Macbeth - Power Shifts

953 Words4 Pages
DRAMA OFTEN EXAMINES THE WAYS INDIVIDUALS STRUGGLE TO DOMINATE AND/OR MINIPULATE EACH OTHER. DISCUSS THE TECHNIQUES USED IN ONE OR MORE PLAYS, WHICH DRAW OUT ATTENTION TO THE POWER SHIFTS BWTWEEN CHARACTERS.

The text Macbeth by famous playwright William Shakespeare portrays a dramatic power struggle by the careful employment of various literary techniques. "Authority poisons everybody who takes authority on himself" (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin) aptly describes this prominent theme of Macbeth. Techniques include symbolism, emotive language, narrative structure and imagery, which combine to represent the tragic plot portraying the contest between goodness and evil in Macbeth.

In the tragedy Macbeth emotive language and soliloquy have been employed to emphasize the struggle for domination between the characters. The main theme of Macbeth, the desire for power and dominance, is appropriately summarized by the following quote:
"Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other" (I, VII, 54)

The main character, Macbeth, seeks increasing authority influenced by the witches' prophecies, at any cost. Dramatic language has been successfully portrayed Macbeth's desire, through the above quote, whereby the search for power and ambition has been decided. Yet, the result of such ambitious ideals is at risk of resulting in the opposite, being condemnation. Personification in the form of 'Vaulting ambition" and "itself" has been employed to aid to the understanding of the exert, combining with dramatic language which also contributes to the overall impact of the theme. Macbeth lets his "vaulting ambition" rush fate, hence hasten doom.

The technique symbolism has also been suitably employed to further enhance Macbeth's struggle for power and dominance, hence the main theme. This may be demonstrated where Lady Macbeth states:
"What, will these hands ne'ver be clean...!
Here's the smell of blood still..." (V, I, 174)

The apparition of blood on Lady Macbeth's hands, which can not be removed, is symbolic of her subconscious revealing her 'wrong doing' in previous sections of the text. Even though Lady Macbeth is no longer influencing her husband towards evil occurrences, the blood is symbolic of her attempts to aid Macbeth's path towards power and dominance. Blood is linked to treachery and murder, hence the emphasis on Lady Macbeth's crimes. The struggle for authority and supremacy has now shifted from Lady Macbeth to her husband, yet her evil deeds are still prominent in he subconscious mind.

Light and dark imagery have been portrayed throughout Macbeth to aid to the representation of the main themes of evil opposing goodness.
Open Document