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Elements Of Darkness In Macbeth By Shakespeare

971 words - 4 pages

Elements of Darkness in Macbeth by Shakespeare

William Shakespeare's Macbeth is a play of darkness. Throughout the play, three things in particular play a part in setting this stage, so to speak, of darkness. These three things are characters, theme and mood. Each has its own part in setting up the darkness. The characters (the title character in particular) are dark in their actions, the theme is dark in its subject matter, and the mood is dark in its essence.

Macbeth in particular, is very dark in his actions. To prove this, we will look at the beginning of the play. In act 1, scene 3, the witches, who met Macbeth on a dark heath, gave him some truths and some lies - "All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane/ of Glamis!", "All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane/ of Cawdor!", "All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!" (I, iii, 49-53). The witches in their evil way prompted Macbeth's ambition to be king. They planted the thought that he could be king if Duncan died.
... My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man
That function is smothered in surmise
And nothing is, but what is not. (I, iii, 151-154)

Once Duncan is killed, Macbeth can't stop. He must kill everyone and anyone who stands in his way. He even kills Banquo and Macduff's family. (News of Banquo) "My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him." (III, iv, 18) (News of Macduff's family) "Your castle is surprised, you wife and babes/ Savagely slaughtered." (IV, iii, 233-236) He then thinks that he is invisible because the witches told him "...The power of man, for none of woman born/ Shall harm Macbeth" (IV, i, 88-89) and " Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill/ Shall come against him." (IV, i, 101-103) But then at the end of the play Macbeth gets what's coming to him and they actually do kill him - "He's worth no more. / They say he parted well and paid his score, / And so God be with him! Here comes newer comfort." (V, viii, 61-63).

The theme of Macbeth is very dark in its subject matter. The main theme throughout the whole play is death, death, and more death. First, as said above, we have Macbeth killing Duncan because the witches told him that he would be king - "I have done the deed. / Didst thou not hear a noise?" (II, ii, 17-18) Then, later on, we have the murder of Banquo - "O, treachery! / Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! / Thou mayst revenge. O slave!" (III, iii, 25-27) Next, we have the murder of Macduff's son -- "He has killed me, Mother. / Run away, I pray you!" (IV, ii, 97-98),...

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