Macbeth Essays

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Macbeth Essays: Writing

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Macbeth Essays: Excerpt

Shakespeare's play “Macbeth” is widely known and appreciated by millions of readers worldwide. It is another masterpiece by Shakespeare, which was written in 1605-1606; unfortunately exact date is unknown as they are not too many facts known about William Shakespeare and his life. Only Shakespeare's works remained an eternal memory about one of the most talented writers, who have ever lived on the Earth.  Shakespeare is the author of 36 plays, including the most famous ones “Hamlet”, “King Lear”, “Othello”, “Macbeth”, “Antony and Cleopatra” and others, 154 sonnets and 2 narrative poems.

Shakespeare wrote “Macbeth” during his so-called “Tragic Period”, along with his other three famous plays, to describe the tragic fate of Scottish noble Macbeth who dared to kill so many people in order to become the King of Scotland, in order to preserve his title and to give it to his descendants by the right of succession. The entire play is covered with magic and psychological strain of Macbeth and his wife - accessory in all of his criminal deeds. “Macbeth” is considered to be a tragedy as the main hero of it dies in the end of the play.  However, it is a matter, which will be discussed further in the study.

Being one of the four greatest tragedies “Macbeth” possesses in its plot an unusual element - the presence of supernatural creatures and effects, such as Three Witches, ghost of Banquo and the Three Apparitions. All events in the play take place in a gloomy dark atmosphere of the night, making them even more ominous. 

Having heard the prophecy of the Three Witches Macbeth could not at first figure out how he can become a thane of Cawdor and the King of Scotland. “The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me in borrow'd robes?”, says Macbeth to his friend Banquo, who also heard the prophecy. Three Witches told to Macbeth and Banquo a very controversial prophecy, according to which Macbeth would be a king, but Banquo's children would inherit the throne. It is evident that neither of them would have believed the prophecy if Macbeth wasn't appointed to be a Thane of Cawdor soon after, as the previous thane of Cawdor named Macdonwald, who betrayed the king, was killed in the battle. So, equivocal thoughts came to the mind of Macbeth, who expressed them in a letter to his wife Lady Macbeth. Deep inside his soul, Macbeth very much wanted to become the King; however, he did not dare to kill Duncan until his faithful wife convinced him to. Macbeth was at first against the idea of killing the King, stating: “We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of peoples”.

Lady Macbeth won the argument and her husband agreed to kill the King. Right before the murder Macbeth had an unreal vision of a dagger, the tool which he would use later to kill sleeping Duncan. Dagger is the first sign of Macbeth's future mental disorder as a result of future murders. As the author of the book “Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth”. Bradley, A. C. masterly noticed that Macbeth's imagination “is thus the best of him, something usually deeper and higher than his conscious thoughts; and if he had obeyed it he would have been safe”. Indeed, Macbeth's unreal visions or hallucinations have a secret meaning, which he tries to see, but his wife rejects his ideas and considers such visions “the creations of mere nervous fear, and are sometimes referred by himself to the dread of vengeance or the restlessness of insecurity”. Macbeth does not fear possible consequences of the murder, but he fears the fact that he should commit a murder, which gives the readers an idea that at least he used to have certain moral values before killing a man for the first time. Macbeth's conscience revolts, which can be seen from the hallucinations he experiences. These hallucinations are not a result of fear, but a result of guilty conscience, a result of biting feeling of guilt for what he has already done. Macbeth did not care much about hiding the evidences of the murder, because “it is not he who thinks of washing his hands or getting his nightgown on”.

Thus, it is possible to state that Lady Macbeth is the centre of planning the murder, at least at the beginning, and Macbeth is the one who fulfils hew wishes. She appears to be a very cold-blooded woman. When her husband hears “Cawdor shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more”, instead, his wife only hears the sound of screaming owls and the cry of crickets. She is surely right that there were not any human screams, but she does not understand why Macbeth heard such sounds.