Clothing In Shakespeare's The Tragedy Of Macbeth

1172 words - 5 pages

In Macbeth ambition and power are two great themes. The main characters try to overcome their social hierarchy and gain authority. The will to obtain power is strong and as the character try to become more than they are, they are ultimately revealed by their clothing. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth will come to realize how their clothes have unmasked them, and will try and dress to deceive. However, they can never fool themselves fully and will end up consumed by their attempts to do so. I state that while their garments may represent their true position, changing them cannot stop the force of faith.
First of all, in the initiation of the play we get a first example of how clothing uncovers who and what you are. When Banquo meets the witches he utters “What are these So withered, and so wild in their attire, That look not like th´inhabitants o´th´earth, and yet are on´t” (1.3.40). Although these witches have the physical form of women their clothing reveals that it may not be right. Their appearance is so strange that it makes Banquo question their existence and intentions. Since they are not real women, their prophesies should not be trusted. A false attire could equal a false heart. Moreover, Macbeth’s appearance unveils his true personality, a character that is in the beginning not driven by ambition, but of conscience and thought. A weakness Lady Macbeth willingly draws attention as she endeavor to encourage him into murdering Duncan “ Was the hope drunk Wherin you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since? And wakes it now to look so green and pale At what it did so freely?” (1.7.35). Macbeth is indeed not eager to conquer the throne, but frightened over his own thoughts and possible acts. Even as Macbeth succeeds with the murder, his heart remains weak in Lady Macbeths opinion “My hands are of your color but I shame To wear a heart so white . . . Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us“(2.3.65). Here we also see the first inclination to cover yourself with garments “get on your nightgown”, meaning, show not what you have done, but conceal your deeds and continue as nothing happened.
However well you may hide your deed, clothing will expose your true classification. When displaced from your original social status, whatever you may dress yourself it, it is bound to look wrong. Before Macbeth´s head is consumed by the thought of power, he recognizes this himself “The Thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me In borrowed robes?” (1.3.105). He later have to face the consequence of his newly acquired power as his life starts spinning out of control. The oddness of his clothes and his disability to handle power will become clear to more than him “Now does he not feel his title Hang loose upon him, like a giant´s robe upon a dwarfish thief “(5.3.20).
Consequently, with misfit clothes it follows naturally to make them suit. Have you committed sin, it is best covered. Lady Macbeth urges her husband “Come on, Gentle my lord, sleek o´er your...

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