Macbeth Is His Own Devastation English Literature Essay

The Shakespearean play, "Macbeth", is set in the 11th century in Scotland and therefore prior to the "United Kingdom". I assume that the statement "Macbeth by themselves is the architect of his own damage" is only partially true because while I do think that the lead character, Macbeth, is an extremely ambitious and finally a significant ruthless person capable of a vicious and sinister act, he needs the encouragement and the affect of others, notably the three witches and his better half, who are complicit in transforming Macbeth in to the tyrant he becomes and certainly his wife is the leader in the storyline to handle the first work of despicable treachery and brutal murder. The play is quite a dark storyline of ambition and greed played out against a history of the supernatural, although, I really do think that this aspect can be open to interpretation, as I will discuss later.

The play starts with a very brief launch to the three witches who are plotting, "when will we three meet again, in thunder, lightning or rainwater?" with the plan to meet again after the fight; "upon the heath, there to meet Macbeth". We live therefore alerted to the actual fact that Macbeth's destiny is tangled up with the witches, once and for all or bad, and from the beginning demonstrates that he is not acting exclusively. The action steps onto the battlefield, with King Duncan being advised about the battle that has just occurred and the warfare lords explaining Macbeth's performance on the battlefield and being lauded as a genuine conflict hero, "For courageous Macbeth - well he deserves that name" -Sergeant; "O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!" - (Duncan) and defeater of the rebel MacDonald. With this estimate, Duncan, the Ruler of Scotland, says the audience how highly he believes of Macbeth and therefore how exactly we the audience should expect Macbeth to live up to his brave and "worthy" commendation from the Ruler. To verify this, within the first handful of lines, the Ruler is bestowing the name of "Thane of Cawdor" on Macbeth in his lack. At this early point in the play, Macbeth's persona has the capacity to remain a hero and a dedicated subject matter of the Ruler, but not King, or follow the witches' prophecies and ruthlessly aim to be not only Thane of Cawdor, which the King has right now granted him, but also to check out a ruthlessly ambitious path to become Ruler, by assassinating Duncan. At this point in the play, the audience are uncertain as to whether Macbeth is actually a hero, as described by Sergeant and Duncan, or if he's actually in category with the witches and can follow the path of bad by satisfying their prophecies. Similarly, to point out the treachery so when the first themed figure explanation, Duncan is portrayed in a very noble light and so if Macbeth were to murder him, it makes the act all the more treacherous and undeserved. This is also the case for Banquo, Macbeth's longstanding good friend and partner in battle, he's a good and trusting friend of Macbeth, inclined to talk about confidences ("I dreamt last night of the three unusual sisters", Banquo looks for to start a debate about the witches) to which Macbeth replies by resting and says that he hasn't thought of the witches; Banquo is also portrayed as a good and caring father and so when he's murdered, again the audience recognizes this as a tragic murder. As the action moves on with Macbeth and Banquo, sheltering from the rain in a small cave in the otherwise deserted Scottish countryside, both soldiers experience three witches, "the strange sisters", who greet Macbeth as "Thane of Glamis", "Thane of Cawdor", "All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter", and Banquo as "Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none". The language and tone utilized by the witches is (in hindsight) mocking as they greet Macbeth as though he's their superior ("All Hail") but Macbeth views this as them being reverential to him; this changes when Macbeth is not around and the witches are in reality quite mocking of him - "By pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes". The terminology that Macbeth uses when dealing with the witches is very dismissive as though he feels they are beneath him and actually that they disgust him ("Stay you imperfect speakers", "How now, you secret, black and midnight hags!"). Macbeth is shown to be very enthusiastic about the witches' prophecies but Banquo will try to make light of the experience and makes an attempt to make Macbeth treat the knowledge less seriously through remarkable irony, "and quite often, to get us to our harm, the devices of darkness tell us truths, get us with genuine trifles, to betray's in deepest self-confidence". I believe Macbeth needs the witches' prophecies to move him on from being just a little jealous of Duncan's child Malcolm, the Prince of Cumberland, being nominated as his father's true heir, to not only plot the murder of Duncan but actually committing the action. The attack of good versus evil, particularly as applied to Macbeth's conscience, is an on-going theme from this early stage in the play ("This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, can't be good; if unwell, why hath it given me earnest of success, commencing in a real truthif good, why do I yield compared to that recommendation whose horrid image doth unfix my locks and make my unseated heart and soul knock at my ribs"). In fact, this soliloquy implies that Macbeth is confused about what he is considering and is also the first hint we have of Macbeth's