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TOPIC: What are some of the themes in Macbeth?

What are some of the themes in Macbeth? 7 years 3 months ago #4473

  • meggil
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What are some themes in Macbeth for writing an essay?

I found a site http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/macbeth/themes.html that has some ideas but are there others :?:

cheers
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What are some of the themes in Macbeth? 7 years 3 months ago #4474

  • rusty
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Hi,

This is a play I know fairly well but my take on it can be a little different to mainstream. MacBeth is a play that over it's performance history has had several clear fashions of interpretation (The New Cambridge Shakespeare has a good account of performance history) and one recent (last 100 years) trend has been the increased focus on Lady MacBeth and her 'evilness'. I don't see this myself - try to read the text as if you have never heard of the story before. The interpretation history of this play would be a great essay topic in itself. Here are a couple themes I focused on while directing a product a few years ago.
1) The destructive side of ambition. The Witches in my production took on the role of ambition, directly ruining the lives of Banquo and MacBeth. I felt that Banquo was personally being more tempted by the images placed before him by the witches but was slower to act (his 'stars, hide your fires...' speach). MacBeth's ambition was high, but his nature was not to take a wrong step or going down a path when the ends justified the means. For ambition to be king, in the modern world substitute wealth, political/personal power and promotions and look at how these can compromise behaviours as a way of making this play relevant today.
2) The motivations of Lady MacBeth. It is easy to paint her as the cold-blooded killer but I feel this is a rather fashionable interpretation and a sterotype of stronger women that doesn't work for me. My belief is that she loves her husband dearly and understands him perhaps better than he does himself. She knows his ambition and his desire to be king but that he will balk at the step of action. She does not pursue power herself but helps her husband achieve what he wants. Immediately after the murders she wants this path to stop (about the time she learns the grooms are killed this starts) and starts to realise she underestimated the effect the murder would have on MacBeth.

Hope this helps - good luck with the essay.

Rus
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What are some of the themes in Macbeth? 7 years 3 months ago #4480

  • meggil
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Thanks Rus!

"The destructive side of ambition", and "Lady Macbeth's motives" are very good themes to wirte about. I will take them into account for possible paragraph ideas.

Could Macbeth represent Adam and Lady Macbeth Eve from looking at this play with a religious slant? Would the witches be the serpent then?

cheers
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What are some of the themes in Macbeth? 7 years 3 months ago #4481

  • rusty
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Using that framework I could view the witches as a contempory satan. They are more naughty than bad in their actions, leaving bad to the humans. They don't kill anyone, they don't even tell anyone to kill anyone. What they do is show selective snap-shots of information (futures) to two ambitious men (MacBeth & Banquo) and then leave them to their own devises. Ambition itself is not bad, while you control your actions when exercising ambition. The witches know full well their actions will create ambition that triggers the worst aspecting in the men to come forth - Hecate tells them off for this when he/she appears. The snake could work. They cause Banquo to act suspeciously enough to give MacBeth enough reason to get rid of him. They cause the fall of these once great men (using a biblical theme). I'm not sure about the Adam & Eve reference though - if you want to pursue that maybe Cain & Able could be a better take but I'm really out of my depth of these references. Not sure where Lady M comes in here but she does display some wonderful Catholic guilt!
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What are some of the themes in Macbeth? 7 years 3 months ago #4488

  • meggil
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Thank's so much, you were such a great help. I would rate your answers 10/10 ;P
lemme know if you need a hand with somthing, although I think you are much better with this sorta stuff...

cheers, meggil
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