The Macbeth play was written by Shakespeare in the 17th Century and is a Tragedy play. The play has been watched and read all over the world! Macbeth even today has been notified as one of Shakespeare’s most descriptive and interesting plays. The play was first acted out at Hampton Court Palace, where James 1 of England was entertaining his brother in law, king Christian of Denmark. The story was an old one but had later been interpreted by Shakespeare, the best dramatist of the time.
The setting of Macbeth was placed in the 11th Century, when most people believed in the supernatural. Women’s roles were to look after their house and bring up their children. They always had to obey their husbands and for that reason were taken advantage of; on top of this they were treated as sex objects. What makes the Macbeth play so different is that Lady Macbeth was much different compared to the role of which other women played at that time. In Britain everyone was to be a Christian! Once a baby was born, they immediately after had to be baptised. Religion was taken very seriously. This leads to the way that Lady Macbeth becomes such a masculine, greedy, and persuasive character in the story. She cunningly stepped out of line and was dominant over her husband Macbeth. She began preparing her manipulative plan from the day she received the great news!
The Macbeth play is one of four tragedy plays written by Shakespeare, they include Hamlet, King Lear and Othello. They all include fairly similar themes, with a main character that is at one point a hero, but then the next thing you know they cause disputes and catastrophe. This then affects most of the other characters in the play.
The play consists of many themes which are seen as being cruel and dishonest to human experience, these include ambition, power, revenge, betrayal and jealousy. These are all factors seen in Lady Macbeth’s character which drive her to being so manipulative, greedy, persuasive and masculine.
The supernatural is also a theme which is not included into the play too much but it was what men and women believed in, in the 11th Century! This is why we see Macbeth and Lady Macbeth easily fooled by the information they were given from the three witches! The play is largely influenced on the supernatural without this the supernatural in the play
Macbeth is introduced into the play once he and Banquo another Thane of Scotland return form battle against Norway victorious .Macbeth had killed the Kings and Scotland’s worst enemy by cutting off his head at battle! On top of this the Thane of Cawdor had reported to have turned traitor and joined with Norwegian forces! The three witches then turn up with their appearance on the heath. They unite with Macbeth and Banquo and begin to discuss Macbeth’s future.
“All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Glamis.”
“All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor.”
“All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter.”
Angus and Ross two of King Duncan’s messengers report to Macbeth to inform him of some great news. He’s told that King Duncan of Scotland is making him the new Thane of Cawdor as he felt very proud of him for killing his and Scotland’s worst enemy at battle. Macbeth feels surprised and sends a message to Lady Macbeth who’s at Macbeth’s castle. He tells her about the witches’ prophecies and how the second witches became true. He wonders about whether the third witches will also, which is for him to become King. Lady Macbeth is excited about this and dearly wants to become Queen of Scotland. She wants it so badly that she calls upon spirits to encourage her evil deeds. To show the cruel thoughts running through her mind she makes reference to being more masculine.
“…unsex me here…” (Act1 Sc5)
This would help her carry out her evil deeds so she’s able to commit the crime as planned. She is eager for her femininity to be taken away!
The murder scene of Macbeth which is the most outstanding theme in the play is placed in Act 2 Scene 2. It’s placed here as were able to gather information on the nature of the characters and so we understand why the 2 bodyguards ended up with the blame of killing King Duncan, whilst it was actually Macbeth who killed him with a dagger. More importantly we understand from the previous scenes why Lady-Macbeth so passionately and forcefully wanted Kind Duncan dead.
Lady Macbeth’s characteristics change throughout the play. One side of her is very ambitious, sly and greedy; this is usually put forward at times, when Lady Macbeth is committed to a task. Generally we see her in this way during the beginning of the play when she is thinking of ways to commit the crime and more importantly persuading Macbeth to carry out the murder!
“…This night’s great business into my dispatch…” (Act1 Sc5)
From this we see that Lady Macbeth is keen to take control over her husband so that her idea goes to plan. The word”…dispatch…” shows she is willing to take full management of her plan.
On the other hand she can also be very manipulative and masculine with the thoughts which run through her mind.
This usually occurs when things don’t go her way and the task she’s set out to do goes off track.
“These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.”(Act2 Sc2)
This shows her power and determination to twist Macbeths mind. Ironically she tells Macbeth not to look back at the murder or it will make him possessed in the mind. Also she adds that the murder can be easily forgotten. The two matters put together make it seem as though Lady Macbeths playing with his mind in all different situations.
Comparing Lady Macbeth’s speech in Act 2 Scene 2 or previous, scenes to Act 5 Scene 1 is a challenging job. We see her attitude dramatically changes from before the murder to after it. She seems to have a very conscious mind in the later Scenes and is extremely worried about the murder, with her having nightmares about it.
“What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands”
Here Lady Macbeth’s doctor is contemplating about what she is doing in her sleep. She’s having awful dreams and shows the symbolism of guilt by rubbing her hands. This would have been to wash the blood off her hands! Comparing this to the previous scenes and what she says to Macbeth is much the opposite. Previously she was bringing out the fact that all the evil thoughts that were passing through their minds at the time would soon be gone and that it will be very simple to forget about the murder!
The moral that Shakespeare has left behind on The Tragedy of Macbeth, is that you should always be happy with what you got. Never try to be something that you’re not and also never try doing something which you are incapable of handling, as along the way you will get yourself into trouble. Shakespeare is also portraying a message about women which is to make sure they don’t step out of line. From the play of Macbeth you’re able to see that if it wasn’t for Lady Macbeth no conflicts would have aroused!