Macbeth Literary Analysis





In Shakespeare’s lifetime he wrote many plays. Many of them were critically acclaimed
and others cast aside. The crowd always wanted to be more thoroughly entertained and
Shakespeare always tried to keep up with the people’s needs. In 1605, Shakespeare was being
hounded for another work of genius. Hamlet and King Lear had just been completed and the
people begged for more. He knew not of what to write and like many playwrights, he did
research. He found two stories from Hollinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Shakespeare had already taken ideas from Hollinshed for his plays like Henry IV and Henry V.
William decided to combine the reign of Macbeth and the murder of King Duff by Donwald and
his wife, altering both to suit his needs. Macbeth is by far the shortest play that William
Shakespeare wrote. The main reason why this is so is not because Shakespeare did not have
much to say, but because King James was so impatient. Macbeth was written basically for the
king. In fact, the emphasis on witchery was because King James so heavily believed in sorcery.
Shakespeare worried very much about the evil powers insulting the king. After all was said and
done, Macbeth was another barrier to be broken in the great scheme of performances. It was an
instant success. King James and the court loved it along with England. No offenses were made
from Malcolm needing help from England. Shakespeare had feared that James would be
offended. From that moment on Macbeth would be known by all. Yet the people begged for
more and hoped Macbeth would be out done by another astounding play. Shakespeare wondered
how such a task could be accomplished. What was it about Macbeth that made it loved by
everyone? Shakespeare’s style has been analyzed by many and some still can not figure it out.
His poetry has influenced his plays immensely.
Apart from the fascinating characters of the two leading roles, the play’s chief
attraction is it wonderful poetry. Scarcely a word is wasted, and vivid images
tumble after each other in a stream of color and ideas. (Ross 43)
Shakespeare put great thought into what he wanted to write and his feelings expressed
themselves through the stylistic devices of tone, characterization, and symbolism.
Shakespeare’s characterization of Macbeth exonerates the impact he had on the play. The
tone in Macbeth remains sinister and depressing throughout the play. Symbolism, on the other
hand, kept the tragedy in tact, and if understood, revealed the whole play in the very beginning of
her pages.
The character of Macbeth profoundly effects the play, by means of transpiring his actions
to hurt others. If looking at the characteristics of good and evil, it makes the reader wonder what
makes a person good or evil. Evil is not born into people, but it is the only option they have
left.
Three features we have seen stand out clear in the general conception of
Macbeth. There is his eminently practical nature, which is the key to the whole.
And the absence in him of the inner life adds two special features: one is his
helplessness under suspense, the other is the activity of his imagination with its
susceptibility to supernatural terrors...His practical power develops as capacity for
crime...his mind is as scorpions; it is tortured in restless ecstasy. Suspense has
undermined his judgment and brought on him the gambler’s fever...The third
feature in Macbeth is the quickening of his sensitiveness to the supernatural side
by side with the deadening of his conscience...In the reaction from the murder of
Banquo the supernatural appearance-which no eye sees but his own-appears more
real to him than the real life around him. And from this point he seeks the
supernatural, forces it to disclose its terrors, and thrusts himself into an agonized
vision of generations that are to witness the triumph of his foes. (Moulton
335-337)
Moulton knows what he is talking about. Macbeth was heavily influenced by supernatural
forces. In fact, were it not for them he might be living a happy and content life. The witches had
a profound affect on him. He soon found himself in a world where he wanted to know more and
more and the weird women were the only ones who could satisfy his hunger. Macbeth went from
a man who served everyone but himself to a man who served only himself. The one thing that
Macbeth had that meant the most to him was his wife. Lady Macbeth is his world. For