnaturalness of Duncans death. Macbeth holds a Banquet at which Banquo is supposed to be present but Macbeth has murdered him, this shows that ‘fair is foul’ as everything seems normal but it is not and the ghost of Banquo turns up to haunt Macbeth. When Macbeth goes to visit the witches again they are cunning and employ equivocation, juggling with words to disguise the truth and lull Macbeth into a false sense of security. This is shown where they say, † The power of man, for none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth.† This is making Macbeth feel safe without them lying as Macduff was cut from his mother when she was dead, the witches are deceiving him showing that ‘foul is fair’. When Macduff goes to ask Malcom to raise an army to fight Macbeth and bring order back to Scotland Malcom accuses himself of being evil and foul. He is cautious to make sure Macduff is not trying to leur him back to Macbeth, he says, † To make me hunger more, that I should forge Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal, Destroying them for wealth.† Malcom is appearing foul but is fair in contrast to Macbeth, Malcom believes in Maduffs integrity and decided to help him. Malcom also says, † The night is long that never find the day.† This means that every black, evil night comes to a good day, ‘foul is fair’. The contrasts become moral contrasts and Macbeth has lost everything, eventually goodness overpowers evil.

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