Macbeth Analysis Of The Play Essay Year 10 Essay

1292 words - 6 pages

Shakespeare’s MacBeth is one of his shortest plays, yet it possesses perhaps the most potent
meaning of all. “O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman” is a quote said by Duncan, the former King of
Scotland upon hearing of MacBeth’s (the eponymic character of the play) success in the first battle.
From this point he becomes blinded by other characters and is trapped in a life that he may not
have wanted. The main characters responsible for this are the witches, his wife, Lady MacBeth,
and Hecate, Queen of fate.
It is often argued that fate is what causes MacBeth to murder Duncan. MacBeth didn't really want
the life he was given and he often expresses this towards the end of the play. At MacBeth’s nadir,
he makes the famous “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy. The use of “and” here
extends the scansion of the phrase and makes it almost so tiring and boring you physically feel the
strain. He expresses his deep existentialism and tells the audience that life for him has no
meaning. After the death of his wife, who he barely lived for anymore, he really has nothing and
every day comes for no reason. This soliloquy shows MacBeth’s dark emotions and points to the
fact he doesn't want the life he lives. To prove that he didn’t really want this life in the first place we
must examine some scenes from before the murder. Right before the murder, Lady MacBeth asks
MacBeth when Duncan plans on leaving. He replies “tomorrow, as he purposes.” Depending on the
tone of this quote, it could be taken in two different ways. The first is in a bland tone, just stating
the fact that he plans to leave tomorrow. The other is much more sinister and it could be taken in
the way that he may plan to leave tomorrow, but he wont really because MacBeth plans on
murdering him. When the thoughts of murdering Duncan first come into MacBeth’s mind, he also
equivocates to his real desires. When the Witches tell him of the prophecy he says “Cannot be
good, cannot be ill… my thought, who's order yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of
man that function is smother’d in my surmise and nothing is but what is not.” MacBeth’s lines here
have a sickening see-saw rhythm as he flips back and forth as to whether he desires to kill Duncan
or not. He acknowledges his fear of killing him but also acknowledges all the great things that
come with being king. Again, the ambiguous nature of MacBeth’s true intentions don’t provide hard
evidence of wether he wanted the life of King or not. So, because he talks about not wanting the
life after the murder, we have to naturally sway to that side. If MacBeth didn’t want the life he was
given, than Hecate who plans all fate must be to blame.
On the idea of Hecate, it is natural to also examine the witches. The witches are the ones who first
plant the ideas of murdering Duncan into his head. In the play, the witches are referred to as the
“weird sisters” several times. Just before MacBeth comes, they refer to themselves in the same

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