Macbeth Literary Analysis

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Macbeth Literary Analysis

Krystal Abbott
Pat Patterson
English IV
Friday, December 03, 1999
Macbeth
In Shakespeares lifetime he wrote many plays. Many of them were critically acclaimed
and others cast aside. The crowd always wanted to be more thoroughly entertained and
Shakespeare always tried to keep up with the peoples needs. In 1605, Shakespeare was being
hounded for another work of genius. Hamlet and King Lear had just been completed and the
people of England begged for more. He knew not of what to write and like many playwrights did
some research. He found two stories from Hollinsheds Chronicles of England, Scotland and
Ireland. Shakespeare had already taken some ideas from there for his plays like Henry IV and
Henry V. William decided to combine the reign of Macbeth and the murder of King Duff by
Donwald and his wife, altering both to suit his needs. Macbeth is by far the shortest play that
William Shakespeare wrote. The main reason why this is so is not because Shakespeare did not
have much to say, but because King James was so impatient. Macbeth was written basically for
the king. In fact, the emphasis on witchery was because King James so heavily believed in
sorcery. Shakespeare worried very much about the evil powers insulting the king. After all was
said and done, Macbeth was another barrier to be broken in the great scheme of performances. It
was an instant success. King James and the court loved it along with England. No offenses were
made from Malcolm needing help from England. Shakespeare feared that James would be
offended by that. From that moment on Macbeth would be known by all. Yet the people begged
for more and hoped Macbeth would be out done by another astounding play. Shakespeare
wondered how such a task could be accomplished. What was it about Macbeth that made it
loved by everyone? Shakespeares style has been analyzed by many and some still can not figure
it out. His poetry has influenced his plays immensely.

Apart from the fascinating characters of the two leading roles, the plays chief
attraction is it wonderful poetry. Scarcely a word is wasted, and vivid images
tumble after each other in a stream of color and ideas (Ross 43).
Shakespeare put great thought into what he wanted to write and his feelings expressed
themselves through the stylistic devices of tone, characterization, and symbolism.

Shakespeares characterization of Macbeth exonerates the impact he had on the play. The
tone in Macbeth remains sinister and depressing throughout the play. Symbolism, on the other
hand, kept the tragedy in tact, and if understood, revealed the whole play in the very beginning of
her pages.

The character of Macbeth profoundly effects the play, by means of transpiring his actions
to hurt others. If looking at the characteristics of good and evil, it makes the reader wonder what
makes a person good or evil. Evil is not born into people, but it is the only option they have left.
Three features we have seen stand out clear in the general conception of Macbeth.

There is his eminently practical nature, which is the key to the whole. And the
absence in him of the inner life adds two special features: one is his helplessness
under suspense, the other is the activity of his imagination with its susceptibility
to supernatural terrors…His practical power develops as capacity for crime…his
mind is as scorpions; it is tortured in restless ecstasy. Suspense has undermined
his judgment and brought on him the gamblers fever…The third feature in
Macbeth is the quickening of his sensitiveness to the supernatural side by side
with the deadening of his conscience…In the reaction from the murder of Banquo
the supernatural appearance-which no eye sees but his own-appears more real to
him than the real life around him. And from this point he seeks the supernatural,
forces it to disclose its terrors, and thrusts himself into an agonized vision of
generations that are to witness the triumph of his foes. (Moulton 335-337)
Moulton knows what he is talking about. Macbeth was heavily influenced by supernatural
forces. In fact, were it not for them he might be living a happy and content life. The witches had
a profound affect on him. He soon found himself in a world where he wanted to know more and
more and the weird women were the only ones who could satisfy his hunger. Macbeth went from
a man who served everyone but himself to a man who served only himself.

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