Shakespeare’s developed many stories into excellent dramatization for the Elizabethan stage. He knew how to entertain and absorb the audience with dynamic plots and the clever use of imagery, and versatile characters. Macbeth is an action packed, psychological thriller1 that has not lost impact in nearly four hundred years. All of Shakespeare’s plays have a stylistic device that makes them unique and specials. The use of alliteration2, similes3, metaphor, etc. , makes each play unique and magnificent.
Foreshadowing is one of the most present and important literary devices in the play, this can be observed when the witches set the tone in act I, scene 1 with a storm and the predictions that Macbeth’s life will become so confused he will find it difficult to differentiate between right and wrong, “Fair is foul, and foul is fare:”4. I can also say that the opening of the play with thunder and lighting when the witches entered, sets the mood of the play, the reader and mainly the audience can predict how the rest of the play is going to be. How? You can ask to yourself how is the play is going to be?
Comedy? Tragedy? Another stylistic feature of Shakespeare’s plays is the use of Blank Verse, which resembles the natural rhythm of spoken English. Macbeth is not the exception and with the omission of a few scenes the whole play is written in Blank Verse5, but the basis of this essay is going to be one of the themes treated by the author on the play rather than the stylistic devices of the writer’s plays. Macbeth, as in every tragedy, describes the life of a good man, who by influence of others and by his own imperfections turns into darkness and ambition, killing other people.
Throughout the play, Macbeth in order to get more power and later on to get the crown of Scotland goes loosing his humanity until the point of perpetrate any kind of dishonourable acts just to get what he wants (power). And that desire for power is in which I am going to base my essay. Greed; in my opinion, is the cornerstone of the entire play, it is resembled in the character of Lady Macbeth, but mainly in the character of Macbeth (for further references “our hero”). Greed is our hero’s flaw, what will bring chaos to his personality and at the end will destroy him along with his reign.
At the beginning of the play, this weakness is not represented in our hero, who by the way is presented with a strong personality and temper6; on the other hand, we have got the character of Lady Macbeth. She is the representation of greed and ambition during the first chapters, she influenced our hero to act in an ambitious way. Before continuing, I have to mention an important part in the play, the meeting of the witches with Macbeth and Banquo, they prophesied that Macbeth will be thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland7; this is the trigger for Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s greed and desire for power.
The witches foresaw what will come and our two characters began to desire the power that was presented. Like a burning match in the middle of a forest, that started a reaction which destroyed the entire forest (in the case of the play, the life of our hero). Returning to my previous point, the character of Lady Macbeth was the main influence in our hero during the first chapters, she convinced her husband to kill king Duncan8 in searching for power and obviously to consummate the prophesy of the witches.
Until this point our hero had not self command and all his movement where under his wife’s orders, but after killing King Duncan, he become somebody else, he gain confidence and independence (at least independence of action)** now greed started to grow inside him like a parasite, feeding on Macbeth’s soul. In chapter three we can see that Macbeth no longer needs his wife, now he is taking action by himself and not by someone else desires, he even hid his plan of killing Banquo and his son Fleance to Lady Macbeth9, with this action the dramatist shows us that our hero is free of any influence (at least human).
Now, by killing Banquo our hero makes sure that all the power is going to be his, and it will be extended forever. Until that point in the story the ambition that our hero had was in control, after that, greed started to grow inside our hero, and as a consequence Macbeth feels that he needs to know more of what is coming to gain control of the situations. In order to do that, he went back with the witches to get more information about the future. They make another prophesy, which gave Macbeth more confidence in his actions10.
The centre of my essay is based in this part of the play. This prove my thesis that ambition and greed is good, it moves us everywhere in life and helps us to accomplish and achieve our goals, but ambition without perspective leads us to a different point, it moves us out of our real intentions. This is the case of Macbeth, during this act, as I said; the witches gave Macbeth another prophesies, which were fulfilled at the end of the play, but not in the way that our hero was expecting.
Why? Ambition and Greed were blind, with no perspective, he just wanted to know more and at the end what happen all the time, you just hear what you want to hear. He miss read the real intentions of the witches and the prophecy’s real meaning. Obviously the witches mislead Macbeth, but were his blindness and longing for power what make the final job. To conclude, I would like to say, that maybe the character of Macbeth under other circumstances, would have take a different position, after all he was a good man!