Essay On Macbeth Themes Motifs

Presentation on theme: "Macbeth Themes and Motifs."— Presentation transcript:

1 MacbethThemes and Motifs

2 Theme of the PlayAccording to G.R. Elliot, the theme of the play is that a "wicked intention must in the end produce wicked action unless it is not merely revoked by the protagonist's better feelings, but entirely eradicated by his inmost will, aided by Divine grace.“This is seen most clearly in Act V, Scene 1, where the Doctor says, "More needs she the divine than the physician." It also seen throughout the play in Macbeth's murderous plots.

3 Theme: Nothing is as it Seems
“Fair is foul, foul is fair." Basically, this means that appearances can be deceiving. What appears to be good can be bad, and this is seen in such things as the deceptive facade of Lady Macbeth and in the predictions of the witches.This theme of “Fair being Foul” is seen throughout the play. While the exact words are spoken by the weird sisters, similar ideas are presented by Duncan, Malcom, Macduff, Banquo, and even Macbeth.

4 Theme: Ambition Ambition plays a major role in Macbeth.
It is important to note that at the start of the play, Macbeth is referenced as a man of honor. In fact, the reason Duncan awards him the Thane of Cawdor title is because of his bravery and loyalty.Macbeth places ambition before his honor when Lady Macbeth presents him with her evil plan.The witches never make Macbeth or Lady Macbeth do anything. The two are responsible for their choices and the outcome.

5 AmbitionIn Macbeth, we see how unchecked ambition can never be fulfilled, and therefore quickly grows into a monster that will destroy anyone who gives into it.

6 Theme: FateIn the beginning of the play, the weird sisters make predictions for Macbeth and Banquo. Throughout the story, the predictions play an active role in driving the plot.The reader is left to wonder: Is it fate that drives the plot? Or are the actions of Macbeth/Lady Macbeth driven by their own ambition/lust for power?

7 FateMacbeth tries to master fate, to make fate conform to exactly what he wants. But, of course, fate doesn’t work that way. By trying to master fate once, Macbeth puts himself in the position of having to master fate always.At every instant, he has to struggle against those parts of the witches’ prophecies that don’t favor him. Ultimately, Macbeth becomes so obsessed with his fate that he becomes delusional: he becomes unable to see the half-truths behind the witches’ prophecies. By trying to master fate, he brings himself to ruin.

8 Motif: Light vs. DarkMuch of this play is filled with the struggle between light and darkness (symbolizing Macbeth-- he asks for darkness to hide his desires in Act I, and then darkness shrouds the night of the murder).The light in the first two acts is King Duncan, but the struggle went in favor of darkness. This struggle occurs in every act of the play. 

9 Also, in Act V, Scene vii, Macduff enters and says, "If thou [Macbeth] be'st slain and with no stroke of mine,/My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still" (lines ). Macduff can't rest until he gets revenge on the killer of his family, something Malcolm and Fleance (whose family was also killed by Macbeth) didn't say.  Macduff is the hero of the play. He is the light that will soon come to a final climactic battle with the dark (Macbeth). There is also religious meaning to this: God against the devil, Macbeth being the devil (remember how he couldn't say "Amen" in Act II?). This theme has been used in many contemporary stories; it's an epic battle of good vs. evil. 

10 Light and DarknessAlso, in Act V, Scene vii, Macduff enters and says, "If thou [Macbeth] be'st slain and with no stroke of mine,/My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still" (lines ). Macduff can't rest until he gets revenge on the killer of his family, something Malcolm and Fleance (whose family was also killed by Macbeth) didn't say.  Macduff is the hero of the play. He is the light that will soon come to a final climactic battle with the dark (Macbeth). There is also religious meaning to this: God against the devil, Macbeth being the devil (remember how he couldn't say "Amen" in Act II?). This theme has been used in many contemporary stories; it's an epic battle of good vs. evil. 

