Ambition Supernatural Violence Guilt Good vs. evil Betrayal
Ambition plays a key factor for the reason behind Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s decision to murder Duncan. Ever since they heard the witches’ prophecy that Macbeth will be king, a temptation had risen in Macbeth’s mind to kill Duncan and become the king as fast as he could. This is supported by the fact that when Macbeth is killing not just the king, but more people including his good friend Banquo, he does not feel greedy or sad, but just more protective for his title of king. His will to become king has overtaken him and thus he has been consumed by his ambition. The fact that there is so much temptation and will hidden inside the characters’ mind proves that one of the themes in Macbeth is Ambition.
Witchcraft is a prominent idea in Macbeth, and in fact the play begins with the three witches. The witches are technically the thing that started it all and which caused Macbeth to get over-ambitious to become king. At the start of the play, the witches predict that Macbeth will be king and they tell this to Macbeth. The whole concept starts here, when the witches predict that Macbeth would be the king and the Thane of Cawdor and minutes later one of the prophecies comes true. The whole story is revolving around the idea that the witches accurately predicted that Macbeth will be crowned king and caused Macbeth to go on the loose and start doing wrong things. Since the witches are the cause of all the things going on, it can be said that one of the main themes in Macbeth is supernatural.
Violence is the central idea in Macbeth and many characters are shown to be violent to fulfil their goal. The play begins with a war and Macbeth presents himself as a strong and loyal warrior fighting against the rebel forces. Later, to achieve his ambition, Macbeth cruelly murders Duncan and his soldiers when they are sleeping. Lady Macbeth also wants her womanly qualities gone so that she can have courage to get filled with cruelty. Violence is also used to prove the masculinity of the characters- for example Macbeth wants to kill anyone who doubts about him being the king’s murderer and Macduff wants to kill Macbeth to take revenge. The idea that violence is depicted in many of the scenes and characters in the play shows that violence is one of the main themes in Macbeth.
Although most of Macbeth is about violence and ambition, there is also another part of guilt. Guilt is felt by a few of the characters in the play, prominently being featured on Macbeth himself. Before he kills Duncan, Macbeth is almost stopped by his guilt, represented by the floating dagger, if not for his wife’s reprimands. After the murder, Macbeth also refuses to go in the room again. Another scene is when Macbeth is done murdering Banquo and is having dinner, he sees the ghost of Banquo on one of the chairs. Lady Macbeth is also full of guilt, and this is shown when she starts sleepwalking in the middle of the night and reveals everything. All this shows that Shakespeare has represented guilt in different forms in the play and thus, guilt is one of the main themes in Macbeth.
The idea of good vs. evil is clearly shown in Macbeth from the beginning. The play starts with Macbeth being very loyal and brave and fighting for his country. However, when the three witches tell him that he will be king, the evil part of his mind takes over his good part and supported by his wife, Macbeth turns completely evil. The ‘evil’ witches do not tell Macbeth to murder anyone, but because Macbeth’s evil part has taken over his conscience, he does not think of any other way except violence. Even when Macbeth wants to follow the path of good, Lady Macbeth calls him a coward and once again, evil takes over the good and Macbeth commits the murder. In the play, good and evil are always shown fighting together, and thus one of the main themes in Macbeth is good vs. evil.
Betrayal is the most obvious theme in Macbeth. Macbeth was one of the most loyal of the king’s subjects. The king is so pleased with Macbeth that he even makes him the Thane of Cawdor without a second thought. However, betrayal is shown when Macbeth goes over-ambitious and murders his own king, whom he had a blood relation with. This is a strong evidence that to Macbeth, the king was never really the most important thing. In olden days, the king was given the spot after god, but Macbeth killed his own king. Another evidence of betrayal is that Macbeth killed his own very good friend, Banquo, who otherwise would have been the last to die. All these ideas show that Macbeth only cared about himself and betrayed the closest to him, thus one of the main themes in Macbeth is betrayal.