Macbeth - Power Shifts Essay

This essay has a total of 971 words and 6 pages.

Macbeth - Power Shifts


DRAMA OFTEN EXAMINES THE WAYS INDIVIDUALS STRUGGLE TO DOMINATE AND/OR MINIPULATE EACH
OTHER. DISCUSS THE TECHNIQUES USED IN ONE OR MORE PLAYS, WHICH DRAW OUT ATTENTION TO THE
POWER SHIFTS BWTWEEN CHARACTERS.




The text Macbeth by famous playwright William Shakespeare portrays a dramatic power
struggle by the careful employment of various literary techniques. "Authority poisons
everybody who takes authority on himself" (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin) aptly describes this
prominent theme of Macbeth. Techniques include symbolism, emotive language, narrative
structure and imagery, which combine to represent the tragic plot portraying the contest
between goodness and evil in Macbeth.


In the tragedy Macbeth emotive language and soliloquy have been employed to emphasize the
struggle for domination between the characters. The main theme of Macbeth, the desire for
power and dominance, is appropriately summarized by the following quote:

"Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other" (I, VII, 54)

The main character, Macbeth, seeks increasing authority influenced by the witches'
prophecies, at any cost. Dramatic language has been successfully portrayed Macbeth's
desire, through the above quote, whereby the search for power and ambition has been
decided. Yet, the result of such ambitious ideals is at risk of resulting in the opposite,
being condemnation. Personification in the form of 'Vaulting ambition" and "itself" has
been employed to aid to the understanding of the exert, combining with dramatic language
which also contributes to the overall impact of the theme. Macbeth lets his "vaulting
ambition" rush fate, hence hasten doom.


The technique symbolism has also been suitably employed to further enhance Macbeth's
struggle for power and dominance, hence the main theme. This may be demonstrated where
Lady Macbeth states:

"What, will these hands ne'ver be clean...!
Here's the smell of blood still..." (V, I, 174)

The apparition of blood on Lady Macbeth's hands, which can not be removed, is symbolic of
her subconscious revealing her 'wrong doing' in previous sections of the text. Even though
Lady Macbeth is no longer influencing her husband towards evil occurrences, the blood is
symbolic of her attempts to aid Macbeth's path towards power and dominance. Blood is
linked to treachery and murder, hence the emphasis on Lady Macbeth's crimes. The struggle
for authority and supremacy has now shifted from Lady Macbeth to her husband, yet her evil
deeds are still prominent in he subconscious mind.


Light and dark imagery have been portrayed throughout Macbeth to aid to the representation
of the main themes of evil opposing goodness. Each detail of Shakespeare's imagery
contains important symbols of the play, which aid the further understanding of the text.
An example of this employment of light and dark imagery is demonstrated in Lady Macbeth's
first invocation to darkness, when she declares:

"Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife sees not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry Hold! Hold! (I, V, 48)

The majority of prominent scenes in Macbeth involve darkness as symbolic imagery, hence
the portrayal of evil. In the above quote "night", "hell" and "dark" are equated to evil;
and "heaven" to goodness. This passage is a clear portrayal of Lady Macbeth's inner
torment in question of their evil deeds, which has been carefully condensed by Shakespeare
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