The play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, tells the story of a brave man, called Macbeth, who killed his way to the throne. In doing so, he brings about his own downfall. The description of Macbeth from “brave, valiant cousin and worthy gentleman” and that of his wife “honoured hostess” changes to “dead butcher and his fiend like queen”. This change is due to the receiving of prophecies, ambition and greed and desire. The play explores themes, including power, ambition and guilt.
In the beginning of the play Macbeth is a “brave, valiant cousin and worthy gentleman”, near the end of the play he turns into a “dead butcher”. This is a result of receiving three prophecies from a group of witches, who give him these prophecies in order to play and toy with him. “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis”, “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor”, All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter”. These prophecies, given to Macbeth by the witches address the theme of fate as they tell the audience what is going to happen to Macbeth in the course of the play.
A technique used in this moment is foreshadowing. This is the scene in the play that informs the audience what the play is going to be about and what is going to happen. It also displays repetition as the prophecies all start with “All hail Macbeth”. These prophecies show the beginning of the downfall of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth towards becoming “dead butcher and his fiend like queen”, because without the prophecies Macbeth would’ve never killed King Duncan to become King.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s spiral towards becoming tragic heroes involves them changing from “brave valiant cousin and worthy gentlemen” and “honoured hostess” to “dead butcher and his fiend like queen”. The moment when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plan to kill Duncan is a pivotal part of the play. “We will proceed no further in this business”. This shows how honourable Macbeth was at the start of the play and how much he changed throughout the play. “Valuating ambition which o’erleaps itself”.This quote displays how Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were overcome with a sense of ambition and greed. The audience can start to see how Macbeth is changing and how Lady Macbeth is the stronger one in the relationship at that point. Macbeth is hesitant but through Macbeth’s manipulation they come up with a plan to murder the King. Personification is used to describe a feeling of ambition come over both of them. Ambition is the main theme used here because it marks the first time the audience sees the ambition in the characters and their view on them definitely changes here.Betrayal versus trust is another theme used in this moment as Macbeth and Duncan are vey close and are cousins and he is planning to murder him and betray the trust between them. Here, the audience sees the shift in their characters from “brave, valiant cousin and worthy gentleman” and “honoured hostess”, towards “dead butcher and his fiend like queen”. Near the end of the play, before the battle where Macbeth is killed, Lady Macbeth commits suicide as a result of the guilt that has accumulated from causing so many deaths.Before this, she starts sleepwalking; sleep talking and writing murder confessions. “Out, damned spot! Out, I say! ” At this moment the audience can get a real insight into the change of Lady Macbeth due to her guilty conscience. The use of repetition suggests that all she is thinking about all the blood she has caused and is continually trying to get rid of it. The power struggle of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is conveyed here because it shows how they could not handle the power knowing how they gained it in the first place.Guilt is very prevalent in this moment and is the main reason for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth becoming a “dead butcher and his fiend like queen”. It is evident from the above discussion that throughout the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s descriptions of “brave, valiant cousin and worthy gentleman” and “honoured hostess” change and become “dead butcher and his fiend like queen” due to the ambition and greed that they possess. These themes of ambition and greed influences them to kill their way to the throne, which results in the guilt eating them up and leads to their downfall.