Macbeth themes, symbols, motifs

Corrupting power provoked by uncontrolled ambition (Theme) ~Macbeth has no morals or constraints~Evil deeds provoked by desire for power – unnatural~Forces himself to kill Duncan and then is drowned in guilt~Ambition oversteps moral boundaries~ Intention: Once violence and malice action are used in strive for power, there is no going back. Things can only get worse.
Blood (Theme) ~Symbolises their guilt. It has stained them and they are unable to wash themselves clean~Vital to life yet shocking to see~Imaginary blood haunts both characters
Regicide ~killing of a king
Relationship between cruelty and masculinity (Theme) ~Gender~Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth through mockery~She makes fun of his manhood and considers cruelty and synonym of masculinity~Wishes she could be ‘unsexed’ because femininity is causing the guilt of their malice actions~Questions the roles of gender at the time – Females seem to arouse all violence~ Intention: To emphasise that gender and the cruelty of ones mind have no correlation. Although the women have the same tendency toward violence as men, it is more bizarre and conspicuous because it is defying societies expectations.
Natural order and Religion (Theme) ~’god bless us’ Macbeth couldn’t say Amen because killing the king is cutting of all ties to god – the natural order~Macbeth’s sins have caused him to distance himself from his relgion
Fate and Free will (Theme) ~The extent to which we control our destinies~At what point does our fate take over our will
Violence (Theme) ~Everything seems to be very striking and violent~Captures the audiences attention~ Emphasises what uncontrolled ambition can do
Visions and Hallucinations (Motif) ~Macbeth and the dagger~Lady Macbeth and sleep walking~Fine line between visions and reality~Hallucinations are a supernatural expression of guilt
Prophecy (Motif) ~The weird sisters~Ambiguity of the prophecies evoke the Macbeth’s uneasiness, and anxiety
‘Shrieking owl’ (Symbol) ~An evil omen that signifies death~The start of all hell breaking loose

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