Themes of Macbeth Introductory investigation for Macbeth essay assignment
Reminders as you begin your essay • Essays with no thesis statement will not be graded. Do the work to find a good one, and your paper will practically write itself! • An acceptable thesis statement meets ALL of the following criteria: • It is arguable—does more than state the obvious. It presents a CLAIM that you will support with your essay. Someone else could potentially write on the same general topic with a very different message. That is what it means to be arguable. • It is interesting. If you are bored, your reader will be bored. Write about something that is complex and captures your attention. • Organize your paragraphs strategically and logically • Each paragraph should support one main point that directly supports your thesis statement. • Paragraphs should have identifiable topic sentences. • Suggestions: • Look @ cause and effect situations and compare/contrast situations. THEN merge the two concepts—compare and contrast, then look at the consequences and results of the similarities and differences. • Remember to gather your raw material before you write. Develop your thesis statement and find the evidence that supports it before you write your first paragraph.
Guilt/Regret • What cannot you and I perform on the unguarded Duncan, what not put upon his …officers…shall bear the guilt of our great quell-Lady Macbeth • She persuaded M to kill D using guilt • Cast guilt upon the guards • I am afraid to think what I have done…look on’t again I dare not –MacB • He is regretting murdering Duncan • All is but toys, renown and grace is dead • Macbeth feels regret, guilt? Act 2 scene 3 • Macbeth shows no guilt over killing Macduff’s family, when he should have • Until he is about to die, he has been caught • Of all else I have avoided [Macduff] My soul is too stained with blood of thine already. (Act 5 scene )
Macbeth’s Sanity • Witches- are they really real? Were they imagined? • Hallucinations- dagger, which leads him to kill the king immediately after the hallucination--- he could plead insanity in today’s court system • Banquo’s ghost– Macbeth has lost his mind • Hyper-focuses on Macduff…paranoia • Is insanity relevant to murdering children? (Fleance, Macduff’s kids) • Killing spree-paranoia again, sanity forcast not so great. • Regains sanity at final moments of life, knows his time is come and he does not want to add Macduff to his list of casualties. • Thought he was safe because he couldn’t be killed (based on the witches predictions)
Lady Macbeth’s Sanity • When she reads the letter from macbeth, she starts to lose her sanity, knowing that she is going to have to help Macbeth mnurder the king • Persuades Macbeth that killing the king is the right thing to do • Planning to kill the king, her insanity begins. • Suicide—she has lost the battle
Nature • When the witches are present, thunder and lightning accompany them, symbolizing their danger? • The day after Duncan’s death was unnaturally dark, symbolizing the “death of light” • Macbeth’s hands are as bloody as a sea of red blood…the blood is unnaturally attached to his (and Lady Macbeth’s hands) • Duncan’s horses go crazy and kill each other, representative of people (according to Ross) without a king, they go to war and fight each other senselessly • Macbeth and Nature • When he didn’t want to kill Duncan • He had guilt for killing Duncan—that is natural • Hallucinated Banquo’s ghost b/c of his guilt • Knew he could not become King by chance & the thought of becoming King by other means scared him • UNNATURAL: • -by the end, he kills Macduff’s family without being bothered • -wanted to stay in a daze to avoid natural feelings in reaction to his murders
Lady Macbeth’s Nature • I do fear thy nature is too full of the milk of human kindness (Lady M fears that Macbeth’s NATURE is too NATURAL) • Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here (she wants evil spirits to turn her into…not a woman) • Come to my woman’s breast and take my milk for gall (poison) • She says she would rather dash a baby’s brains out than go back on the plan for murdering King D.
Ambition • Macbeth • “normal” ambition in the beginning…thane of glamis. After he is awarded Thane of Cawdor, his ambition is uncontrollable? • Malcom is named as the Prince and heir to the throne, so Macbeth realizes his ambition will take a murderous leap • When honor is dominant, ambition is in control, but when ambition begins to take over, honor is rejected (or, when honor is rejected, ambition is in control) • Lady Macbeth • She receives the letter about the witches prophesy and begins to find ways to make it happen • Places the bloody daggers on the guards to take guilt off Macbeth • Faints (fake) to take attention away from Macbeth’s guilt • Covers for Macbeth while he is freaking out about Banquo’s ghost
Destiny/chance • Lady Macbeth takes it on herself to make sure that macbeth achieves his destiny of becoming King • Shouldn’t destiny make itself happen? • Does Macbeth forget to leave the daggers on the guards because it is his destiny to fail? • Chance occurrences: • Macduff arriving in the middle of the night to see the king • Fleance escapes • Murderers arriving to tell Macbeth about Banquo’s death immediate at the beginning of the banquet • Blood will have blood