Macbeth Themes

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  • Themes
    • Power and Kingship
      • Divine Right of Kings
        • Monarchs appointed by God, making them just below God in the social hierarchy
          • Killing a King a very serious crime
          • This is why Duncan is shown as the best King possible
      • Idea of power corrupts Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
        • Drives Lady Macbeth to suicide
        • Makes Macbeth cold, paranoid and tyrannical
          • 'tyrant... sole name blisters our tongues'
    • Ambition
      • Macbeth's ambition is his downfall
        • Encouraged by the witches and his wife
        • Immediately starts to think about regicide when given the prophecy
          • 'Let not light see my black and deep desires'
      • Lady Macbeth is very ambitious
        • Needs Macbeth's help as he is a man
        • Drives her to insanity
          • 'Out, damned spot!'
    • Masculinity and Femininity
      • Lady Macbeth dominates and controls Macbeth
        • She manipulates him by questioning his manhood
          • 'When you durst do it, then you were a man'
        • Macbeth is weaker than her at the start
          • Roles switch later on
            • 'be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck'
          • 'My hands are of your colour, but I shame/ To wear a heart so white'
      • Macduff provides a more modern definition of masculinity
        • 'I must also feel it like a man'
        • Fights but also feels and grieves
      • Macbeth is seen as manly because he was a powerful and ruthless warrior
    • The Supernatural
      • Most likely added for King James' pleasure
        • He wrote 'Demonologie' which was about the supernatural
        • Instrumental in starting witch hunts
      • Witches presented as evil
        • 'can the devil speak true?'
        • Speech often links to violence
          • 'killing swine'
        • Corrupt Macbeth and Lady Macbeth


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