Plays/Macbeth - Themes in Macbeth term paper 5968

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"Thunder and lightning." This is the description of the scene before Act I, Scene I, line 1. The thunder and lightning represent disturbances in nature. Most people do not think of a great day being filled with thunder and lightning. The first witch asks in line 2 about the meeting with Macbeth, "In thunder, lightning, or rain?" The meeting will also be filled with these disturbances. As well as "Hover through the fog and filthy air" line 11). The weather might personify that the witches themselves are disturbances. The bad weather could also mean that the witches are bad or foul ("filthy air") creatures.

Another disturbance in nature comes from Macbeth's mouth, "Now o'er the one half-world/ Nature seems dead" (lines 49-50). This statement might mean that nowhere he looks, the world seems dead, like there is no hope.

The witch's chorus on Act I, Scene I, line 10: Fair is foul, and foul is fair." This is a paradox as well as a prophecy, where one thing seems like another, or about how things will change through the story. It's a good grasper for the readers, being so early in the play. It makes the reader think about the line to find some meaning for themselves. As you progress through the book, it is easier to grasp a meaning of this line. The theme is a subtle theme, but no with out meaning. We refer to this theme again and again throughout the play, adding new lines to the theme, or analyzing characters and events. The first thing that Macbeth says when he enters scene three "(line 38) is, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." Maybe when the witches said "Fair is foul, and foul is fair, " during scene one, they were just referring to the condition of the day when they meet Macbeth, but I believe there was more to that.

In Act I, scene v, lines 41-42 "Come, you spirits/ That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, " Lady Macbeth wishes she were a man. She then sees man as being cruel and cold hearted. To help convince Macbeth not to call the murder off, Lady Macbeth questions his manhood. She says, "When you durst do it, then you were a man; / And to be more than what you were, you would/ Be so much more the man" (lines 49-51). The sad part is that Lady Macbeth truly does believe that Macbeth wouldn't be a man if he didn't agree to the killing. Probably the most direct example of manhood being a theme in Macbeth is Macduff at the end of Act IV. While Malcolm tells him to "dispute it like a man" (line 220), Macduff says that he must also "feel it as a man" (line 221), which changes the image of a man given above by Lady Macbeth. While she portrays men as being cruel and cold-hearted, Macduff shows that a man is cruel and cold when he needs to be, but feels just as intensely as he acts.

In Act I, scene v, as Lady Macbeth talks to Macbeth, she gives him specific instructions:

"Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue: like th' innocent flower, but be the serpent under 't."

Or in other words, put on a poker face so no one will suspect us. Throughout the play, many characters put on masks to hide their true nature, thoughts, or feelings. In Act III, scene I, Banquo sees through Macbeth's masks and puts on his own. He almost knows that Macbeth is the murderer, but he hides his suspicions while he talks to him. The masks aren't always limited to uses of evil.

Much of this play is filled with struggle between light and darkness. The light in the first two acts is King Duncan, but the struggle went in favor of darkness because he was later murdered. Also, in Act V, Scene vii, Macduff enters and says, "If thou [Macbeth] be'st slain and with no stroke of mine, /My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still" (lines 15-16). Macduff can't rest until he gets revenge on the killer of his family, something Malcolm and Fleance (whose family was also killed by Macbeth) didn't say.

Macduff is the hero of the play. He is the light that will soon come to a final battle with the dark (Macbeth). There could also be religious meaning to this being God against the devil, Macbeth being the devil (remember how he couldn't say "Amen" in Act II after Duncan we murdered?). It is an epic battle of good vs. evil.

I've had mixed feelings about this play. At first I didn't really care for it too much because I found it hard to read and comprehend, but when we would go over it in class I understood it better. I think you should continue to have your future classes read Macbeth and complete this assignment. I have a better understanding now that I did this paper than I did after we went over the whole story. I think because I had to look up a lot of things and quotes in order to get my information straight to complete this paper.


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