Through Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth, Macbeth’s original character and values are destroyed because of the influence from the witches' prophecies, Lady Macbeth's greed, and his own hidden ambition....
Shakespeare uses imagery in the Tragedy of Macbeth and his other plays because it helps to connect the reader or audience to the characters of the play.
(Mendham) This play is considered a tragedy because the protagonist of the play, Macbeth, will suffer a terrible downfall as the result of his actions.
Act iii. sc. 1. Compare Macbeth's mode of working on the murderers in this place with Schiller's mistaken scene between Butler, Devereux, and Macdonald in Wallenstein. (Part II. act iv. sc. 2.) The comic was wholly out of season. Shakspeare never introduces it, but when it may react on the tragedy by harmonious contrast.
Ib. sc. 2. Now that the deed is done or doingnow that the first reality commences. Lady Macbeth shrinks. The most simple sound strikes terror, the most natural consequences are horrible, whilst previously every thing, however awful, appeared a mere trifle; conscience, which before had been hidden to Macbeth in selfish and prudential fears, now rushes in upon him in her own veritable person:
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There is truth to Duncan's line "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face," for throughout Shakespeare's play Macbeth, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are not what they most often appear to be. Even Macbeth does not know the extent...
Macbeth is certainly not the only play with historical themes that is full of fabrications. Indeed, there are other reasons why the play is considered a tragedy rather than a history. One reason lies in the play's universality. Rather than illustrating a specific historical moment, Macbeth presents a human drama of ambition, desire, and guilt. Like Hamlet, Macbeth speaks soliloquies that articulate the emotional and intellectual anxieties with which many audiences identify easily. For all his lack of values and "vaulting ambition," Macbeth is a character who often seems infinitely real to audiences. This powerful grip on the audience is perhaps what has made Macbeth such a popular play for centuries of viewers.
hail to thee, thane of
Cawdor! All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (A 1, S 3, 48).
Here, Macbeth is interested in what the witches have to say, but he does
not really believe them. A later, Ross enters. He tells
Macbeth that the thane of Cawdor is in line for death and that Duncan has
named Macbeth the new thane of Cawdor. Now, Macbeth is absolutely shocked.
The witches prophecy has come true! He can not believe it! But now
Macbeth has a lot more on his mind; the third prophecy about becoming the
King. Macbeth knows that if something were to happen to Duncan, Malcolm
and Donalbain, Duncan's sons, would be the rightful heirs to the throne.
How can Macbeth be King when he is nowhere near the next in line to the
throne? Another requirement for a tragic hero is that he must have a
tragic flaw. Macbeth's tragic flaw is that of ambition; Macbeth's ambition
will cause him to decline.
At this point, Lady Macbeth knows all about the witches prophecies.
She really wants to be Queen of Scotland so she encourages Macbeth to do
what he has to do to get rid of Duncan. Lady Macbeth is putting an
enormous amount of influence on Macbeth. He thinks that Duncan is a great
King and he considers Duncan to be a good friend. Finally Macbeth gives in
to Lady Macbeth and decides that he will kill Duncan while he is visiting
Macbeth's castle that same night. That night, Macbeth kills Duncan.
However, afterwards, Macbeth is feeling very sorry for himself. He can not
believe what he has just done. His ambition has caused him to kill a good
friend and even worse, the King! Here, Macbeth is going crazy.
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He freely chooses a course of action which ultimately causes him suffering and brings him to a fatal end."(Campbell 129) Macbeth is the epitome of a tragic hero who rises high then falls rock bottom to his death.
The material for Macbeth was drawn from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1587). Despite the play’s historical source, however, the play is generally classified as tragedy rather than a history. This derives perhaps from the fact that the story contains many historical fabrications—including the entire character of Banquo, who was invented by a 16th-century Scottish historian in order to validate the Stuart family line. In addition to such fictionalization, Shakespeare took many liberties with the original story, manipulating the characters of Macbeth and Duncan to suit his purposes. In Holinshed's account, Macbeth is a ruthless and valiant leader who rules competently after killing Duncan, whereas Duncan is portrayed as a young and soft-willed man. Shakespeare draws out certain aspects of the two characters in order to create a stronger sense of polarity. Whereas Duncan is made out to be a venerable and kindly older king, Macbeth is transformed into an indecisive and troubled young man who cannot possibly rule well.