Themes in Macbeth Essay

Themes in Macbeth Essay

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In William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth evil is conveyed in many ways through characters, themes and settings. Many themes are explored in detail contributing hugely to the sense of evil with characters being used along with these themes to create evil within the characters. These themes and characters are shown in different settings at different times consequently affecting the mood and atmosphere of the play.

In relation, Shakespeare uses characters in order to raise the appeal of themes being presented. A character which has the largest influence on the play is Macbeth. Macbeth is someone who is tortured by the pain of the words of those around him. Macbeth is influenced heavily by the three witches who prophesize that he is going to take over Duncan; ‘Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear/Things that do sound fair?’, this shows that Macbeth was already thinking about killing Duncan and that the witches have read his mind. The idea of becoming King taunts Macbeth and drives him ever closer to wanting to become King. Macbeth knows that killing Duncan would be wrong yet it still plays a large role in the back of his mind. He continually ponders whether or not to kill Duncan. However, Lady Macbeth changes all that around. When Lady Macbeth hears of this prophecy from the witches she instantly realizes what is at stake. She continually presses Macbeth telling him he’s a coward. Shakespeare instantly draws the attention of the audience as they will immediately recognize the different ways and personalities of the two characters. Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth against Macbeth to show the evil associated with her. In addition Lady Macbeth feels that Macbeth doesn’t have it within him to do the deed of killing Duncan; ‘Unsex me ...


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... towering in her pride of place, Was by a mousing owl hawk’d and kill’d.’ This relates to the evil unnatural- as was said- and once again foreshadows something is going to happen that will affect the storyline. Also, the sense of chaos and disorder is brought up when associating with Duncan horses, ‘…Beauteous and swift…Turn’d wild in nature…as they would make war with mankind.’

In conclusion, William Shakespeare effectively and clearly shows the evil associated with human wants and desires. Shakespeare clearly shows the audience the main and important themes that these desires are affected by and the consequences that lie ahead because of them. Blood is shown to represent guilt which relates to the appearance and reality of things as a consequence of this. The ambition of the desires is the fuel in the fire for the other themes as they can’t operate without it.

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