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Analysis of Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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Analysis of Macbeth by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth between 1605 and1606 in what we call

his dark period; it became one of his finest tragedies. Shakespeare

loosely based his play on the historical chronicles of Ralph

Holinshed.

Macbeth, has everything one could wish from a tragic play: we have

temptation, intrigue, murder, insanity, pathos and finally,

retribution.

Macbeth, highly esteemed by his monarch and peers, seems a highly

moral man and happy with his lot. By the end of the first act,

Shakespeare has given us a different side to the man’s character. Far

from being a highly moral loyal subject, we find he is weak and

sinking rapidly, into treacherous depths of intrigue and avarice.

Our introduction to Macbeth is as he and his co-leader Banquo,

encounter the three witches’ on their way back from a second

victorious battle. Here begins the temptation.

The first witch calls out to Macbeth, “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee,

Thane of Glamis!” She is telling him, he is now the leader of the

clan. The second witch follows on with, “All hail Macbeth, hail Thane

of Cawdor!” he has been chosen to lead the clan of Cawdor. The third

witch’s prediction is perhaps, more prolific, “All hail Macbeth, that

shalt be king hereafter!” These witches’ have no real power but, their

words are a temptation to Macbeth. They are telling Macbeth he will

become king, they do not say how he will accomplish it. They have a

different message for Banquo. The first witch begins, “Lesser than

Macbeth, and greater.” While the second witch predicts, “Not so happy,

yet much happier.” The third witch explains how ...

... middle of paper ...

...lling us, we will suffer from being bad.

Shakespeare thinks of ambition as being negative, it will drive us to

self destruction. This may have been true in the sixteenth century

where the morality of its leaders could have an influence on society.

Today, we look on ambition as a positive side to our nature; We are

encouraged “To want to get on.” Most of us we would never go as far

as murder to further our career; although it is safe to say, some may

have gone that far.

Having had a good grammar school education, Shakespeare had a large

vocabulary and loved to use it. He would play around with words until

he found exactly what he wanted; or make up words to fit. In

Macbeth, Shakespeare uses prose, blank verse and rhyme to achieve his

goal and to be sure of getting the correct ambience with his

audience.
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