Monday, July 22, 2019
The ways in which the character of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are revealed through the time Essay Example for Free
The ways in which the character of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are revealed through the time Essay Describe and illustrate the ways in which the character of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are revealed from the time that Lady Macbeth receives her husbands letter in Act I, up to the murder of Duncan, paying attention to the differences between them. Critics have often referred to the character of Macbeth in the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, as a tragic hero and a man who is, except for his ambition, noble in nature. This noble nature is brought out in his moral sense of duties and loyalty to the king. The audience/reader learns of his brave and valiant position as a soldier, particularly valuable on the battlefield from the beginning, and his nobility enables him to resist his murderous thoughts and leave what will be to fate. On the other hand, Lady Macbeth scorns this aspect of her husbands nature for she sees his human kindness as a weakness (which makes him less manly) and even fears this characteristic of his, because she is concerned that he will not be man enough to perform the deed of killing a good, kind and respected King. Therefore, with this section of the play, what constitutes a man and woman differs from Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Also, the reader must take into consideration that the Elizabethans believed that to kill a king, especially a greatly praised one, was the most evil crime that could ever be committed, for the king was said to be Gods representative on Earth, hence this horrid deed would be seen as a crime against general good and heaven. Lady Macbeth does not seem to be associated with this theory for she has a willingness to commit evil. This aspect of her character is particularly evident after she has read her husbands letter, when she cries unsex me here declares that she wants to loose all her femininity and calls upon the evil spirits to make thick my blood with direst cruelty. This deals with the theme in the beginning of the play of the roles of both sexes, because women, in the Elizabethan times, were sees as, or supposed to be, pure and innocent, which makes Lady Macbeths character unique. Also, the language that Shakespeare uses here emphasizes how Lady Macbeth lacks in morality compared to Macbeth. Words such as blood, demonstrates her scheming wickedness, but also how she would willingly sacrifice her own soul to the devil in the dunnest smoke of hell (for during the Shakespearian time, heaven and hell were very prominent in peoples beliefs). In fact, the way that Lady Macbeth calls upon the evil spirits shows a sense of power and control, whereas Macbeth is, to some extent, more susceptible to the evil spirits and how he is easily influenced and impressionable of them. What is very interesting to notice is how Shakespeare subtly links Lady Macbeths and Macbeths attitude to the witches and the evil spirits. From the first meeting with the witches, Macbeth is instantly affected by them, as commented upon by Banquo: Why do you start, and seem to fear This gives the audience a sort of clue to Macbeths susceptibility to the supernatural, as reiterated in his letter to his wife when he declares that he stood rapt in the wonder of it. The letter is relevant, because it is key to what Macbeth was thinking during his encounter with the witches and provides extra information to the audience of what he felt at that time. Also, the word rapt emphasizes how Macbeth feels as though he is surrounded now by the prophesies and the audience knows as the play proceeds, Macbeth relies more and more on the fallibility of the witches and the prophesy of his kingship and how that is all that he thinks about. This certain susceptibility is particularly noticeable, when he is hallucinating of the fatal vision of the dagger, which portrays how much the supernatural occupies his mind. He had already begun the path of destruction and self destruction, when he uttered the word murder, and it is upon this meeting with witchcraft that this idea entered his mind. Macbeth allows the witches to influence his thoughts and actions, and this demonstrates his moral weakness. Therefore, Macbeth is rather superstitious regarding his attitude towards the prophesies (which reflects the purpose of the play, because King James I was extremely interested in the subject) and can be easily wavered by the witches, as opposed to Lady Macbeths uncompromising will, and, unlike her husband, the idea of murder remains fixed in her mind. She is not necessarily influenced by anything once it is there, she is determined to make it happen rather than leave it to fate. In fact, it can be argued that once Lady Macbeth has read the letter from Macbeth, and hence the idea of murder, the evil in her subconscious has been brought forth. She perceives the witches in a rather lighter hearted manner than her husband for she believes in giving fate and metaphysical aid a helping hand in order to have thee crownd withal. Perhaps it could be considered that the animal imagery, which Shakespeare often uses in Lady Macbeths speech, such as the raven and the serpent shows how Lady Macbeth would more likely disturb fate and bring about natures mischief, than her husband, for in Shakespeares plays, animals were used, because they disturb fate and therefore are often quite symbolic within the plot. The two Macbeths reactions to the murder are also very contrasting from each other and this contrast in significant to their character analysis. Macbeth realizes the enormity of this offence immediately. this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red. Macbeth is aware that no matter how much he washes his hands from Duncans murder, the sin will never be cleansed. This fits in with the religious aspect of the play, because there is a lot of emphasis on good versus evil and the washing away his sins is an example of this. Also, due to his vaulting ambition, he is filled with remorse, and left with guilt conscience knowing that he will sleep no more. The language that Shakespeare presents is particularly important for it shows how much it has wounded Macbeths conscience, for such hyperboles as multitudinous and incarnadine impress the audience for they sound magnificently cast and thus portray how much this ill affect the once valiant Macbeth. The way that Shakespeare follows this with short simpler words also adds emphasis on the previous Latin expressions. Another insight into how Macbeth feels about the murder is when he tells Lady Macbeth about how he could not say Amen after Donalbain and his wife say their prayers. This again torments Macbeth as he struggles with the strain of his conscience and it is this spiritual conflict in the inner character that is Macbeths tragedy. In fact, it is his conscience that Shakespeare enables the audience to relate with, and the fact that Macbeth knows that he has performed wrong and the audience is aware that he once was, adds to their sympathy for him throughout the play. However, Lady Macbeth fails to appreciate what murder means, its consequences, the severances of it and does not posses such conscience as her husband. This can be seen in how after Duncans murder, Macbeth uses more flowery language, whereas Lady Macbeths language is a lot more straight forward and practical, which fits in with theme of the sexes and how Shakespeare stresses that their roles have changed. Macbeth: Balm of hurt minds, great natures second course, chief nourisher in lifes feast. Lady Macbeth: You do unbend your noble strength, to think so brainsickly of things. The main difference between their speech in this section of the play (Act 2, Scene 2) is how Shakespeare makes Macbeths language have more imagery, personification and metaphors, contrasting to Lady Macbeths, which is practical and straightforward, reflecting her lack of guilt. The play Macbeth is not only unique to other Shakespeares works, but also in the Elizabethan period. What characterizes the plays uniqueness is how the supposed villain is also the protagonist of the play as well. The two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are actually the antagonist, but also the centre. Therefore, Macbeth is a play that harbours sympathy for evilness unlike any other, in a way, almost justifying it. This is also very effective of the part of Shakespeare, because it makes the plot more complex, interesting and mind-boggling than any other traditional play or story where it is the main characters representing good and fighting the evil. In this theatrical piece, it is the main characters that are the ones fighting and coping with the inner evil within themselves.