11 Nature and the Unnatural
Throughout the play, there is a recurring theme of things that are natural or things that are happening that are not natural or against nature.Examples of things that go against nature:horses eating horsesan owl killing a falconMalcolm and Donalbain killing DuncanFleance murdering Banquo

12 Motif: Visions/Hallucinations
Visions and hallucinations recur throughout the play and serve as reminders of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s responsibility for the deaths that are caused by their unchecked ambition.An example of this would be when: Macbeth is about to kill Duncan and sees a dagger floating in the air. Covered with blood and pointed toward the king’s chamber, the dagger represents the bloody course on which Macbeth is about to embark.

13 HallucinationsWhen Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost, it is a manifestation of his conscience.Lady Macbeth has visions towards the end of the play, as she begins her descent into madness. Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and believes that her hands are stained with blood that cannot be washed away by any amount of water.The hallucinations are subconscious signs of the guilt felt by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

14 Symbol: BloodBlood is often used to symbolize guilt, or the lack of it. For example, in II , Macbeth has just murdered King Duncan and feels horribly guilty for his deed. Duncan had thought rather fondly of Macbeth, and had trusted him after his previous Thane of Cawdor had betrayed him. Macbeth, with blood covering his arms and hands, exclaims "With all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red."

15 BloodIn II.3.110, Macbeth describes Duncan as having had "golden blood," which contrasts with his own. Duncan had no guilt and had done nothing to anger Macbeth, or to make him worthy of being murdered. In spite of this fact, Macbeth still murdered King Duncan and contaminated his blood in the process. Another example of the blood motif occurs in Act V. Macduff has come and challenged Macbeth to a sword fight to which Macbeth refused. This happened because Macbeth didn't want to shed anymore blood (kill people) than he already has and because more bloodshed is more guilt. Macbeth is already suffering from his guilt and more guilt would just cause more problems for him. "Of all men else I have avoided thee. But get thee back! My soul is too much charged With blood of thine already." (V.viii.4-6)

16 Symbol: The WeatherThe weather is symbolic of the actions going on within the play.For instance, in Act I, scene I, the witches say “When shall we three meet again/In thunder, lighting, or in rain?” This sets up the fact that the whenever the witches appear, it will be “stormy” in Scotland. Of course, Macbeth does not know this!

Essay on The Motifs of Blood and Water in in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The Motifs of Blood and Water in Macbeth

In his masterpiece Macbeth, William Shakespeare employs many motifs, but none more often than blood and water. The play includes many images of blood and water to show the characters' attitudes toward their own development of guilt. Both motifs mature and change in their meaning along with the setting and mood of the play. “Without an understanding of the blood and water symbolism, the play cannot be completely understood”(Scott 14). Blood symbolizes honor, treachery, and guilt. Water, in contrast, symbolizes cleanliness and purity of the soul, as though all it takes is water to wash guilt away.

“The word "blood," or various spellings of it, is found forty-two…show more content…

After blood has been referred to a few times with reference to honor, the symbol of blood changes to show a theme of treachery and treason. Lady Macbeth begins the transition when she asks the spirits to "make thick my blood" (I.v.50). What Lady Macbeth means is that she wishes to be remorseless and insensitive about the murders she and Macbeth will soon commit. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence of blood is a treacherous symbol, and also knows that if they are found with bloody daggers they will be hanged for their betrayal of the king. For this reason, she tells Macbeth to "smear the sleepy grooms with blood"(II.ii.64). Macbeth replies, "If he do bleed, I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal /for it must seem their guilt"(II.ii.72-3). When Banquo states "let us meet and question this most bloody piece of work"(II.iii.150), and Ross replies "Is't known who did this more than bloody deed?"(II.iv.31), they are both inquiring as to who performed the treacherous act upon Duncan.

The third, and most often use of the symbol blood, is in reference to the theme of guilt. This use was hinted at earlier when Lady Macbeth made sure that no blood was found on either her or Macbeth. Macbeth hints at his guilt and his wish to be absolved from sin when he says, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand"(II.ii.78)? Once again, blood is used as a

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