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How does Shakespeare explore responses to rules and conventions in Macbeth?

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´╗┐How does Shakespeare explore responses to rules and conventions in Macbeth? Shakespeare?s ?Macbeth? is set in the patriarchal society of Scotland 1040. Written as a tribute to King James I in 1606, it was first performed by Shakespeare?s company of actors at court marking the visit of James?s brother-in-law ? King Christian of Denmark. In the play, the rules and conventions of society are broken by Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Motivated by greed and ambition, the previously ?noble? (1.2.70) and ?valiant? (1.2.24) soldier Macbeth, usurps the throne. The supernatural theme, introduced by the witches, plays a big part in influencing Macbeth to break the rules and conventions resulting in chaos, blood, violence, disrupted natural order and tragedy. Treason is a key theme; the original Thane of Cawdor is executed for treason resulting in the witches 1st prophecy coming true. By the end of the play, good is restored by Malcolm (son of Duncan) rightfully retaking the throne after Macbeth is killed by Macduff. To explore the rules and conventions, I will consider how they are broken and their consequences. Firstly, the order is broken when a woman takes the lead. In society, women were expected to raise children, be dutiful and inferior to men, their husbands leading dominantly, both socially and domestically. However, Lady Macbeth breaks this convention as she aspires to be more masculine, calling on spirits to ?unsex? (1.5.40) ...read more.


Sleep is meaningful to Macbeth but he will never be able to rest peacefully after Duncan?s death. The theme of hallucination shown here through the voice, recurs throughout the play symbolising a troubled conscience. By killing a king, he?s isolated from God as emphasised by him frequently repeating ?amen? during the scene. Therefore, if Macbeth had not let Lady Macbeth lead him astray, he may have not killed Duncan and would have remained at peace with himself. Macbeth attempts to regain control of events, making his own decision to kill Banquo, however, this pushes him into paranoia. In the banquet scene, he addresses Banquo?s ghost, ?thou cant not say I did it; never shake thy gory locks at me?. (3.3.53) Lady Macbeth still tries to control the situation by covering up for Macbeth but eventually has to send everyone away. Therefore, he has wrestled back the power, but pushed himself further down the road of destruction. Shakespeare was implying that if a man gets pushed around by a woman, it ends in tragedy which is why the convention was, men had power. The order is broken when a man doesn?t accept his position and role in the order of society. Macbeth breaks the convention of men being loyal to the king, when he thinks about murdering Duncan ? ?My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes?? (1.3.139-140) ...read more.


representing the natural order of the animal kingdom turned upside down as mousing owls aren?t meant to kill falcons like Macbeth isn?t meant to kill Duncan. The clothing imagery describing Macbeth?s title as hanging ?loose about him, like a giant?s robe, upon a dwarfish thief? (5.2.21) implies that his role is too big for him as he can?t fill the responsibilities of a king. To regain order, the English join forces with the Scots to stop Macbeth. This leads on to the ending, where Macbeth refuses to fight when he learns that Macduff was ?untimely ripped from his mother?s womb? (5.8.15) and so goes from being a brave soldier to a coward, discovering that his kingdom was built on prophecies with no foundation, he didn?t have ?charmed life? (5.8.14) and was tricked by the witches. Macduff kills Macbeth as revenge for his family and his love of Scotland, order restored! This shows that Shakespeare was trying to convey that one shouldn?t be tempted by evil or acquire a thrown falsely, as it?s an act against God and the king. In conclusion, we can clearly see that rules and conventions are hugely important to the harmony and stability in Shakespeare?s ?Macbeth? as when these conventions were broken, it resulted in blood, violence, a corrupt kingdom, madness and hallucinations. By displaying this in the play, maybe Shakespeare was trying to show us that conventions were put in society for a reason and so if one gets too greedy or ambitious, this is what could happen to them. ...read more.

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