potentially dark side. We also understand by the imagery used, that is by making his scalp stand on end and having his pulse almost out of his breasts, that Macbeth is deeply uncomfortable about even pondering such dark thoughts; we also believe that Macbeth is repulsed by his thoughts "The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step on which I must fall down, if not o'er-leap, for in my own way it is placed. Stars conceal your fires! Let not light see my dark and deep desires; the attention wink at the palm; yet let that be which the eye fears, when it is done, to see". This price reinforces the actual fact that Macbeth's internal turmoil of good versus bad is being triumphed in over by the bad aspect and soon Macbeth is embroiled in desperately seeking to plot a means of removing Malcolm as Duncan's heir; Macbeth believes that he must become much more devious and in little league with the dark pushes to make this happen. There's a ingenious use of imagery here ("the attention wink at the hand") since it is a foretaste of what Macbeth and his partner are like in their treatment of Duncan when he stays on at their home; they are very hospitable and welcoming on the top but absolutely treacherous in their actions. This is most likely the point in the play when Macbeth is on the cusp of leading a good and simply life and staying a trusted soldier in Duncan's command word or choosing to help make the witches prophecies come true by considering the removal of Malcolm with the purpose of becoming Duncan's heir. The witches already have an extremely small but significant part in the play and their role can be interpreted in different ways. They could be seen as having true magical and supernatural forces, which in the 17th century, would have been seen as believable and actually quite terrifying for the followers of the Jacobean period; in this manner, there would become more appeal for Macbeth to be seen to be powerless in the grip of dark pushes of witchcraft or even regarded as a plaything of the witches, similar to the tales the witches were talking about at the start of the play about a poor sailor that they played with because his wife had annoyed one of these - "I'll drain him dried as hay: suspend upon his pent-house lid; he shall live a man forbid. Weary sev'n nights nine times nine shall he dwindle, maximum and pine". However, yet another way of looking at this is the fact Macbeth either imagined the prophecies or made far more out of these because this appropriate his purposes in the way that many rulers throughout time have used either "God's will" for their own gain (for example Henry VIII justified the many evil acts that he had completed under the explanation that God would have wanted that, even though difference with Macbeth is the fact he is being led by evil pushes, not God's will) or many other rulers talking to soothsayers and fortune-tellers to justify either serves of battle or other "difficult" decisions; A final way of taking a look at the prophecies are that the witches were actually alert Macbeth (or at least offering him the chance to decide his fate) that if he'd only maintain trouble from a person who was not blessed of woman, "for none of them of woman blessed shall harm Macbeth" or "Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him" and rather than Macbeth choosing to see that would make him invincible, he could or should have thought that these were signs that he should be shopping for. This sort of wordplay or fake guarantees are known as equivocations and shown by the witches revealing to Macbeth the prophecies in a certain way to deliberately mislead and manipulate him without actually sharing with lies. Some of the set-up of the witches allowing Macbeth to choose his future is what makes the play a tragedy - Macbeth is at first viewed as a good man, indeed a hero, but is permitted to choose a course of good and righteous behaviour or follow a highway of greed, deceit and murder. If Macbeth was released as an evil identity from the outset, we, the audience would be cheering when he meets his comeuppance; however, our company is left feeling sorry for Macbeth and even for his better half because they are left with nothing, not even each other. After all, Woman Macbeth is portrayed as being cold, calculating and with the capacity of a heinous murder but in doing so, she actually is also portrayed being the ultimate supportive and adoring partner - the audience is remaining with the judgment that there would be nothing she wouldn't do to further her husband's profession : "Everything that impedes thee from the gold round, which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to get thee crown'd withal", which underlines her persistence to use any force, deep or elsewhere, to ensure that Macbeth achieves the glory that he deserves. While there are many other stories which have this kind of "selling your spirit to the devil" kind of plot, an interesting modern version of this is the film "Devil's Advocate" where Al Pacino performs the Devil and allows a attorney (Keanu Reeves) the chance to "own it all" so when Reeves finally determines not to accept the Devil's "deal", Pacino restarts the film with another "offer he can't refuse" - it might be an interesting debate to see if the witches could have offered "fall back temptations" for Macbeth if he previously resisted the first "prophecies" and then play could be considered to be about whether any mortal can struggle their fate, rather than the battle of "good against evil"; again this adds to the debate of Macbeth being powerless in his fate or destruction.

