Act I[ edit ] The play opens amidst thunder and lightning, and the Three Witches decide that their next meeting shall be with Macbeth. In the following scene, a wounded sergeant reports to King Duncan of Scotland that his generals Macbeth, who is the Thane of Glamis, and Banquo have just defeated the allied forces of Norway and Ireland, who were led by the traitorous Macdonwald, and the Thane of Cawdor. In the following scene, Macbeth and Banquo discuss the weather and their victory. As they wander onto a heath, the Three Witches enter and greet them with prophecies.
Macbeth Themes Fate From the moment the weird sisters tell Macbeth and Banquo their prophecies, both the characters and the audience are forced to wonder about fate.
Is action necessary to make it come to pass, or will the prophecy come true no matter what one does? Different characters answer these questions in different ways at different times, and the final answers are ambiguous—as fate always is.
Unlike Banquo, Macbeth acts: Macbeth tries to master fate, to make fate conform to exactly what he wants. But, of course, fate doesn't work that way.
By trying to master fate once, Macbeth puts himself in the position of having to master fate always. At every instant, he has to struggle against those parts of the witches' prophecies that don't favor him. Ultimately, Macbeth becomes so obsessed with his fate that he becomes delusional: By trying to master fate, he brings himself to ruin.
Prophecy The plot of Macbeth is set in motion ostensibly by the prophecy of the three witches. The prophecy fans the flames of ambition within Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, serving as the primary impetus for the couple to plot the death of Duncan--and subsequently Banquo.
But one also wonders: Would Macbeth have committed such heinous crimes if not for the prophecy? Such speculation, however interesting, ultimately appears futile, since the prophecy itself is self-fulfilling.
As it turns out, the prophecies are not only fated but fatal, as Macbeth's confidence in the witches leads him to fight a rash battle in the final act. Power Absolute power corrupts absolutely… unless, of course, your absolute power is a god-given right. In Shakespeare's time, the Divine Right of Kings was the idea that the power of kings comes directly from God.
Guess who was a big fan of the Divine Right of Kings? Our man Will's very own patron, James I. In Macbeth, power is natural—until it's not. When Macbeth kills Duncan, he goes against the very law of nature and God by killing his king, and then gets killed in return. According to the play, it's okay to kill King Macbeth because King Macbeth is actually a tyrant.
But who gets the power to decide what tyranny looks like? Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement.
He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, pursues her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of withstanding the repercussions of her immoral acts.
In each case, ambition—helped, of course, by the malign prophecies of the witches—is what drives the couple to ever more terrible atrocities. There are always potential threats to the throne—Banquo, Fleance, Macduff—and it is always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them.
Violence To call Macbeth a violent play is an understatement. It begins in battle, contains the murder of men, women, and children, and ends not just with a climactic siege but the suicide of Lady Macbeth and the beheading of its main character, Macbeth.
In the process of all this bloodshed, Macbeth makes an important point about the nature of violence: The violence through which Macbeth takes the throne, as Macbeth himself realizes, opens the way for others to try to take the throne for themselves through violence.
So Macbeth must commit more violence, and more violence, until violence is all he has left. As Macbeth himself says after seeing Banquo's ghost, "blood will to blood. Manhood Over and over again in Macbeth, characters discuss or debate about manhood: Lady Macbeth challenges Macbeth when he decides not to kill Duncan, Banquo refuses to join Macbeth in his plot, Lady Macduff questions Macduff's decision to go to England, and on and on.
Through these challenges, Macbeth questions and examines manhood itself. Does a true man take what he wants no matter what it is, as Lady Macbeth believes? Or does a real man have the strength to restrain his desires, as Banquo believes? All of Macbeth can be seen as a struggle to answer this question about the nature and responsibilities of manhood.
In the same manner that Lady Macbeth goads her husband on to murder, Macbeth provokes the murderers he hires to kill Banquo by questioning their manhood.For Part 4: Study of William Shakespeare: Macbeth, Through Macbeth’s perspective, the contrast of Macbeth’s guilt and Duncan’s innocence will allow the audience to recognize the play’s main theme of good and evil.
After King Duncan’s death, the meeting will emphasize the pinnacle of Macbeth’s guilt . William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a tragedy in which the plot evolves in great accordance to the guilt that the individual characters feel. The guilt starts with the planning and execution of the murder of King Duncan.
Shakespeare's characters and themes in "Macbeth" are strongly developed right from the beginning. Shakespeare uses a variety of techniques to establish his themes and characters, via the dialogue and stage directions in his play/5(2).
Compare the techniques used by Shakespeare to develop the theme of guilt in key scenes in both Macbeth and Hamlet. Guilt is defined as the remorseful awareness of having done something wrong. It was not unusual for Shakespeare to feature a lot of conflicted emotion in his plays, a favourite emotion.
In the tragedy Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the recurring theme of night and darkness is used to symbolize guilt and conscience such as when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth want the darkness to conceal their evil deeds.
Home English Plays Analysis of ‘Macbeth’, by William Shakespeare. Plays; English; Analysis of ‘Macbeth’, by William Shakespeare.
By. Facilitator It is Lady Macbeth who contrives to kill the King and put the guilt on the chamberlains on duty. The Main Theme. Lady Macbeth plans the killing of King Duncan but is shocked when.