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Irony in Macbeth

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Irony: ... an event or result that is the opposite of what is expected. Many situations in Macbeth have unexpected results that are deemed as ironic. Lady Macbeth, the one who originally was labeled as evil becomes frail and weak, and succumbs to the madness that she is driven to by her guilty conscience. Macbeth the one who was so hesitant is now ruled by his greedy, murderous, impulsiveness. Macbeth was once a loyal, valiant soldier who appreciated the King. He then turns his trust and fate into the hands of the supernatural and starts increasingly putting his need for guidance of what he should do, and what will become of him, into the hands of three witches. He starts committing evil acts of murder out of what he feels is his best interest but also out of irrational impulsiveness. Lady Macbeth, initially, makes herself out to be evil "Lady Macbeth: ...Come, you spirits/ That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me, from the crown to the toe top-full/ Of direst cruelty!" (William Shakespeare I.v.43-46). She then backs down with many excuses when it comes down to performing the task of murdering Duncan. ...read more.


Lady Macbeth calls to the supernatural to take her feminine character and replace it with evil. One can see Lady Macbeth's desperation to become all that is not considered to be womanly weaknesses in the quote " ...Come, you spirits/ That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,/ And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full/ Of direst cruelty!" (I.v.43-46), here it is seen that she is calling on the supernatural to make her evil. She also states, while progressing with getting the soldiers drunk, "That which hath made them drunk hath/ made me bold; ..." (II.ii.1-2), the alcohol has given her a sense of newfound bravery and strength. Lady Macbeth makes excuses, to Macbeth, as to why she was unable to bring herself to murder Duncan. Lady Macbeth, on the arrival of Macbeth to the court, immediately starts to talk about what she has done to help the murder go as planned but makes excuses as to why she could not kill Duncan "...Had he not resembled/ My father as he slept, I had done't." (II.ii.16-17) Lady Macbeth expects her husband to do something that not even she was able to bring herself to accomplish. ...read more.


A little water clears us of this deed:..." (II.ii.85) Now she spends sleepless nights attempting to wash the imaginary blood away. Lady Macbeth who seemed powerful in the beginning let her life be shattered by haste and greed, as the once seemingly weaker Macbeth rose into a monster. Irony takes many forms through out the play, not only to create dramatic effect, but also to show the uprising of Macbeth through his newfound evilness, and the downfall of Lady Macbeth as she descends further and further into the insanity brought on by her eagerness for Macbeth to become King by any means necessary. Once a loyal, well liked Nobleman, Macbeth, in a simple run in with the supernatural turned into a hated, unworthy, King. Lady Macbeth's external bravery in planning the murder is then proved to be an act when faced with the real situation and not just the scenario. Evil can be easily transferred, and as it progresses it is easy to see who has enough strength to be able to deal with the torture of the guilt. Through the irony of the changes in Macbeth, one is able to relate to how easy it can be to be engulfed in horror yet be blinded by the desire of wanting, and needing more for no other reason than personal gain. ...read more.

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