Macbeth Text (Themes/Motifs)

Themes Ambition Impulses and desires(reason vs. passion)Fate vs. FreewillAppearance vs. reality Gender rolesOrder vs. chaos Mental instability
Ambition Ambition drives both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to carry out all the evil and sinister deeds.When not in control or in check, ambition become dangerous for everyone involved. Macbeth describes his ambition for power and glory as ” black and deep desires.
Impulses and desires (reason vs. passion) As an impulse Macbeth kills the servants because he is worried that they would wake up to remember what had happened the night before. This wasn’t originally apart of the plan and wrecks even more havoc in the whole scheme of things.
Fate vs. Freewill Macbeth is skeptical of the witches prediction that he will be king but when he’s given title thane of cawdor he wonders if they are in control of fate.
Appearance vs. reality The more chaos ensues and blood is spilled by the hands of Macbeth the more the line between appearance and reality blurs. Macbeth looses his definition of reality and because he is plagued with such horrible guilt begins to see things that are not real. This includes Banquo’s ghost at the dinner feast, he begins to talk to the bloody ghost that he sees and risks looking completely mad in front all his subjects. It seems that instead of the power and glory making him happy it begins to feel paranoid and extremely unhappy.
Gender roles In the outset of the play, Macbeth is portrayed as a brave and valiant soldier fighting for his king. yet when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth start scheming of Duncan’s death it his her that presumes the dominant role in the relationship and takes control of the situation. This become a reoccurring pattern as power shifts between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth who even says she wishes to be a man.
Order vs. chaos The courts of Scotland had once it lied under control of a just king but as Macbeth rises on the scene chaos erupts in Scotland and it seems as though it is on the brink of destruction.
Mental instability In the beginning Macbeth seems completely sane but as he starts thinking about killing king Duncan he starts seeing things. For example, he saw a floating dagger leading him towards king Duncan right before he killed him. As the story progresses Macbeth’s hallucinations grow to him seeing Banqou’s ghost. Macbeth even describes it having “scorpion”s in his mind.(3.2.38)
Motifs NightSleep Blood TimeHands

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