Macbeth Themes

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  • Created by: Lily06
  • Created on: 16-04-18 16:30
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  • Macbeth
    • Good and Evil
      • "This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill; cannot be good" (M after meeting Witches)
      • "Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time" (M after killing King)
      • "Not in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evils to top Macbeth" (MacDuff)
      • "The time is free" (MacDuff after M killed)
      • The motif of Light and Dark shows LM and M's descent into evil
        • "Stars, hide your fires..." (M, watching Malcolm crowned Prince of Cumberland)
        • "Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell..." (LM, let's kill King)
        • "By clock tis day, and yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp" (Ross, solar eclipse after Duncan death)
        • LM requires a "light beside her continuously
    • Nature VS Supernatural
      • "Fair is foul and foul is fair" (Witches)
      • "The night has been unruly" (Ross talking to Old man after Duncan's death)
      • "By the clock it is day and yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp"
      • "Look like th'innocent flower..." (LM) "We have scorched the snake..." (M)
      • "A great perturbation in nature..." (Doctor, watching LM sleepwalk)
      • Symbolism of animals to highlight Macbeth's tyrannical qualities as King
        • "It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman" (LM while M killing Duncan)
        • "A falcon tow'ring in her pride of place was by a mousing owl hawed at and killed" (Ross to Old man)
        • "They have tied me to the stake; I cannot fly, but, bear-like, I must fight the course" (M before facing MacDuff to be killed)
    • Gender
      • "His brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution" (Captain, on M)
      • "Too full o' the milk of human kindness, to catch the nearest way" (LM, letter)
      • "When you durst do it, then you were a man" (LM - M)
      • "Fill me from the crown to the toe topfull of direst cruelty", "unsex me here", "take my milk for gall" (LM)
      • "Dispute it like a man", "I shall do, but I must also feel it like a man" (MacDuff, family killed)
    • Ambition
      • "Two truths are told, as happy prologues to the swelling act of imperial theme" (M, after Witches)
      • "I have no spurs to ***** the sides of my intent..." (M)
      • "Art not without ambition, but without the illness to attend it" (LM on M)
    • Guilt
      • Blood symbolises guilt in the play
        • M sees dagger with "gouts of blood" on the blade
        • LM = blood on M's hand is "filthy witness" and hers is just "colour", M = "all great Neptune's ocean" could not "wash this blood clean"
        • "Blood will have blood", "I am in blood stepp'd so far" (M after seeing Banquo's ghost)
        • "Out damned spot", "all the perfumes of Arabia...", "who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him" (LM)
        • "We but teach bloody instructions, which being taught, return to plague the inventor" (M, before killing King, after meeting Witches)
      • "Affliction of these terrible dreams which shake us nightly" (LM)
      • "But wherefore could I not pronounce Amen?..." (M, after killing)
    • Fate and Free Will
      • "Valour's minion", "Bellona's bridegroom" (Captain on M)
      • "So foul and fair a day I have not seen" (M)
      • "The instruments of darkness tell us truths..." (Banquo after Witches)
      • "The castle of MacDuff I will surprise" (M)
      • "Accursèd be that tongue that tells me so (-) and break it to our hope." (M, last scene, "MacDuff was from his mother's womb untimely ripped")
    • Relationship between M and LM
      • "Dearest partner of greatest" (M in LM's letter)
      • "I would, whilst it was smiling in my face..." (LM, we must kill the King)
      • "Was the hope drunk wherein you dressed yourself?..." (LM to M)
      • "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck" (M to LM)
      • "The Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?"
      • "Valour's minion", "Bellona's bridegroom" (Captain, M)
    • Violence
      • "Unseamed him from the nave to the chaps and fixed his head upon our battlements" (M, beginning)
      • "Blood will have blood" (M, after Banquo ghost scene"
      • "I am in blood stepped so far" (M)
      • "Savagely slaughtered" (M slaughtered MacDuff's wife and babes)
      • "Dead butcher" (Malcolm of M)
    • Appearance VS Reality
      • "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under 't" (LM to M)
      • "There's no such thing. It i the bloody business which informs thus to mine eyes" (M, dagger)
      • "Here's our chief guest" (LM to Banquo, moments before his murder)
      • "None of woman born shall harm Macbeth" (Witches, equivocation)
      • "Life's but a walking shadow..." (M)
      • Clothing motif = illegitamacy
        • "Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?" (M, thane of Cawdor) and Banquo, "new honours come upon him, like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould, but with the aid of use"
        • "Lest our old robes sit easier than our new" (Ross and MacDuff before M's coronation)
        • Macbeth feels his title "hang[s] loose about him, like a giant's robe upon a dwarfish thief" (Angus, Act 5 to other Scottish thanes)

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