The Use Of Themes And Motifs In Macbeth

1011 words - 4 pages

Despite the fact that Macbeth was written a few hundred years ago, many of the themes and motifs used in the play are still considered effective literary devices in today’s world. Shakespeare uses his themes and motifs very effectively. First, Macbeth uses the theme of sleep very effectively in many scenes of the play. Second, Shakespeare uses the clothing and garden motifs, which are two very powerful motifs to reinforce our visualization and understanding of parts of the play. Lastly, the main theme of the play, “fair is foul and foul is fair” is seen constantly throughout the play. These themes and motifs all contribute to the effectiveness of Shakespeare’s writing.
During the play, sleep is a reoccurring theme of the play. In the play, sleep is referred to as death’s counterfeit because of the similarity in appearance of when a person is sleeping and when they are dead. Shakespeare uses this theme to reinforce many speeches of characters in the play. Such as when just after Macduff discovers King Duncan is dead, he tells the surrounding people to “shake off their downy sleep, death’s counterfeit”. As well, when Macbeth murders King Duncan, he “murders” his own sleep because from then on he would not be able to sleep because of hallucinations in his mind of his murders. And, along with “murdering” his own sleep, he does so to the sleep of others, in particular, his wife Lady Macbeth. At the end of the play, Lady Macbeth starts to go crazy and is sleepwalking while unconscious of her actions. It may look like Lady Macbeth is receiving both the benefit of sleep and completing tasks that would require one to be awake, but in reality she isn’t sleeping at all and slowly deteriorates to the point of when she commits suicide. Macbeth has indeed murdered sleep.
Besides the themes Shakespeare uses effectively in Macbeth, he also uses many motifs. The motifs in the play help us to better visualize or understand the situation a character is in or the intentions of characters. Two such motifs are the garden and clothing motifs used in the play. The clothing motif will be discussed in the next paragraph.
The clothing motif in the play is used mainly by Macbeth. For instance, when the witches prophesize that Macbeth will become the Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland, he tells them not to give him borrowed robes form other people while they are still alive and well when in the end he will have to return them. Macbeth means that how can he obtain those titles while the current holders of those titles are still alive and well, and even if he gets their titles, they might be taken back from him at any time.
The second motif that will be discussed is the garden motif Shakespeare uses throughout the play. First when the wounded sergeant tells Duncan the news of the battle, he compares Macbeth, Banquo and the Scottish forces to the flowers of a garden and the evil rebel Macdonwald and the...

Find Another Essay On The Use of Themes and Motifs in Macbeth

Themes, Motifs and Symbols in A Midsummer Night's Dream

1357 words - 5 pages Throughout the play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written by William Shakespeare, are several themes, motifs, and symbols. Dreams are a reoccurring theme. Dreams are connected to the unexplainable and mysterious events, occurring in the woods. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” can be compared to “The Tempest”, also written by Shakespeare, because it contains the same theme of dreams- “That, if I then had waked after long

The Motifs of Furniture and Yoke in George Eliot's Middlemarch

1586 words - 6 pages The Motifs of Furniture and Yoke in George Eliot's Middlemarch "'You have not made my life pleasant to me of late'-'the hardships which our marriage has brought on me'-these words were stinging his imagination as a pain makes an exaggerated dream (667)." On the list of life's complexities, marriage, perhaps, reigns at the top. George Eliot's Middlemarch exhumes many of the complicated facets of marriage from a Victorian England milieu

Macbeth- themes in the play

660 words - 3 pages , Macduff- and it's always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them.The Relationship Between Cruelty and MasculinityCharacters in Macbeth frequently dwell on issues of gender. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband by questioning his manhood, wishes that she herself could be "unsexed", and does not contradict Macbeth when he says that a woman like her should give birth to only boys. In the same manner that Lady Macbeth goads her husband on to

Use of the Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth

651 words - 3 pages Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth In Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare uses an underlying motif of the supernatural to control the characters and add a new dimension to the play. Shakespeare uses a large motif of light vs. darkness throughout the play to present moral choices and religious ideas. When the play opens, there is thunder rolling around and the witches on stage. The thunder is symbolic of darkness and

Shakespeare's Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

8038 words - 32 pages Shakespeare's Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth The supernatural is widely used in Macbeth, and covers major sections of it. It is used to generate interest, and to provoke thought and controversy. At the time the play was written, James the 1st was the English monarch. James the 1st was originally James the 4th on the Scottish throne, until there was a union of crowns between England and Scotland in the late

