The Tragedy of Macbeth was written by Shakespeare around 1606. It's one of his darkest & most powerful tragedies. It's about Macbeth, a Scottish nobleman, who's tempted to check out the path of evil to fulfill his ambition after hearing a prophecy that he will become the king. Urged by his wife, he murders King Duncan and becomes the Ruler. After becoming the King, he commits increasingly more murders to protect himself. In the long run he's murdered by another nobleman, Macduff.
The main topics of Macbeth are:
1. Ambition - One of the major themes of the play is corruptibility of over-ambition. Macbeth at first is content with being a basic, but because of his ambition, even after becoming the thane of Cawdor, he murders the ruler with support from his ambitious better half. The following lines show that Macbeth is prepared to push besides his morality when Malcom is declared the heir to the throne.
"MACBETH [Apart] The Prince of Cumberland! That is clearly a step
On which I must collapse, if not o'erleap,
For in my way it is placed. Stars, cover your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep needs:
The eye wink at the palm; yet let that be,
Which the attention fears, when it's done, to see. " (1. 4. 4)
2. Future and Free Will - Shakespeare asks the question of destiny and free will through Macbeth. It's ambiguous whether Macbeth has free will or his destiny is predestined. . All the prophecies in Macbeth become a reality.
Macbeth's ambition is kindled by the witches prophecy and their prophecy of him being killed only once Birnam Wood steps to Dunsinane Hill and by someone not woman blessed comes true Yet Macbeth seems responsible for his own activities and he ponders before murdering the ruler.
There is also a mention of the concept of Rota Fortunae in Macbeth. Rota Fortunae or the Wheel of Fortune can be an ancient philosophical strategy discussing the fickle characteristics of fate. The steering wheel spins at random symbolizing the random nature of destiny. Macbeth's fate also spins as if on a steering wheel. "Macbeth starts off halfway up the wheel whenever a Thane, but moves higher and higher until he becomes king, but falls down again towards the end as his wife dies, and he subsequently dies. "
3. Rational is foul and bad is fair- This collection is oft repeated in the play. Through the entire play, fair looks are used by the character types to hide their foul intentions. "The play is packed with ambiguity and dual meanings, you start with the prophecies. The day is extremely foul (weather) and intensely good (MacDonald has been disemboweled. ) Banquo is not so happy, yet much happier. May be the dagger a hallucination, or a supernatural phantom? Ask the same question about Banquo's ghost. Does indeed the bell summon Duncan "to heaven or to hell"? One of Duncan's son's called out "Murder!" in his sleep, however the other one laughed, mysteriously thrilled at his father's loss of life. That was which? "
Macbeth asks his partner during the evening meal to be jovial with the ruler and hide their true motives. You'll find so many instances of this duality in the play.
4. Manhood - Inside the play manhood is associated with cruelty and assault while feminism is associated with compassion. Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to unsex her and take away her feminine attributes so that she can murder the King.
"Come, you spirits
That are likely on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood vessels;
Stop the access and passage to remorse. " (1. 5. 3)
Ironically, the witches and Girl Macbeth are cruel and they're the ones who tempt Macbeth into murdering the Ruler. The play questions the real interpretation of manhood. Shakespeare answers this through Macduff who says that the ability to feel the human emotions of love, reduction, grief is what makes one individuals.
5. Guilt - Shakespeare targets the emptiness and sadness that derive from selfishness and cruelty. By the end, Macbeth is guilty for murdering the king
"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my side?"
He miracles if he will have the ability to wash the bloodstream off his hands. He's not able to say amen and thinks that he'll never have the ability to sleeping again.
Lady Macbeth primarily has no qualms in murdering the Ruler, but later she is guilty and her guilt makes her mad. After the murder she says
"A little drinking water clears us of the deed" but later washes her hands obsessively and says to the physician -
"Here's the smell of the bloodstream still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hands. "
"Lady Macbeth's insanity is very nothing more than her realizing the nature and results of the terrible thing she's done. Macbeth verbally abuses and bullies the people who he needs to defend him (and who are abandoning him), while reflecting to himself on the emptiness and futility of it all. "
Macbeth is a cautionary story about unchecked ambition. Its shows us how unchecked ambition and the lure of vitality can corrupt a person. Its shows the fallibility of great men and women and how they may have the same thoughts and emotions as us. One of the reasons Macbeth is popular even today is basically because it deals with the common theme of individuals emotions.