Macbeth or Macdeath? (Spoilers)!

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Macbeth or Macdeath? (Spoilers)!

Post by wrongturn88 »

So, in my quest to soak up every word the Bard has written, I read Macbeth for my AP Literature course. Right off the bat, the prose is simpler than that of Romeo and Juliet, the other work I had read by Willy Shakes at this point. The play begins with Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, mericlessly murdering a traitor. Then, he and his buddy Banquo chat up some witches (Wyrd Sisters...whatever). The three of them symbolize past, present, and future. To Macbeth, they offer a concrete prediction. He will be promoted to Thane of Cawdor, and then to King of Scotland. (This is called Shakespeare's Scottish play for now obvious reasons.) Banquo's prophecy is much more abstract, but he's not worried. He wonders simply if he and Macbeth had eaten some "special roots". Macbeth immediately jumps to the conclusion that he must murder Duncan, the current king of Scotland.

We are then introduced to, who I can affectionately call, the mother of all craziness. Actually, her name is Lady Macbeth, and she's our dude Macbeth's wife. So she gives this speech after reading a letter from Macbeth informing her of the prophecy he received. She feels he is too womanly to proceed with the acts that he must do to earn the crown. He comes home, and she wastes no time in telling him this.

To make a long story short, Macbeth kills Duncan, Banquo (and attempts to kill his son), a rebel named Macduff's family, and likley many more, all before his wife commits suicide. He then gallantly rides of into the moving forest and dies at the hand of a young boy, leaving the throne open for Malcolm, Duncan's son to take his place. This is not an in-depth review. I actually have some things I would like to discuss regarding the play.

Why is Banquo's prophecy so abstract from the witches to begin with?
How to Banquo and Macduff differ? As they both serve as foils for Macbeth, how are they similar?
What is the purpose of flip-flopping Macbeth and his Lady's personality? Is fate to blame, and is Macbeth crazy enough to try to outsmart it? Additionally, how does their relationship change throughout the play? Do you think they loved each other deeply?
What is the purpose of the three apparitions, and alse Hecate's appearence in Macbeth?
Psyhcologically (including internal and external forces), what factors cause Macbeth to change?

-- 06 Jan 2015, 21:42 --


I think Banquo's prophecy is so complex to show that even though his is not as simple as Macbeth's he pays no mind to it, until later, when he confesses to his son that he has been losing sleep over them. I think he realizes a change in Macbeth and begins to worry for his and his son's sake.

(I will answer the rest later, promise!)

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Post by missjavert »

Hi there! I appreciate your in-depth questions about Macdeath (I'm rather fond of that; let's keep it). I'm an Acting major who loves to be up to her elbows in Shakespeare, so your enthusiasm is so appreciated!

Your discussion point that really made my ears perk up was the question about Macbeth and Lady Mac's relationship. It's one of the most fascinating relationships that our Bard friend wrote, I think. The most obvious shift in their relationship, I believe, is the shift of power. I was almost inclined to say that the power went from Macb to Lady and back again, but I don't know if it's that linear. I think Macbeth and his Lady have a power tug-of-war just as much as Macbeth and Macduff do. Lady MacB starts off with the more dominant, powerful personality, yet it is her husband who has the power. Lady MacB takes the reins, however, so even though MacB wears the crown, we all know that it's Lady MacB who deserves it. When Lady MacB starts to slide into madness, MacB holds the trump card with both his sanity and his status intact. I think the purpose of this flip-flopping, as you called it, serves to illustrate the often corruptible nature of power--a sort of cautionary tale against envy and greed, perhaps. It certainly didn't work out well for either of them in the end.

(I would love to add more, but it's 1:35 a.m. and my brain is powering off. Thanks again for the launchpad, though!)

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Post by Alexavier-Taiga »

I personally believe that Lady Macbeth started off with the power in the relationship, but Macbeth goes against her judgement and keeps things from her, therefor giving the illusion that he is in power.
So many books to read, so little time..

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Post by Laila_Hashem »

I think Banquo's prophecy was meant to be abstract so it would create suspense and an open plotline for the readers. Had it been more specific, his fate may have been more obvious from the start. I believe Macbeth and Macduff are perfect Foils and the question of fate is central to the plotline, but I believe, since the Wyrd sisters are evil, Macbeth and his wife's actions could have been avoided.

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Post by VSuraj »

Ah, Macbeth...takes me back to my school days, this one does!
A lot of what I say here is what I remember from class discussions.
The Weird Sisters; apparently in Shakespeare's time, the word 'weird' had more of a supernatural meaning, like not of our world, otherworldly, etc. So they can know and see things that humans can't, and they wanted to see how events would carry out after telling Macbeth their prophecies.
When Macbeth killed the king, this was considered as an unnatural and unlawful act, and the environment reflected this, so the skies went dark and horses were eating horses, or something like that, and this was only resolved when Macbeth himself was killed and the right heir was restored.
Then Lady Macbeth called upon spirits to give her the strength to murder Duncan, because she believed Macbeth couldn't do it.
What I'm getting at is that there is an underlying supernatural theme throughout the play, with different elements acting upon the characters.
So if you look at the supernatural as a running motif, it can hopefully help with your questions about the Sisters, Hecate, etc.
Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic - J.K. Rowling

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Post by Carolreads30 »

Oh how I remember loving this particular Shakespearean novel. Lady MacBeth and MacBeth are rather interesting characters in a storyline that goes beyond those things that high school students necessarily should read about. I remember we discussed their relationship while reading in school and the one thing that changed the most was the power between the two of them.

I don't think that they truly loved each other, but used one another to broaden their sense of self. I feel as though the characters that Macbeth kills are each a stepping stone to the true power that he believes that he deserves. Each one is just another step along his path as far as he is concerned.

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