Macbeth: Betrayal . By B ec and M ikki. Betrayal . 1. to deliver or expose to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty : to betray one’s country 2 . to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling: to betray a trust.
By Bec and Mikki
One of the many themes in Shakespeare’s Macbeth is Betrayal. The play begins with the Betrayal of the Thane of Cawdor and continues onto Macbeth’s betrayal of Duncan and Banquo. The witches betrayal of Macbeth and more subtle betrayals such as Macbeths betrayal of his own nature and Lady Macbeths betrayal of her gender.
The first act of betrayal in the play is that of the Thane of Cawdor betraying Duncan, during this act Macbeth also begins to think of killing Duncan. Lady Macbeth also betrays her feminine nature by asking the evil spirits to “unsex” her and “fill her from the crown to the toe top-full of the direst cruelty”. Macbeth agrees to kill Duncan and in doing so not only betrays his king, his vows as a thane and Scotland but also betrays his own nature “It is to full o’ the milk of human kindness”.
In this Act Macbeth and his wife turn words to action and kill Duncan in his sleep. This is not only treason (the highest form of betrayal) but is also a betrayal of their duties of care. As hosts they were responsible for Duncan’s safety and for him to die under their roof would reflect badly upon them.
In this Act Macbeth kills Banquo and attempts to kill his son
Fleance. Macbeth betrays his friend because he believes that Banquos sons will be kings and not his own “To be thus is nothing; But to be safely thus.”.
In this Act Macbeth returns to the witches seeking more answers. It is now that the witches betray him just as Banquo said they would“But tis strange and often times, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s In deepest consequence.”. In this scene Macbeth further betrays his nature by murdering Macduff’s family. In this Act it also becomes more apparent that Macbeth is betraying his people by becoming a tyrant and thinking of nothing but his own obsession with power.
Lady Macbeth unwittingly betrays herself and her husband in her sleep “she has spoken what she should not”. In this act it also becomes clear that although the witches told Macbeth the truth they spoke to deliberately mislead him into a false sense of invincibility , which ultimately lead him to his doom.
Betrayal is a universal theme because it is dealt with in all its forms all over the world. Who can truly say that at one point in their life they have never felt betrayed inn the slightest? It is a theme that we can all relate to in some form.
Many of shakespeare’s works are now well known classics world wide because they touch on timeless themes that can be appreciated by all cultures and generations. Such as Love, Betrayal, Greed, Justice and Ambition.
Alliteration - Fair is foul and foul is fair
Imagery- Doubtful it stood as two spent swimmers, that do cling together and choke their art.
Metaphor- As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.