By close reference to incident and language comment on and illustrate the truth of this statement. Macbeth is a story of honour, betrayal, treachery, greed, power and most importantly evil. The story is a tragedy, which from the start indicates there will not be many happy moments or joking. It is the story of a man corrupted by evil, (and his wife! ), and driven by his greed for success. There is murder and bloodshed throughout the play and its dark imagery portrays a disturbing image of those hungry for power.
The atmosphere of the play is tense from the very first scene as we see three `weird sisters’ gathered together. This part of the play is set on a moor, which is a wasteland area. The weather also plays an important part in setting the scene and atmosphere; there is thunder and lightning. The setting of the moor and the stormy weather give an image of a deserted place in the middle of nowhere, giving a feeling of deep tension and anticipation to find out what is happening.
In this scene, the language the witches use also makes them appear to be associated with evil, “I come, Graymalkin! his is one of the witches answering what appears to be a call from someone or something, most probably from the underworld.
Graymalkin is a grey cat, in the Elizabethan times cats were considered to be animals that were evil, they were usually associated with witches so the fact that the witches in the play are going when `Graymalkin’ calls makes them seem to be part of an evil or dark way of life.
In the second scene of the first act there are not many pieces of text that can be interpreted into evil but there are lines of the play that do give us an impression of the lead character.
This scene is set just fter a huge battle that took place in Scotland. A sergeant is describing to King Duncan how Scotland won the battle, he tells of the bravery of Macbeth and Banquo, two best friends and fighting partners, and how the increasing number of the enemy did not daunt them. Imagery of the battle is described to the King and the gory ways in which Macbeth killed the enemy are used, “Till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps, And fix’d his head upon our battlements.
Act 1 Scene 3 returns to the witches again and is a very dark scene. It opens with the witches gathering once more and telling ach other of the separate activities they have been up to. One witch told the others she had been killing swine, which doesn’t give pleasant thoughts about these `women’. The next story they tell shows a certain ruthlessness about the witches and shows they can be spiteful and vindictive over the most ridiculous things. They plan on drowning a sailor because his wife refused to give one of the witches a chestnut.
When Macbeth and Banquo enter this scene the dark atmosphere is heightened by the witches as they gather around and start chanting, this would be quite confusing for the two friends and their puzzlement hows, “What are these, So wither’d and so wild in their attire, that look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth and yet are on `t? ” The witches then associate themselves with evil as they prophecies the futures of the two men, this scares Macbeth because they know who he is and their supernatural powers worry him.
Further references to the witches in this scene by Banquo show that he believes they are part of something dark and evil. He calls the witches `instruments of darkness’ and when the first prophecy for Macbeth comes true he says, “What! Can the devil speak true? ” In the fourth scene of the first act Macbeth’s downward spiral into a world of dark and evil and an atmosphere of shadow and mystery is present as Macbeth gives a small insight into his mind. He seems worried about the thoughts he has after the announcement that Malcolm, Duncan’s son will become heir to the throne.
The idea of murder is playing on his mind and he seems unwilling to let those thoughts come through, “Let not light see my black and deep desires. ” The dark side of Macbeth is fully released once Lady Macbeth is introduced into the play. In the letter she is reading from Macbeth e calls her his ` dearest partner in greatness. ‘ This certainly is the case near the beginning of the play as she is the most influential person in Macbeth’s life and the main reason for his downfall, but later on in the play she fades away with every passing moment and she seems tortured and tormented by what she has done until her ultimate demise.
At this point, however, she knows that Macbeth will not consider taking the quickest way to the throne and so follows a very dark passage in which she calls upon demons and spirits to make her ruthless enough to drive Macbeth, Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty. ” Straight after this scene we are presented with a great contrast as Duncan and his servants arrive at Macbeth’s castle. They talk of how pleasant the air is and how the castle is in a good location.
To emphasise the darkness of the characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and what they plan on doing Duncan talks of how a house martin, a bird that normally nests in churches, approves of the castle because of its pleasant singing. This is a very ironic scene that heightens the atmosphere greatly. When Macbeth finally allows himself to think of the murdering of Duncan he has visions of how everyone would react to the death of their `Saintly’ king and realises that by killing him he would take a step up but this act of treachery would lead to his ultimate fall.
This is a powerful scene that shows that Macbeth does have a conscience and a great sense of rationality. Sadly for Macbeth he was also greatly nai?? ve and he allowed himself to be corrupted by the nearly demonic Lady Macbeth as she curses him with all her effort and questions his manhood. She shows how cruel she would be by escribing the sickening things she would do for power, “I have given suck, and know how tender `tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash’d his brains out, Had I so sworn as you to have done this.
This is quite a disturbing and memorable image to that gives a great idea of what Lady Macbeth’s lust for power has driven her to. In the second act there is a great atmosphere of tension as anticipation to Duncan’s murder grows. Banquo seems on edge, similarly, so does Macbeth. The witches’ prophecies seem to have been n the minds of both men and has driven the two best friends apart. They both seem wary of each other and when in conversation it is very brief, with short answers and questions asked my both men.
