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Why do you think that most of the actions in Macbeth take place in the dark?

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Why do you think that most of the actions in Macbeth take place in the dark? Macbeth is a play which describes to the audience how a good person can change and lose all his values and beliefs in the course of five acts. Being a tragedy, Macbeth shows us, the audience how Macbeth was tempted by power to become dark and evil and reach his destruction in the end. I suppose that at different times of the play Macbeth can be considered as a hero and as a coward. Seeing him in the beginning he is referred to as "noble Macbeth" by King Duncan after having saved Scotland in the battle. However, later on in the play, we come to see him as the man who has caused Scotland unbelievable anguish and annihilation. After closely scrutinising the play in detail, I have come to see that there are various times in which the characters (usually in their soliloquies) tell the audience exactly what darkness represents. When Macbeth hears of the witches' prophecies and later finds out that Malcolm is crowned "Prince of Cumberland", he calls out to the stars, which is an obvious source of light to "hide [their] fires, let not light see [his] dark and deep desires". This clearly shows that if there was light, which in this case are the stars, then Macbeth's evil thoughts would be seen by everyone, and so, knowing that he will have dark/evil desires, he prays for them not to be observed. ...read more.


After performing the "deed" in the end of Act 2, Scene 2, Lady Macbeth reassures her husband that everything will be okay. When Macbeth is horrified at the sight of blood on his hands, Lady Macbeth tells him that her "hands are of [his] colour, but [she] shames to wear a heart so white". This is a very strong point that I came across because Lady Macbeth, in her own words describes how if she had a "heart so white" it would mean that she feels guilty and is innocent. The fact that white represents light and so represents purity and goodness shows me that Lady Macbeth does not have an ounce of goodness in herself and that she would rather have a black and dark heart than a white and pure one. When the murderers are killing Banquo, they ask "who put out the light?", as I can see, this is very ironic. We all knew that Banquo was a good man. We've established that light represents goodness and hence, before Banquo is killed, the "light" is still "on", when he is murdered, the "light goes out". This shows that in Act 3, Scene 3, the "light" that the murderers were talking about can either mean the light from the torch or the light of goodness coming from Banquo. I think that darkness also represents difference between appearance and reality. It shows that nothing is clear to Macbeth because of how dark he has become. At the banquet when Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost, he calls it a "horrible shadow" though it isn't even real. ...read more.


Light is the presence of good and God, whereas evil allows corruption and hatred to creep in. I think that not only was Shakespeare trying to get us to realise what darkness really symbolises, but to also allow it to have an effect on us. Clearly, we, being the audience are able to see that since most of the actions in Macbeth take place in the dark, we are able to feel that evil is approaching. Hence, when the audience notes that the scene is taking place in the dark, this affects them because they are able to sense the evil that's approaching. Therefore, darkness affects the audience immensely because the audience are able to distinguish the fact that the actions taking place in front of them are in fact wicked. Also, since most of the actions take place in the dark, the audience get a sense of the change in the mood and atmosphere of the whole play and again, they are able to feel the evil coming up. In conclusion, I think that most of the actions in Macbeth take place in the dark because darkness represents evil, suspicion, superstition, terror, fear and death; this helps the audience distinguish these facts when watching the play. Therefore, being a tragedy as it is, in Macbeth nearly all the events take place in the dark and are connected to darkness because the play shows the rise and fall of a once shinning hero who became tempted by evil and became a "black" and "devilish" corruptor. Zainab Milani Macbeth Coursework Miss Naji ...read more.

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