MACBETH + MACBETH IN ACT 1 (MACBETH (ASIDE) "Stars, hide your fires;…
MACBETH + MACBETH IN ACT 1
THE GREAT CHAIN OF BEING
The chain of being helped to maintain order. Challenging one's place in society disputed the chain and could lead to terrible chaos. People were expected to accept their position in the hierarchy in order to be rewarded with heaven
Elizabethans believed in a divine hierarchy that had been created by God. This hierarchy, was known as the Great Chain of Being
This stretched from God himself all the way done to the plants and stones Everything on Earth has it's place
Women were always expected to be beneath men in the chain , with the exception of Queen Elizabeth I. it was believed that monarchs were chosen by God and so held a divine right to their position
They always start noble. Noble
Flawed by ambition
Slightly different: Macbeth also driven by prophecies
The tragic hero can be either protagonist or villain / antagonist
Remember we can empathise with Macbeth
ARISTOTLE AND THE TRAGIC HERO
Aristotle once said that, "
A man doesn't become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall"
The tragic hero must possess specific characteristics
1) Flaw or error of judgement (hamartia)
2) A reversal of fortune (perpeteia) brought about because of the hero's error in judgement - where they cannot come back
3) The discovery or recognition that the reversal was brought about by the hero's own actions
4) Excessive Pride: Hurbis
5) The character's fate must be greater than deserved
Fated to doom
MACBETH - TRAGIC HERO
Is named the Thane of Cawdor and Glamis by King Duncan
Duncan calls him "
Noble", "brave Macbeth" "great Macbeth"
The Witches tell him he will be king of Scotland
Initially, fearful of predictions - contributing his greatness at the beginning
He also rejects Lady Macbeth's initial persuasion
"strong...against the deed"
HAMARTIA - His tragic flaw: pride (hurbis) that leads to ambition which leads to arrogance (because of the prophecies)
Lady Macbeth insults his manhood and reveals the plan
Peripeteia - After the killing of Duncan and before Macbeth arranges the murderers to kill Fleance and Banquo
"I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more / Returning were as tedious as go o'er"
Anagnorisis - Perhaps, when he becomes aware of Lady Macbeth's death. His reaction suggests defeat and he comments that life is
"A tale, told by an idiot...Signifying nothing"
Anagnorisis - Perhaps another example. When Macduff reveals that he was "
from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd"
It is here that Macbeth learns that the witches prophecy is about to come true, and that he will die. He fully recognises this fact by saying it has
"cow'd my better part of man"
Because we first hear of Macbeth in the wounded captain's account of his battlefield bravery, our initial impression is of a brave warrior
When we see Macbeth interact with the three witches, we notice that the physical courage is joined by ambition and self-doubt
The predictions will bring him joy and inner turmoil
Through his character, we are shown what happens when ambition and pride consume a character who to a certain degree, is quite weak
Macbeth is unable to control his mind. Before the murder he is consumed by worry
After the murder, Lady Macbeth's power disintegrates leaving him alone
He plots the murders of Banquo and Macduff
Macbeth, however, is in great turmoil which is shown when he switches between the plotting and the guilt
As things fall apart for him at the end of the play, he can finally return to life as a warrior and he displays a kind of reckless bravado as his enemies surround him
Unfortunately, his unwavering narrative - it begins with Macbeth winning and end with him dying in combat
MACBETH'S FIRST WORDS IN THE PLAY**
"So foul and fair a day I have not seen"
Macbeth's first words in the play
Clear paradox here - echoes the words of the witches suggesting they will influence him
" represent the nature of the upcoming events Macbeth is about to experience
However, when the witches use these words it is more balanced
"fair is foul, and foul is fair"
It is a balanced syntax
Ambition is a good value and characteristic but Macbeth's overriding ambition is evil
The power of the witches is shown through their ability to influence Macbeth without any formal introduction - shows their believed power of time (Does Shakespeare actually believe in them?)
