Macbeth Literary Analysis Krystal Abbott Pat Patterson English IV Friday, December 03, 1999 Macbeth In Shakespeares lifetime he wrote many plays. Many of them were critically acclaimed and others cast aside. The crowd always wanted to be more thoroughly entertained and Shakespeare always tried to keep up with the peoples needs. In 1605, Shakespeare was being hounded for another work of genius. Hamlet and King Lear had just been completed and the people of England begged for more.
He knew not of what to write and like many playwrights did some research. He found two stories from Hollinsheds Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. Shakespeare had already taken some ideas from there for his plays like Henry IV and Henry V. William decided to combine the reign of Macbeth and the murder of King Duff by Donwald and his wife, altering both to suit his needs. Macbeth is by far the shortest play that William Shakespeare wrote.
The main reason why this is so is not because Shakespeare did not have much to say, but because King James was so impatient. Macbeth was written basically for the king. In fact, the emphasis on witchery was because King James so heavily believed in sorcery. Shakespeare worried very much about the evil powers insulting the king. After all was said and done, Macbeth was another barrier to be broken in the great scheme of performances. It was an instant success.
King James and the court loved it along with England. No offenses were made from Malcolm needing help from England. Shakespeare feared that James would be offended by that. From that moment on Macbeth would be known by all. Yet the people begged for more and hoped Macbeth would be out done by another astounding play. Shakespeare wondered how such a task could be accomplished.
What was it about Macbeth that made it loved by everyone? Shakespeares style has been analyzed by many and some still can not figure it out. His poetry has influenced his plays immensely. Apart from the fascinating characters of the two leading roles, the plays chief attraction is it wonderful poetry. Scarcely a word is wasted, and vivid images tumble after each other in a stream of color and ideas (Ross 43). Shakespeare put great thought into what he wanted to write and his feelings expressed themselves through the stylistic devices of tone, characterization, and symbolism. Shakespeares characterization of Macbeth exonerates the impact he had on the play.
The tone in Macbeth remains sinister and depressing throughout the play. Symbolism, on the other hand, kept the tragedy in tact, and if understood, revealed the whole play in the very beginning of her pages. The character of Macbeth profoundly effects the play, by means of transpiring his actions to hurt others. If looking at the characteristics of good and evil, it makes the reader wonder what makes a person good or evil. Evil is not born into people, but it is the only option they have left. Three features we have seen stand out clear in the general conception of Macbeth.
There is his eminently practical nature, which is the key to the whole. And the absence in him of the inner life adds two special features: one is his helplessness under suspense, the other is the activity of his imagination with its susceptibility to supernatural terrors..His practical power develops as capacity for crime..his mind is as scorpions; it is tortured in restless ecstasy. Suspense has undermined his judgment and brought on him the gamblers fever..The third feature in Macbeth is the quickening of his sensitiveness to the supernatural side by side with the deadening of his conscience..In the reaction from the murder of Banquo the supernatural appearance-which no eye sees but his own-appears more real to him than the real life around him. And from this point he seeks the supernatural, forces it to disclose its terrors, and thrusts himself into an agonized vision of generations that are to witness the triumph of his foes. (Moulton 335-337) Moulton knows what he is talking about. Macbeth was heavily influenced by supernatural forces. In fact, were it not for them he might be living a happy and content life.
The witches had a profound affect on him. He soon found himself in a world where he wanted to know more and more and the weird women were the only ones who could satisfy his hunger. Macbeth went from a man who served everyone but himself to a man who served only himself. The one thing that Macbeth had that meant the most to him was his wife. Lady Macbeth is his world.
For a man who shows so much hate, gives a lot of love. They are one of the greatest pairs of lovers that ever existed. There is a spot where the reader can obviously pick up the dramatic change Macbeth went through. Seyton: The queen, my lord, is dead. Macbeth: She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word (Shakespeare, Act V, Scene V).
His wife, his love, his world had died and he did not even care. The way he just disregarded her lets the readers know that he is a changed man, and not for the better. His desire to be unstoppable and all powerful was what killed him. His ambition clouded his once clever mind to where he could not look past the apparitions prophecies. From the very first words, the tone reveals itself as drab and murky. It is thundering and lightning in the very beginning and rainstorms automatically give the readers an eerie feeling.
A.C. Bradley states Darkness, we may even say blackness, broods over this tragedy. It is remarkable that almost all the scenes which at once recur to memory take place either at night or in some dark spot. The vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo, the sleep-walking of Lady Macbeth, all come in night scenes (Bradley 266). Bradley is merely stating that the atmosphere remains uniform.
There are a few places where the dreary mood is blanketed by things that appear to be happy. When Macbeth arrives home, Lady Macbeth seems so enthusiastic to see him. She really is excited to see him, but beneath her happiness is a plot of deceit and murder. Lady Macbeth: Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men may read strange matters:-To beguile the time, look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it (Shakespeare, Act 1, Scene III). She is telling him that his face can easily be read and that he needs to act like normal, but underneath to be cunning.
This passage takes an almost cheery moment and takes it back to a world full of betrayal. Another place where gaiety is almost achieved is toward the very end of the book. Malcolm: We will perform in measure, time, and place: So thanks to all at once, and to each one, Whom we invite to see us crownd at Scone (Shakespeare, Act V, Scene VII). All seems merry, but if thought about it, the reader can easily see that trouble awaits. Malcolm has just defeated Macbeth.
However, he did not do this all on his own. He had help from England in defeating. England would not send troops in to help fight a war all for nothing. They will soon try to recapture Scotland. Therefore, the happy ending is not really going to end happily ever after.