As Macbeth and Banquo meet the King and the other Thanes and Lords of the Scottish Royal Court docket, Macbeth is officially granted the name of Thane of Cawdor and he immediately thinks back to the witches' prophecies and will try not to discuss it with Banquo whom he recognizes as not taking him critically. He immediately creates to his wife, Female Macbeth (whom he naturally is in love with dearly and trusts) with the full story, "This I have thought good to deliver to thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightest not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee". When Lady Macbeth gets the letter in the play, her head is set alight with plotting and planning the means of making her spouse King, although she actually is very aware of his softer part, "Yet I really do fear thy mother nature; it is too full o' the dairy of human being kindness". Woman Macbeth talks of her hubby in a caring way and shows that she thinks he is a really good and reasonable person (which reinforces for the audience that Macbeth is actually a good personality and will struggle with his conscience over something as treacherous). However, by demonstrating what a good person Macbeth is, Girl Macbeth shows that Macbeth is not the sole architect of his own damage as it would be quite hard to see him even considering through, much less carrying out, the murder and cover-up of the murder of Duncan without her help and insistence. Actually, Macbeth had only considered eliminating Malcolm, Duncan's son, and therefore becoming Duncan's heir, before talking with Girl Macbeth. She however is quite ruthless and would like to be even more ruthless by expressing, "Come you spirits that are inclined on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here and load me from the crown to the bottom top-full of direst cruelty; make thick my bloodstream, stop the access and passing to remorse" and has already plotted Duncan's murder by the time Macbeth results home. She says to her partner when she is asking him to be strong and prepare to murder Duncan, "I have given suck, and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me : I'd, although it was smiling in my own face, have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums and dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this" - this is actually a very gruesome image and shows Female Macbeth to be quite unfeminine as one of the most severe murders to consider is a mother killing her baby. The terms used by Female Macbeth is really very dark and comparable to the sort of chants that witches would use - she appears to be appealing to the dark makes of nature and the audience may assume that she actually is actually used to the kind of dark vitality (the audience could think that she is a witch). However, although Macbeth is obviously a strong and respectable soldier and whilst he has probably killed a lot of men in challenge, it is his sense of honour and admiration for his Ruler that he's fighting in the murder of Duncan and the openly regretful Macbeth says, "We will carry on no further in this business : he hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought Golden viewpoints from a variety of people, which would be worn now in their most recent gloss, not cast aside so soon". Macbeth scolds his partner during this discussion and, sensing that she is losing the discussion, Lady Macbeth needs to be very remarkable and visual to bring Macbeth into the plot of killing, "What beast was't, then that made you durst take action, then you were a guy; and to become more than what you were a guy; and to be more than what you were, you'd be so much more the man. Lady Macbeth is very manipulative with her hubby and uses pleading dialect that appeals to his manliness by suggesting that he can't be much of a guy if he doesn't do what he's promised. Although Lady Macbeth starts off being the better of the two and a lot more focussed in actually making the murder happen, she hardly ever really recovers from the night time of the murder and it is shown as going mad through sleepwalking and speaking in her sleep. Female Macbeth's babbling shown in the first field of Work 5"Out damned place! Out I say! One; two : why, then 'tis time and energy to do't. Hell is murky!", demonstrates that she is losing her mind and the brief staccato utterances spotlight her sadness in reliving the night of Duncan's murder in her wretched rest obsessing about not being able to get rid of his blood vessels from her hands. I really do feel that Lady Macbeth had a major part to learn in Macbeth's downfall - if she had been a more caring and less ambitious partner, she can have persuaded Macbeth to remain the entitled and well considered Lord that he was also to disregard the witches. But although she was ambitious on her behalf husband, she did not help him to reside in a long and happy life and indeed pressed him into Duncan's murder; this created a domino effect in Macbeth's life whereby he became distrustful of everybody and ruled by fear and greed. Therefore, I really do think that Female Macbeth could rightly be blamed for Macbeth's damage.

