Shakespeare is a master at creating tragedies. He takes this style to offer people a non-forgiving way of taking charge of their actions; for every bad deed, there is a consequence, and the bad deed will come bouncing back at the person who initiated it. Shakespeare deals with issues that deal with people during his time, but these themes can be applied to people’s way of life even in the contemporary society. In fact, some of Shakespeare’s themes are timeless. Shakespeare succeeds in constructing Macbeth such that the self destruction that results in the end is imminent. He creates a character, Macbeth, who is driven and compelled by ambition. The people in Macbeth’s life do not make these ambitions die, but they, especially Lady Macbeth, add coal to the already blazing fire that finally consumes Macbeth.
Violence in Human Nature
Shakespeare, in Macbeth, explores the theme of violence, and he gives some motivations that lead to this violence. Macbeth is a tragedy and people expect violence to be part of the plot. Duncan starts by uttering works that act as a header to the tragedy. He points to the nature of a man said to be bloody, and Shakespeare answers this question by showing the audience that the bloody man is Macbeth; Macbeth’s actions are the skeleton for the tragedy.
First, Macbeth is an over ambitious man and his ambitions lead to his demise. At the onset of this tragedy, Macbeth has won a war against the forces of Norway and Ireland. Three witches appear and tell Macbeth that he would become the King. One of the witches’ prophesy is fulfilled shortly after, and Macbeth becomes obsessed with the idea of becoming the King. He reveals this to Lady Macbeth and she suggests to Macbeth to kill the King; this will make Macbeth the king as it was prophesied. Macbeth is not patient enough to let the prophesy take its course, but he tries to make the prophesied thing happen as he wants. Therefore, after being challenged by Lady Macbeth, the main character murders the king and blames the servants for the murder (Shakespeare Act I, Scene IV). Later, Macbeth kills the servants so that they do not air their innocence in the murder. Therefore, Macbeth’s ambitions lead him to act in an aggressive manner and he kills a lot of people.
Macbeth’s violence and murders are also driven by the need to cover up for the murders and wrongs already committed. Macbeth commits one murder, and he commits another and another so as to cover up for the initial murder. For instance, Macbeth kills the king, and he also kills the king’s servants so that they do not prove their innocence. Macbeth is ready to go to the great depths to ensure that people do not come between him and his kingship. Therefore, he tries to protect himself by all means. He also plans to kill Banguo so that the witches’ prophesy is not revealed.
The violence in human nature is also revealed through fear. Macbeth fears that the kingship will be taken from him, and so, he kills the people who appear as threats to his Kingship (Shakespeare Act I, scene vii). For instance, Macbeth kills the king’s servants so that they do not reveal that they did not kill the king. The servant’s revelation would have caused suspicion on the side of Macbeth since the king was killed in Macbeth’s house. Macbeth is also aware of the witches’ prophesy about Banguo’s generations taking over the kingship, and Macbeth wants to put this an end; he is ready to kill Banguo and his descendants to make sure that this does not happen. This is because Macbeth’s kingship is threatened by Banguo’s descendants. Therefore, Macbeth sends murderers to kill Banguo, but Fleance, Banguo’s son escapes. Therefore, Macbeth’s kingship is still under threat. The witches also tell Macbeth to be wary of Macduff, and, be driven by fear, so Macbeth kills Macduff’s wife and children (Macduff has already escaped).
Revenge also reveals the violent nature of human beings. This is because the people wounded by Macbeth’s actions are ready to take up arms against Macbeth. King Duncan’s son, Prince Malcolm, wants to take revenge against the murder of King Duncan, and he organizes an army to face Macbeth’s army. This is because Macbeth seized the throne forcefully and killed many people in the process. Therefore, Prince Malcolm is ready to shed blood to avenge his father’s murder (Shakespeare Act II, Scene II). Macduff also wants to even the score on the death of his family. Therefore, he teams up with Prince Malcolm, and they form a strong army against Macbeth. The army advances and overwhelms Macbeth’s army, but Macbeth is still obsessed with the idea that he cannot be murdered by a person born of a woman. However, it is revealed that Macduff had an untimely birth trough caesarean section. Therefore, Macduff is not born of a woman and he kills Macbeth.
Masculinity in this tragedy has also contributed to a lot of violence. For instance, Macbeth is not comfortable with killing the king, but Lady Macbeth questions his manhood and he goes ahead to murder the king. Macbeth also questions the manhood of the assassins he hires to murder Banguo (Shakespeare Act II, scene II). This ensures that the assassins kill Banguo. In so doing, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth equate masculinity with violence and murder; they believe that someone has to let his masculinity take control for him to be capable of killing. Indeed, Macbeth tells his wife that women like her should only give birth to boys (a symbol of masculinity). When Macduff receives news on the murder of his family, Malcolm encourages him to take the news as a man. He also tells Macduff to use this as a fuel to advance his hatred towards Macbeth and use it for revenge.
Tyranny in “Macbeth”
Macbeth engages in acts of tyranny so as to get power. This is because Macbeth does these things to protect his own interests. He is ruled by his over ambitious nature, and he makes sure that nothing comes between him and his ambitions. He also commits a lot of murders to cover up for the wrong he has done in the past. He fails to live to the expectations of a king, since a king should rule peacefully.
Violence is sparked by human nature, and in Macbeth, this is evident by the actions of Macbeth. Macbeth starts a series of murders in the pursuit of his ill ambitions. He is not patient enough to let the prophesy take the lead to his success, and he takes the prophesy captive, he wants it to spearhead the fulfilling of the prophecy. However, Macbeth leads to his own downfall, and he does not get the things he desired to get as the King. Therefore, Shakespeare shows that people should always get what they want in a righteous manner.