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Analysis of the major themes and climax of Macbeth by Basmah Mahdi AL-Bogami 0879474
AmbitionThe theme of ambition in Macbeth is linked to that ofgood and evil. Like many other passions and impulses,ambition can be both foul and fair. Through Macbeth,we see that it can be fair when put to good uses, andwhen it is kept in check by one’s sense of right andwrong. But ambition is foul when it becomes sopowerful that it destroys a person’s morality.Unleashed, such ambition wreaks havoc on theindividual, and on his society.Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are driven by the ambitionfor personal status, and for power. The play is deeplyconcerned with political power: with the power of aking over his subjects, and with the good and bad usesof power. The ideal is a king who governs wisely, justly,and strongly.
Deception In Macbeth, evil frequently wears a pretty cloak. Early in the play, the three witchesdeclare that “fair is foul,” a paradox suggesting that whatever appears good is really bad. Forexample, murdering Duncan appears to be a “fair” idea to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, forMacbeth would accede to the throne. But Macbeth soon discovers that only bad has comeof their deed, and their very lives–and immortal souls–are in jeopardy. Macbeth alsoperceives the prophecies made by the “armed head” and the “bloody child” as good omens;in fact, these prophecies are deceptive wordplays that foretell Macbeth’s downfall.The theme of deception can also be found when Duncan was deceived by the Thane ofCawdor“ earlier in the play and rewarded Macbeth with his title who eventually became atraitor. Other quotations that describes this theme are the following:Look like the innocent flower,But be the serpent under ’t.Away, and mock the time with fairest show:False face must hide what the false heart doth know.To show an unfelt sorrow is an officeWhich the false man does easy.One cannot read a man’s mind in his face. Our outward appearance does not reveal ourinward thoughts/plans.
TemptationTemptation can defeat even the strongest human beings. On thebattlefield, Macbeth is a lion and a leader of men. But when thewitches tempt him by prophesying that he will become king ofScotland, he Surrendered to the lure of power. When his resolveweakens, Lady Macbeth fortifies it with strong words.
Loyalty In many of Shakespeares plays the notion of loyalty acts as a central theme. However, in many of his plays, with loyalty comes betrayal. Macbeth is no different. In this play, betrayal not only creates the power in which many characters indulge in, but also their downfalls. Betrayal is a very important part of Macbeth because it is the driving force behind all of the changes in power in the play. The earliest example of betrayal serving as a impetus in power change is in Act 1, Scene 2, when Macbeth is rewarded for his loyalty to the king while the Thane of Cawdor is stripped of his title because of his betrayal of the king.
GuiltGuilt haunts the evildoer. Whether from prick of conscienceor fear of discovery, Macbeth’s guilt begins to manifest itselfimmediately after he murders Duncan and the guards (Act II,Scene II). “This is a sorry sight” he tells Lady Macbeth.Looking at the blood on his hands Macbeth then says hethought he heard a voice saying, “Sleep no more! / Macbethdoes murder sleep”. When they hear knocking moments laterat the castle door, it is the sound of their guilt as much as thesound of the knocker, Macduff. Also lady Macbethsleepwalking and hallucination is a sign of guilt.
The Climax1)The turning point in a plot or dramatic action, especially one marking a change in the protagonists affairs.2)The turning point at which the conflict begins to resolve itself for better or worse.
There have been a great debate about the climax of Macbeth which are: Macbeth’s murder of Duncan in Act 2 represents the point of no return, after which Macbeth is forced to continue butchering his subjects to avoid the consequences of his crime. At the banquet scene, Macbeth can no longer hide his torment and guilt. He incriminates himself saying "Thou canst say I did it." From this point forward in the play, there is no hope for Macbeth. His mind and his country sink into chaos. It is obvious that he is beyond the point of recovery, and his story will end tragically. When the prophecies of the witches become true in act 5; Macbeth discover that he was deceived by the witches and left to face his death in the battle field.