Shakespeare's plays often have an aspect of coincidence and chance meetings even though Macbeth, probably has less than others, the chance meeting, from Macbeth's perspective, of Macbeth and the witches initially is paramount to the storyline, especially given the timing of them being first to call him "Thane of Cawdor" and then him finding out so soon soon after by Duncan's generals Ross and Angus ; however, the second meeting with the witches was actually Macbeth seeking them out to learn more about his future, "I conjure you, by that which you profess, however you come to know it - answer me". It could also be looked at that insurance agencies Duncan choosing to stay with Lord and Sweetheart Macbeth the night time of the challenge was destiny, but actually this selection of lodgings would make sense from Duncan's viewpoint - he really was pleased with one of is own top war lords, Macbeth, has just honoured him, and he needed a location to stay and Macbeth's castle was within using distance. Although, to suit their purposes, especially Lady Macbeth's thinking and fiendish plan, the Macbeths see this as fate, Lady Macbeth, thinking about Duncan arriving to her home, "The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entry of Duncan", this is another exemplory case of Female Macbeth seeking symptoms to justify or signal her evil strategies.

One of the primary designs of the tragedy that is "Macbeth" is the gradual decay of Macbeth and his wife, especially if seen from the point of view of the witches - the play is one of the fantastic tragedies and this is right down to the storyline of the once great hero Macbeth, having been lured to be greedy for vitality by evil pushes (the witches) who, much like Greek tragedies / fables where the Greek Gods of earlier times, were seen to "play" with and manipulate mortals for fun. First of all, Macbeth replaces wicked with good when you are appointed Thane of Cawdor from the prior bad holder of the subject, then succumbing to evil himself and finally becoming a tyrant among the list of people whom he once fought along side. It is interesting because most tragedies, including this one, follow the classical, 'Greek' model: a hero's tragic flaw brings him greatness, and then downfall. There are various ironic threads working throughout the play, the first being Macbeth the hero and having the wicked Thane of Cawdor's title bestowed on him and then becoming an bad Thane of Cawdor himself; being a true and good friend of Banquo and then having him killed as he was frightened that Banquo's sons would be future kings ("For the kids the gracious Duncan have I murdered put rancours in the vessel of my peace only for them; and mine eternal jewel directed at the common enemy of man to make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!" this shows Macbeth's desperation and despair that he has carried out such evil deeds to own nothing actually in the long run), but most likely the saddest irony is, that Woman Macbeth was steeling herself to become ruthless and without remorse but it she who's changed mad with remorse and grief much before Macbeth. Take action 5, Landscape 1 has Woman Macbeth stressed and heading mad with conscience and being struggling to take away the "smell or feel of blood from her hands - "Here's the smell of blood still : all the perfumes of Arabia won't sweeten this little hands. Oh! Oh! Oh!". However, Macbeth is been shown to be troubled before, during and after Duncan's murder and his imagination causes him to have problematic visions (for example, "is this a dagger that i see before me, the handle before my hand?" just before he goes into get rid of Duncan and then in the form of the ghost of Banquo, "Thou canst not say I did so it : never tremble thy gory hair at me", which shows that he has ghostly visions of Banquo's corpse after he has already established him killed). Macbeth moves from being a hero, to a greedy, vitality hungry killer, to a man so filled with remorse to a person who barely registers the fact that the partner he liked dearly and respected wholeheartedly has killed herself - "she should have died hereafter; there would have been a time for such a phrase. " In his final scenes, Macbeth implies that he still has his original courage and fights by himself, to the finish, "Why must i play the Roman fool, and die on mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes do better after them". With this quote, Macbeth recognizes that he's nearing the finish of his life but is still persuaded that he cannot lose (the witches promised him!). In Take action 5 Field 3, Macbeth's mood changes on the people around him, he's much more self-assured about the fact that Macduff is having an military to beat him. He openly mocks his servant who brings him the news about the view of Macduff's military, he quotes "go, prick thy face, and over-red thy dread, thou lily-liver'd boy". The idea that Shakespeare rates "go, prick thy face" is to cover the whiteness of the servants cheeks and cover them up with blood, the image that Shakespeare creates here's that the servant is so terrified, that his genuine skin has switched white, also, the word "lily-liver'd" is a term that was a common during Shakespeare (implying that the individual was a coward and had no returning bone). This was very insulting because at the moment, men were said to be very daring and any man been shown to be a coward would have been considered very vulnerable rather than manly. Macbeth's soliloquy, in Act 5 Field 5, shows his thoughts on what his life has become, namely that he's ready to die because life has become monotonous for him. "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from daily", this quotation shows us that Macbeth is sick and tired of his life, the fact that it has no meaning, no goal, simply a "petty pace". When Macbeth is fighting with each other Young Siward, there are numerous solders around him to set-up the "bear baiting" impact, Macbeth even rates "They may have linked me to a stake; I cannot soar, but keep like I have to fight the reason". Shakespeare tries to demonstrate just how trapped Macbeth has become and with, "I cannot fly" conveys the idea of a trapped parrot being unable to fly away and become free, which is how Macbeth views himself. Macbeth reviews his previous with many different thoughts through the strategy of Macduff's army. When he first finds out, he regrets everything he has done, and he's feels sorrow that he'll never have the qualities of any loved king, such as, Duncan. "Is fall'n into the sere, the yellowish leaf; and whatever should be accompany later years, as honour, love, compliance, troops of friends", this contrasts everything King Duncan had and everything the features that Macbeth won't obtain. If anything, this part of the play implies that Macbeth actually allows the blame for anything that has gone incorrect and indeed, that he is in truth "the architect for his own destruction". Also the image of your "yellow leaf", this gives us the picture of an old, decrepit thing that is going to die, this pertains to Macbeth and his state of mind in this landscape. I feel that by this point in the play, Macbeth feels that is very much in charge of his own destruction and he blames no-one else for everyone that has took place.

