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The rise and fall of Macbeth

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Peasants of the early sixteenth century are often pictured carrying a bundle of limbs tied with vines on their backs. This is a perfect metaphor for the events in Macbeth. Macbeth is one of many thanes, or limbs, bundled together. The thanes are united by the king, or the vine. Scotland, or the peasant, carries the bundle by the sweat of his brow. They carry the bundle for fires on cold nights, or wars, and to build homes, or castles, to protect them from the elements, or invaders. If the limbs are tied improperly, one limb may slip to the side and cause the peasant, or nation, to stumble or fall. If the limb slides completely out, the rest of the limbs may follow because the bundle is loose. Marriage is like a triangle. Each spouse makes up one of the leaning sides, and marriage the lower side. The three together are very strong, but to stand they all must be united. The longer a marriage is held the longer the bottom stretches, and the more dependent each person becomes on the other. If one side tries to stand on its own then the second will fall on the first as it tries to stand. This metaphor also excellently exemplifies the catastrophe that occurs in Macbeth as both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth try to separate. Macbeth is a eighteenth century play written by William Shakespeare. ...read more.


Unlike Lady Macbeth, Macbeth is almost strong enough to complete the task without Lady Macbeth. "He is driven to the murder of Duncan partly by the constant goading of Lady Macbeth and partly by his own will to be in control of Scotland:" he feels power is strength (Watkins 29). His strength comes from multiple places. It comes from his strength as a warrior, from the witches' revelations, and from self denial of his dependence on the first two (I, iii, 49-50). Macbeth is still not completely independent from his wife in that he is unable to complete the task and "carry them [the daggers], and smear the sleepy grooms with blood" (II, ii, 48-56). The scene is painful in the way it separates husband and wife. Crime had at first brought them closely and eagerly together, but now they discover how the execution of the crime separates them...In fact, after the murder they can only speak in short sentences, not communicating or even answering questions. (Jorgensen 67) Although he blames his rage on the grooms for killing Duncan, he was actually mad at himself for committing the murder. Not until he kills the grooms with his regret does Macbeth become totally independent from the thanes and slide from the bundle of limbs (II, iii, 108-19). The action of killing the chamber servants was the first action which Macbeth does totally independent of Lady Macbeth: he does not even mention killing the chamber servants to her: A stranger to himself and to others, ...read more.


She also began to realize the wickedness of her sin for she said, "all the perfumes of Arabia will not [could not] sweeten this hand" (V, I, 53-5). The fight in her mind is too hard so she kills herself. She leaves Macbeth with the rest of his subjects. Many of Macbeth's soldiers are deserting him, and he gets his wish: to be independent of others (V, iii, 1). He thinks he is independent, but, in reality, he supports himself on the revelations of the apparitions for he frequently repeats "until Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane" and "was he not born of woman?" (V, iv, 60; V, iii, 3). In the end, Macbeth dies because everything he used for strength was gone. As soon as Macbeth dies and reunites with Lady Macbeth, the thanes are reunited by Malcolm who has the qualities to make a good leader and to keep the thanes together. The suffering that Scotland had endured ended because "All Hail, king of Scotland" (V, viii, 59). "The passions are directed in their true end. Lady Macbeth is merely detested; and though the courage of Macbeth preserves some esteem, yet every reader rejoices at his fall" (Johnson 484). In the end, Macbeth is independent, because he does not rely on his wife and he does not rely on the witches. Since the nation was restored to order, his death was for the better. "The universe that struck was more impressive" so he crumbled with lack of strength. ...read more.

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