Works of literature that attract people usually contain some wild thinking. Henry David Thoreau, in his essay “Walking,” makes this assessment of literature: “In literature it is only the wild that attracts us. Dullness is but another name for tameness. It is the uncivilized free and wild thinking in Hamlet and The Iliad, in all scriptures and mythologies, not learned in schools, that delights us.” In the play “Macbeth,” Shakespeare uses “uncivilized free and wild thinking” in order to make the storyline interesting and entertaining.
The play starts out immediately with and example of this. Three witches are the first characters that appear on stage. They are conversing of when they will meet again to discuss some important information that will occur later in the story. At the end of this first scene, the three witches vanish into the wind.
Soon after, Macbeth and his wife are discussing how they can murder the current king so that Macbeth will become king. This is wild thinking. Before Macbeth commits the murder he says, “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee: -- I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.” (Shakespeare’s Masterpieces 18) Afterwards he says, “I have done the deed.” (Shakespeare’s Masterpieces 18)
Macbeth begins to have hallucinations and his imagination wanders as he thinks about the things he has done. At one time an apparition of a bloody child arises. “Apparition: Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! –
Macbeth: Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.
App: Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn. The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” (Shakespeare’s Masterpieces 41)
Macbeth thinks he is unstoppable now because of this revelation and continues with his conspiracy to kill people even though at times he regrets it.
In another scene, Macbeth has ordered his murderers to murder Lady Macduff and everyone in that family.
Messenger: Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known, though in your state of honour I am perfect. I doubt some danger does approach you nearly: if you will take a homely man’s advice, be not found here; hence, with your little ones to fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage; to do worse to you were fell cruelty, which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you! I dare abide no longer.
L. Macduff: Whither should I fly?