Macbeth Key themes

Power and Corruption

Power is represented by King Duncan and Macbeth 

MacBeth and Lady Macbeth Desire greater power - ambition 

Power is shown to corrupt Macbeth

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Religion and the Supernatural

Religion and the supernatural are presented as opposing forces of Good and Evil 

The place good characters live a Christian life and respect the great chain of being 

The bad characters in the play are either Supernatural or are influenced by the supernatural.

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Temptation and Manipulation

Macbeth is easy manipulated buy the witches and Lady Macbeth 

He is tempted by power and greatness 

Lady Macbeth manipulates his insecurities about his Manliness 

While the witches manipulate his paranoia and make him overconfident

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Duty and Betrayal

Characters show moral and religious obligation to the King 

In the play, characters are rewarded for their duty and punished for betrayal 

Macbeth's betrayal of King Duncan also brings a spiritual punishment 

Shakespeare's presentation of duty and portrayal is also a show of support for James 1st.

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Guilt and Madness

Shakespeare uses blood as a recurring symbol of guilt from Macbeth and Lady Macbeth they both feel guilty about the Killing of the king.

lady macbeth's guilt isn't apparent until later in the play 

Macbeth guilt and paranoia affect his sanity 

Lady Macbeth more extreme and she eventually killed herself

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Secrets and Lies

Macbeth becomes a secretive once the witches prophecies start to come true 

Lady Macbeth tells her husband how how to lie and hide the truth 

Secrets and lies are also presented as having some honorable motivation, i.e. Ross wanting to spare Macduff the truth about his family being murdered.

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