“Macbeth” is one of the most important tragedies by Shakespeare. The central theme is regicide and the involving incidents before and after the crime. It is the shortest tragedy among Shakespeare’s works.
Though Macbeth was a real king in Scotland there is no historical relevance to the actual king and Shakespeare’s portrayal for dramatic uses. The original King Macbeth of Scotland was much admired and ruled for long.
Shakespeare just took the name, era and location but no real significance to the actual king. The regicide involves King Duncan of Scotland whose favorite vassals were Macbeth and Banquo. They were appreciated and honored for their bravery by the generous king.
Duncan has been shown as the ideal king who guarded his land and people with paternal care and love. The turn of events take place with supernatural forces stoking and instigating Macbeth’s underlying ambitions. Along with the supernatural forces Lady Macbeth’s seething ambitions and persuasive actions egg on Macbeth to commit the crime and then layer blood upon layer in order to get to the top of power.
He gets blinded and consumed with greed and hunger for power and loses himself in the absolute whirlwinds of alienation and obsessive madness. The Three Witches or the macabre characters of the dark, supernatural instigate Macbeth to follow through the recess of his ambitions. Lady Macbeth’s instigations further allure him to bring harmful effects to others, later leading to even more murders.
The witches’ prophecies become self fulfilling for Macbeth and they entwine him into the trap for his doom without making him aware of the perils he was undertaking.The play is an insight into the considerations of fate, human freewill and the power of active choices. The conflicting images of the kind ruler as opposed to that of the tyrant and the overall call for justice are some of the most important issues that have been dealt with in Macbeth.
The ideals of the Christian just ruler and pagan conceptions of ruling have also been shown to be at crossroads with the mysterious incidents that led to Macbeth’s downfall.
The pagan or the occult power as opposed to the humane and considerate Christian tenets to appropriate ruling of a state have played important roles in explaining the psychoanalytical approach of the characters and their intentions. Overall we could see Macbeth as part of a greater conspiracy where his feeble self control, willpower and overriding ambitions take the toll on him and the lives of those around him. “Macbeth” thus becomes a test of the will as opposing to the issue of succumbing to the lust for power.
On being compared with “Antony and Cleopatra”, it can be noted that both Antony and Macbeth were seekers of the new world.
But the very difference is that Antony sought glory and a new ordination while Macbeth only saw power and unquenchable thirst for being the unquestionable monarch for as long as he lived. Though Antony was headstrong he was generous and had serious concern for people’s wellbeing. Macbeth has been an absolute tyrant and saw no reasons or rhymes to welfare. For both characters though there is a nemesis present and both of them have been led by seers.
For Antony it was Octavius and for Macbeth it was Banquo. Lastly both characters have been desperate to satisfy their egotistic lady loves.
They have remained devoted and even submissive to their powerful lady loves.