Shakespeare's Use of the Supernatural in "Macbeth"

1113 words - 4 pages life and unexplainable. The play Macbeth involves many supernatural actions that act as a catalyst for suspense and thrill, insight into character, foreshadowing of future events as well as making connections with the theme. In the opening scene of the play, the entrance of the three witches depicts the first presence of supernatural in Macbeth. The presence of the supernatural forces of the witches was accompanied by the dark, gloomy and

Motifs of Revenge and Procrastination in Hamlet

637 words - 3 pages In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the playwright uses the motifs of revenge and procrastination, to demonstrate that both of these motifs will always bring corruption and harm to those that make use of them. Revenge is a concept introduced into the play from the very start when the Ghost appears and speaks with Hamlet. Immediately after the Ghost of his father tells him to seek vengeance, Hamlet quickly becomes charged with anger and exclaims

The Use Animals to Show the Main Themes in Of Mice and Men

1273 words - 5 pages How does Steinbeck use animals to show the main themes in Of Mice and Men? This story is about two men (George and Lennie) and their desperate hope in that they will raise enough money so that they can purchase a plot of land and “live of the fatta the land”. In this essay I will discuss how Steinbeck uses animals to show the themes of, friendship/loneliness, anger/violence, cruelty/kindness and dreams. The main points that I will be

Madame Bovary- Gustave Flaubert: Four page paper on themes, symbols, and motifs found in Madame Bovary.

1373 words - 5 pages Dried BouquetsWhen Emma came home with Charles, she noticed his dead wife's wedding bouquet in the bedroom and wondered what would happen to her own bouquet when she died. Later, when they moved to Yonville, she burned her own bouquet as a gesture of defiance against her unhappy marriage.The dried bouquet stands for hopes that ended in disappointment, and for the new promise of a wedding day turned sour and old. Emma's burning of her bouquet

Discuss the main themes examined in Macbeth.

1013 words - 4 pages Untitled Stage 1: English Communications Macbeth Text Response Discuss the main themes examined in Macbeth. Macbeth written by Shakespeare clearly presents many themes in different ways. Macbeth is a tragedy, and many of the themes of the play are dark and sinister. The main theme that is focused on in Macbeth is the themes of ambition, appearances often hide reality and the theme of hypocrisy. These themes can mainly be seen

The Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald - An analysis of characters, as well as themes, tones, motifs, etc.

1696 words - 7 pages Author- Born in St. Paul Minnesota, Fitzgerald was born to a wealthy family that both admired and revered their successful ancestry. A failure at Princeton, he would go on to write numerous novels and short stores that both illustrated and reflected the people of his era; the Jazz age. In spite of his accomplishments, he would die of a heart attack mid-way through his last novel The Love of the Last Tycoon thinking of himself as a

Similar Essays

Recurring Motifs And Themes: "Macbeth" Essay

1907 words - 8 pages says, "Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er." (3.4.138-139) He has decided it would be just as easy to keep killing and murdering as it would to repent and turn back. It is also noteworthy that the more evil Macbeth gets, the more lines the witches have in each Act.* Conflict and Opposition. Other themes include illusion vs. reality, as evinced in Macbeth's visions and the optical illusion of the

Frankenstein By Mary Shelley An Analysis Of Some Of The Themes And Motifs In Shelley's Novel

876 words - 4 pages Adham KarimAlienation & Isolation in FrankensteinMary Shelley develops the theme of alienation and isolation and its consequent increase of hostility through various characters throughout her novel Frankenstein. The theme may have originated from various elements, including Mary Shelley's father, William Godwin, who felt that the isolated individual would become vicious. This idea was shared by Shelley and manifested in the characters

Themes, Motifs And Symbols Essay

1637 words - 7 pages Themes, Motifs and Symbols Arthur Miller was called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee to name names of communist sympathizers in 1956, the height of the McCarthy Era. Miller refused to do so and was heralded by the arts community for his strength of conviction and loyalty. In 1957, Miller was charged with contempt, a ruling later reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Miller, like Eddie

A Raisin In The Sun, Analyzes The Themes And Motifs In The Book

1008 words - 4 pages Themes and MotifsA Raisin in the Sun is essentially about dreams, as the main characters struggle to deal with the oppressive circumstances that rule their lives. The title of the play references a conjecture that Langston Hughes famously posed in a poem he wrote about dreams that were forgotten or put off. He wonders whether those dreams shrivel up "like a raisin in the sun." Every member of the Younger family has a separate, individual dream