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Themes of Macbeth Introductory investigation for Macbeth essay assignment
Reminders as you begin your essay Essays with no thesis statement will not be graded. Do the work to find a good one, and your paper will practically write itself! –An acceptable thesis statement meets ALL of the following criteria: It is arguable—does more than state the obvious. It presents a CLAIM that you will support with your essay. Someone else could potentially write on the same general topic with a very different message. That is what it means to be arguable. It is interesting. If you are bored, your reader will be bored. Write about something that is complex and captures your attention. Organize your paragraphs strategically and logically –Each paragraph should support one main point that directly supports your thesis statement. –Paragraphs should have identifiable topic sentences. Suggestions: cause and effect situations and compare/contrast situations. THEN merge the two concepts—compare and contrast, then look at the consequences and results of the similarities and differences. –Remember to gather your raw material before you write. Develop your thesis statement and find the evidence that supports it before you write your first paragraph.
Notes from Theme Presentations
Guilt/Regret What cannot you and I perform on the unguarded Duncan, what not put upon his …officers…shall bear the guilt of our great quell-Lady Macbeth –She persuaded M to kill D using guilt –Cast guilt upon the guards I am afraid to think what I have done…look on’t again I dare not – MacB –He is regretting murdering Duncan All is but toys, renown and grace is dead –Macbeth feels regret, guilt? Act 2 scene 3 Macbeth shows no guilt over killing Macduff’s family, when he should have –Until he is about to die, he has been caught –Of all else I have avoided [Macduff] My soul is too stained with blood of thine already. (Act 5 scene )
Macbeth’s Sanity Witches- are they really real? Were they imagined? Hallucinations- dagger, which leads him to kill the king immediately after the hallucination--- he could plead insanity in today’s court system Banquo’s ghost– Macbeth has lost his mind –Hyper-focuses on Macduff…paranoia Is insanity relevant to murdering children? (Fleance, Macduff’s kids) Killing spree-paranoia again, sanity forcast not so great. Regains sanity at final moments of life, knows his time is come and he does not want to add Macduff to his list of casualties. Thought he was safe because he couldn’t be killed (based on the witches predictions)
Lady Macbeth’s Sanity When she reads the letter from macbeth, she starts to lose her sanity, knowing that she is going to have to help Macbeth mnurder the king Persuades Macbeth that killing the king is the right thing to do Planning to kill the king, her insanity begins. Suicide—she has lost the battle
Nature When the witches are present, thunder and lightning accompany them, symbolizing their danger? The day after Duncan’s death was unnaturally dark, symbolizing the “death of light” Macbeth’s hands are as bloody as a sea of red blood…the blood is unnaturally attached to his (and Lady Macbeth’s hands) Duncan’s horses go crazy and kill each other, representative of people (according to Ross) without a king, they go to war and fight each other senselessly Macbeth and Nature –When he didn’t want to kill Duncan –He had guilt for killing Duncan—that is natural –Hallucinated Banquo’s ghost b/c of his guilt –Knew he could not become King by chance & the thought of becoming King by other means scared him –UNNATURAL: -by the end, he kills Macduff’s family without being bothered -wanted to stay in a daze to avoid natural feelings in reaction to his murders
Lady Macbeth’s Nature I do fear thy nature is too full of the milk of human kindness (Lady M fears that Macbeth’s NATURE is too NATURAL) Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here (she wants evil spirits to turn her into…not a woman) Come to my woman’s breast and take my milk for gall (poison) She says she would rather dash a baby’s brains out than go back on the plan for murdering King D.
Ambition Macbeth –“normal” ambition in the beginning…thane of glamis. After he is awarded Thane of Cawdor, his ambition is uncontrollable? –Malcom is named as the Prince and heir to the throne, so Macbeth realizes his ambition will take a murderous leap –When honor is dominant, ambition is in control, but when ambition begins to take over, honor is rejected (or, when honor is rejected, ambition is in control) Lady Macbeth –She receives the letter about the witches prophesy and begins to find ways to make it happen –Places the bloody daggers on the guards to take guilt off Macbeth –Faints (fake) to take attention away from Macbeth’s guilt –Covers for Macbeth while he is freaking out about Banquo’s ghost
Destiny/chance Lady Macbeth takes it on herself to make sure that macbeth achieves his destiny of becoming King –Shouldn’t destiny make itself happen? Does Macbeth forget to leave the daggers on the guards because it is his destiny to fail? Chance occurrences: Macduff arriving in the middle of the night to see the king Fleance escapes Murderers arriving to tell Macbeth about Banquo’s death immediate at the beginning of the banquet Blood will have blood