• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Time in Macbeth and A Winters tale. While on the surface Macbeth and The Winters Tale appear to have nothing in common, the theme of time exposes their surprising similarities.

Extracts from this document...


Lauren Gallegos Prof. Rose English 105B February 21, 2011 Word Count: 1550 Lineal Time in Macbeth and A Winter's Tale William Shakespeare often portrays the element of time as either a destructive or restorative force in his plays. In Macbeth, the tyrant of the play, cuts himself off from time's restorative powers, succumbing to his destruction. In The Winter's Tale, however time serves to heal the wounds of the past. Although very different, the two plays focus on the manipulation of linear time, by connecting it to the disruption of lineal succession. Both Macbeth and The Winter's Tale feature characters frozen in time, unable to move forward until they reconcile with the consequences of their injustices. Time plays a crucial role in Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth. Although the actual term is mentioned in cornucopias amounts, unlike The Winter's Tale, the span of time of the play is ironically omitted. While the tyrannical character of Macbeth comes to reject the notion of time, throughout the play his manipulation of lineal succession, eliminates his ability to move into the future. In the beginning of the play Macbeth appears to respect the aspect of time and allow to "come what come may" (1.3.11). However upon his informative meeting with the three witches, Macbeth "look[s] into the seeds of time" and asserts his dominates over chance. ...read more.


While time comes to a halt when Duncan is murdered, once Macduff slays Macbeth, "time is free", and the rightful heir, Malcolm, restores the lineal succession broken by Macbeth. Macbeth's inability to recognize the power of time, and therefore the consequences of his sins, help solidify his downfall as a tyrannical ruler. While Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale is considered a comedy. Similar to his tragedy Macbeth, The Winter's Tale features an intransigent ruler imprisoned by time as punishment for his disruption of lineal succession. Told over a sixteen year span, the tale of King Leontes, unlike Macbeth is one obsessed with the restorative power of time. However in the beginning of the play it appears as though though Leontes will meet a tragic end similar to Macbeth's. Grief stricken over the destruction of his family, Leontes finds himself incapable of moving forward with his life until he is able to restore his broken linage. After jealously accusing his wife of "sully[ing] the purity and whiteness of his sheets", not only does she die from misery, but his son, Mammilius, and only heir, dies as well (1.2.34). Mammilius, like the witches in Macbeth, represents a dichotomy in time by symbolizing the future and the past of his kingdom. The next lineal successor to the throne, Leontes views Mammilius as the future of Sicily. ...read more.


While on the surface Macbeth and The Winter's Tale appear to have nothing in common, the theme of time exposes their surprising similarities. Both surrounding the lives of kings frozen in time. Macbeth and Leontes each interfere with the lineal succession of their kingdoms stopping the linear succession of time. However, not until the lineal succession is restored in both plays is time allowed to be free. Although time connects Shakespeare's two late plays, there is no denying the overwhelming differences between the two. While The Winter's Tale features a tragic beginning, the final scenes stick to the classic comedic ending, with a final image of prosperity for the future. Macbeth, on the other hand is a model tragedy featuring a tragic hero racing against time and ultimately his death. Both Macbeth and Leontes in their plays lose their wives due to their intransigent behavior, but only Leontes who accepts his sins, is able to regain his wife in the end. Although time plays a major role throughout Macbeth and The Winter's Tale, time actually takes the form of a character in The Winter's Tale, while Macbeth is haunted by prophesies that catalyzes his actions throughout the play. The most striking difference concerning time in the two play is how each character reacts to the notion. While Macbeth comes to ignore time and its power all together. Leontes embraces his punishment for cutting of his lineage, and looks to time as having the ability to restore all of his misfortunes. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    villa; the English patient's burned body Context Michael Ondaatje, poet, filmmaker, and editor, was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in September 1943. He moved to England with his mother in 1954, and then relocated to Canada in 1962, receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and a master's degree from Queen's University in Kingston.

  2. The Female is Nothing But the Body To what extent do you agree with ...

    Edward is oblivious to this fact, but does not ask either. The reader is presented with the morale knowledge that if Edward were perhaps more sensitive, and did not see Florence as a commodity for sex on their wedding night, he would be able to understand the issue much better, perhaps to an extent that they could save their marriage.

  1. Characters similarities in The Mayor of Casterbridge

    Besides, Lucetta is so worried that her 'currency' is nearly expended and that she is no longer 'marketable'. She is concerned that her "cheeks appear worn" and her "once bright eyes dim": "How many years more do you think I shall last before I get hopelessly plain?" she asks ...

  2. The Merchant(TM)s Prologue and Tale

    Interestingly Chaucer increases the reader's sympathy for January by allowing him to express his love for her during the moment that she is most ruthless. The irony is enriched by his reference to her as "trewe deere wyf." When in actual fact she is inviting Damyan into the garden with somewhat equally eloquent gestures.

  1. Vulnerability is one of the key themes that is explored throughout Blakes poetry Songs ...

    "Mind forged manacles" in the second stanza is a metaphor to show how the people of London are chained to their class and living conditions. "mind-forged" would indicate that they are mentally imprisoned this is similar to how the women are in Atwood's novel the fact that they cannot think

  2. Explore the theme of trauma in The Bell Jar and Regeneration

    In both novels, physical responses to trauma, in addition to the psychological responses already discussed, are symbolic of femininity. For example, in The Bell Jar ?the shedding of blood marks major transitions in Esther?s life.?[5] When Marco attempts to rape her, she gives him a bloody nose, and he smears his blood on her like war paint.

  1. Compare and contrast the ways Margret Atwood and William Blake present the power of ...

    from the master-sweep and ?they only serve to those who stand and wait? from the aunts which does set some of their moral in life. The progression between ?The Chimney Sweeper? in innocence to experience presents a more negative tone with a dark semantic field ?weep?, ?death? ?woe? ?misery? Blake?s

  2. How are dystopias portrayed in The Handmaids Tale and 1984?

    Atwood points out that those who created new ideas are always expelled or worse because ?the artists are messy. They don?t fit? In any monolithic regime I would be shot?.[3] ?The Handmaid?s Tale??s ?I used to think of my body as an instrument? denotes how these women are no longer

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work