There is a bitter irony in this scene as Banquo hands over a gift from Duncan to Macbeth for Lady Macbeth; Duncan gives the diamond to Lady Macbeth with the name, `most kind hostess’, not knowing it was she who planned his murder. Macbeth’s image of a good and honourable man is finally killed off in this part of the play as he prepares himself for the murder of Duncan. As Macbeth speaks to himself he uses dark and evil language that, ombined with his lack of sorrow and lack of compassion increases the sense of evil in the play up to this point.
Macbeth is so engrossed with his search for power that he has visions of a dagger leading him to Duncan’s room and he shows some sort of sense of wicked humour when the signal bell is sounded. “I go, and it is done; the bell invites me. Hear it not Duncan; for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven, or to hell. ” The atmosphere and sense of evil are made more so by the nest scene between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. He still has blood on him from the murder of Duncan, which indicates the gruesome task he has erformed and leaves evidence of the crime that will haunt Lady Macbeth, at least, for the rest of the play.
Macbeth lets the initial weakness he had come through again when he shows remorse for what he had done but this human side of him is quickly dismissed by Lady Macbeth whose ruthless ability allows her to take control of the situation. In any tragedy the atmosphere is bound to be very dark and frightful at times and Macbeth is no exception. The evil has been increasing rapidly with each passing scene and a welcome break in the play offers some amusing parts and allows the atmosphere to decrease lightly so everyone is not constantly tense and on the edge.
After the short break from all the tension Duncan’s murdered body is then discovered and there is a frantic rush in the scene whilst everyone panics and are confused. Many people suspect Macbeth already for the murder. To make the murder seem like a totally unnatural occurrence of life there is a scene in which an Old Man talks to Ross. They discuss strange events that took place on the night of the murder and a part of Elizabethan superstition comes into play when the strange behaviour in the animal world is linked with the errible disaster in the human world.
‘Tis unnatural, Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last, A falcon, towering in her pride of place, Was by a mousing owl hawk’d at and kill’d. ” This is just one of the strange stories that make the murder of Duncan seem more unnatural and evil. Also, it was said that Duncan’s horses ate each other, which is a sickly thought to behold. After the murder of Duncan there is an air of suspicion surrounding Macbeth and he can sense that so he feels he must start abusing the power bestowed upon him by killing off anyone he feels is a threat to him.
Macbeth seems to have lost control of all reasoning he may have once had and decides to try and kill off Banquo, at one time his best friend, and Banquo’s son, Fleance. This would end the prophecy the witches Banquo was told by the witches, as he would have no descendants who could be King if Macbeth killed him and his son. This plan of Macbeth’s shows how ruthless he can be and is no longer dependent on the leadership of his wife, who is sinking into a deeper depression and is going slowly going mental because she can’t cope with what she has done.
The play has a very dark feel to it now and there is no turning back or Macbeth. His character has changed into a power monger surrounded by his yes men and servants. He is desperate to know more about what the future holds for him and so he goes back to the witches. Macbeth demands they show him his future and he likes what he is told. The witches tell him that he has no need to fear any man woman born. This is a twisted truth though as we find out later when it is revealed Macduff was caesarean born.
This meeting with the witches is a particularly dark scene with lots of other half-truths told to Macbeth by the witches. After this part of the play follows one of the most brutal acts Macbeth has ordered. This part may well be the darkest and most evil act in the play. After Ross has left Lady Macduff she is with her son. This is a warm family scene of tenderness between mother and son as she tries to explain about his father. Just then a messenger comes in to try and warn Lady Macduff that danger is approaching but the warning is t00 late as a murderer comes in and kills the child.
This brutal act shows how far Macbeth is prepared to go and makes him appear to be a man to be taken seriously. This scene not only increase Macbeth’s image, it also increases the depths of dark and evil the lay has gone into and at this point the atmosphere is very heavy as the audience prepare for the final stages of the play. The final scene that contains any real parts of the past evil goings on is act 5 scene 1 in which we see Lady Macbeth being observed by a doctor and a gentlewoman.
Lady Macbeth has been under a lot of stress and pressure and the deadly deeds she has been parts of finally caught up with her and have caused her to walk and talk in her sleep. She once declared that, “A little water will clear us of this deed. ” When talking to Macbeth about the blood on him from Duncan’s murder. However, in her sleep she ays, “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. ” She is reliving the murder of Duncan and cannot function properly.
The evil spirits she once called upon to make her ruthless now seem to have abandoned her and she cannot cope with what has gone on in her life. Shortly after this the final battle is played out and Macbeth realises he cannot win once he finds out how Macduff was born, yet he refuses to give in and goes into the fight at least trying to keep what little dignity and respect he may have. Once Macbeth is killed it lifts all the tension out of the play and the restoration of ormal ways seems to be in place.
The dark and evil days of Scotland are behind it and so are the days of reign by the tyrannous Macbeth. The life of a man who was once honourable is over and so dies with him the pain and suffering he has caused the people who were around him. Macbeth was a man corrupted by his greed and the drive of his wife, he knew before he murdered by Duncan he would fall afterwards yet he still allowed himself to continue what he didn’t want to do because of Lady Macbeth’s convincing speeches that made him feel worthless and useless for being a good man.