"My though, whose murder yet is but fantastical, / Shakes so my single state of man"
"smother'd in surmise"
Macbeth is quick to jump to murder which the Witches haven't mentioned
The fact that his first thought is about killing the king is suspicious - almost as though they have just awoken a murderous ambition that's been there all along
- verb means to fall, but something unsteady - links up to his later statement about falling down Subtle foreshadowing of the witches deception and the inevitable downfall of Macbeth
"Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee"
"smother'd in surmise"
- surmise means to think or to infer without certain or strong evidence, guess
adjective 1. conceived or appearing as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination: odd and remarkable, bizarre and grotesque. Beyond realism, link to the witches
"Stars, hide your fires; / Let not light see my black and deep desires"
Aside - this is important as this is only directed to the audience not the rest of the audience. Therefore, this is Shakespeare's method of presenting the character's real thoughts
Macbeth describes his ambition as being
"black and deep desires"
which makes it sound evil and malicious and perhaps, supernatural. The question is whether we should let fate dictate our future
Reference to hidden desires links to the conscious vs the subconscious
" something else is at play here, references the subconscious
DREAMS AND THE SUBCONSCIOUS
Often disturbing common sense and giving away to something more private
The subconscious is a memory bank. It is accessing the part of the brain in which we are not fully aware of out feelings, desires, actions. There is a huge juxtaposition between the conscious and subconscious
Alfred Alder are emotional preparations to solving problems
Visions and hallucinations occur throughout the play and serve as reminders of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's joint culpability for the growing body count
When he is about to kill Duncan. Macbeth sees a dagger floating in the air. Covered in blood ad pointed towards the king's chamber, the dagger represents his bloody course on which Macbeth is about to embark
Later, he sees Banquo's ghost sitting in a chair at a feast, pricking his conscience by mutely reminding him that he murdered his best friend
The seemingly hard-headed Lady Macbeth also eventually gives way to visions as she sleepwalks and believes that her hands are stained with blood that cannot be washed away by any amount of water
In each case, it is ambiguous whether the vision is real or purely hallucinatory, but in both cases, the Macbeths read them uniformly as supernatural signs of guilt
It suggests that something suppressed as though the witches have tapped into something ominous
Parallels to Lady Macbeth
Remember the adjective "
is linked to Gothic literature, death, and in this play even Lady Macbeth
Paradox of "
- suggesting inner turmoil - similar to Lady Macbeth when she uses antithesis
Rhyme - rhyming couplets -
" connects his thoughts and actions
. Sibilance of S emphasises the dark nature of regicide
suggests the extent of his ambitions and yet
does suggest he has a conscience - he knows it is wrong (greater moral evil)
The audience at the time would have believed that the
" controlled fate
Juxtaposition of "fall" and "o'erleap"
Language reflects the future; and fate and his inevitable death for upsetting the hierarchy
Literally overleap means to overeach (oneself) by leaping too far; the flaw of Macbeth is in fact outlined and acknowledged by himself
pertaining to persons so distinguished
belonging to or constituting a hereditary that has special social or political status in a country or state, of a pertaining aristocracy
distinguished by rank or title
ARISTOCRACY - the highest class of certain societies
Noble - adjective
Alternatively, it means exalted mental or moral character - the witches feed his immorality
Connotations of respect and someone admired
It is this very morality which wavers at the outlining of the prophecies and Lady Macbeth's influence
Presenting Macbeth by opinions of others - builds up anticipation to meet Macbeth as his name is the title; the witches mention his name. But this also provides a dramatic contrast because this shows people have respect for Macbeth and this changes significantly when the novel ends.
Synonyms - with warrior, especially
possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance
Making a fine appearance
"too full o' th' milk of human kindness"
His wife knew well this feature in his character, and says of him
From the time that Macbeth met the witches, the evil points in his character assert themselves
also implies that Macbeth needs to be nurtured to commit regicide. It also has connotations of "innocence. It contrasts with the "dark" desires in Act 1 Scene 3
What does it mean to be a man?
She is afraid that although ambitious, Macbeth is not as ruthless as she is. She is afraid that he too kind by nature to do what needs to be done so that he can become King right away
"Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, / And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, / Against the use of nature?
Macbeth questions his very being asking if he should go against nature by killing the king
Human Nature is questioned by the act of murder
Also, he would be going against the natural order by forcing fate
When he is informed that Duncan has made him Thane of Cawdor, he at once gives away the temptation suggested by the words of the witches, and allows his ambitious thoughts to full sway
Macbeth is asking if the prophecies are good, why is it that he finds himself contemplating killing King Duncan, something that terrifies him incredibly because it is such an unnatural thing he wants to do?
This quote pivotally shows us that Macbeth is already contemplating committing regicide to gain the crown
He refers tot he king's murder as
and goes further by expressing his disgust with an image of his hairs standing up on end "doth unfix my hair" and his heart beating his chest "make
my seated heart knock at my ribs"
. The thought of murder makes him feel nervous/ anxious/ worried
Foreshadows the notion that the witches are corrupting Macbeth's morality and the upcoming events and also the detrimental affect / effect the events will have on the protagonist
- naturally something with horror
Juxtaposition of "
" shows the physical beginnings of distress and guilt, interesting phrases "against the use of nature" - hints the immorality of regicide and defying the Great Chain of Being
"We will proceed no further in this business"
His language now mirrors her suggesting a unison between the two. He uses the word a
to refer to the murder in the same way Lady Macbeth is in denial -
"False heart must hide what the false heart doth know"
Juxtaposition between "hide" and "know" shows how appearances and reality are prominent
Sounds like her and mirrors her behaviour
Parallels the serpent and flower quotation. The use of
implies he knows his actions / thoughts are wrong and that he knows that he isn't in line for the throne
Weakness- he goes back on his promise