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‘Macbeth’ is a play about the universal themes of ambition and greed and the battle between good and evil. How far does the imagery help to illuminate these things?

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Introduction

'Macbeth' is a play about the universal themes of ambition and greed and the battle between good and evil. How far does the imagery help to illuminate these things? Shakespeare wrote 'Macbeth' at the beginning of the Jacobean period, around 1605. This was the era in which James the first and sixth of Scotland ruled ruled. James the first was separated from his Catholic Mother, Mary Queen of Scotts and ultimately Protestants brought up James. During this time, the Gunpowder Plot took place; this of course was an attempted treason act against against James by a Catholic group, Guy Fawkes included. So at this time Shakespeare writing a play on treason was highly topical. People of this time strongly believed in the 'Divine Right of Kings', people believed that as well as the death of the king, there is death to natural order. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth is a play where atmosphere and setting plays a very important part in the play. The play starts with the Witches, which is at a desolate place with thunder and lightning. This is first of all a pathetic fallacy because of the weather being so bad and the hideous appearance of the witches. This scene also gives us the first sign of the supernatural. The witches are the main source of the evil and supernatural in the play and they also give an impression of fear, horror and mystery. It is important of them to start the play, as they are the catalysts for all Macbeth's decisions, so obviously they affect the play quite a lot. They can foretell the future, defy the laws of nature and change the weather. But their powers are ambiguous; they have to answer to Hecate. ...read more.

Conclusion

With his wife�s cajoling, and the three witches� foretelling of his future Macbeth, will stop at nothing to gain position as King of Scotland. The witches and their prophecies are the first major influence on Macbeth�s actions. Macbeth, Thane of Glamis is content with his position, until the three witches tell him, "hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor, thou shalt be King hereafter." After hearing this, Macbeth and Banquo, his loyal friend, find out that King Duncan has named Macbeth "Thane of Cawdor." They contemplate about how the rest of the prophecy will come true. The witches also advise them that Banquo�s son would be King one day. Macbeth writes a letter to Lady Macbeth explaining what has happened. Lady Macbeth powers his ambition for him. This is how Shakespeare portrays women, at this time. He describes them to be temptresses and that women are the route of all evil their to trick men. This is closely referred to from Adam and Eve, when Eve tempts Adam into eating the apple. ...read more.

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