In the ultimate scenes, Macbeth has lost exactly what he struggled so hard to win; anything that the witches guaranteed him, that his wife argued that he deserved and manipulated him to attain, plotted with him and fought hard to establish and in the long run, although he had not been by itself in the voyage, nor in the planning of his ascent and then devastation, he is alone by the end. Therefore, as can be shown above, Macbeth reaches least an equal partner in his ultimate devastation and was certainly not alone.

I think that Shakespeare had shown a whole lot of links, culturally and historically, to the time of Macbeth and to the changing times that the play was written. The thought of cowardice comes up a lot, this was because of the fact that during Macbeth and in the 1600's, the way in which in which a man acted, especially in regards to to bravery, proven to the globe how manly you were (this is shown by Girl Macbeth dialling Macbeth a coward and the fact that he's not a man if he will not wipe out Duncan). Also this is shown when Siward had discovered that his son had been killed in fight, he estimates "at least he dies giving the soldier's debt", providing a father some reimbursement for shedding his kid. The subtext of witchcraft and dark makes run throughout this play and indeed many commentators have said that they thought that Woman Macbeth was also a witch - in the same way, Henry VIII's second partner Anne was labelled a witch, and just like old fairy experiences and now shown as exaggerated caricatures in modern-day pantomimes, such as Snow White and Cinderella, with the wicked step-mothers dabbling in witchcraft to further their ambitions. Another link to Henry VIII, would be the hyperlink of powerful men and kings who have turned into tyrants by power, for example, Henry VIII, began being a righteous ruler, abused his capacity to fulfill his personal life and justifying marrying who he wanted and then used his power to split the chapel.

In conclusion therefore, I think that in the play, "Macbeth", the lead figure was partly to blame for his own damage but wouldn't normally have even considered such an ambitious career with no witches' prophecies nor without such outright encouragement and almost psychological blackmail by his better half. Overall, I feel that Lady Macbeth organized and started focus on Macbeth's devastation, and Macbeth acquired carried out the work, so that it could be observed that Lady Macbeth was the architect and Macbeth was the constructor.

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