full title · The Tragedy of Macbeth
author · William Shakespeare
type of work · Play
genre · Tragedy
language · English
time and place written · 1606, England
date of first publication · First Folio edition, 1623
publisher · John Heminges and Henry Condell, two senior members of Shakespeare’s theatrical company
tone · Dark and ominous, suggestive of a world turned topsy-turvy by foul and unnatural crimes
tense · Not applicable (drama)
setting (time) · The Middle Ages, specifically the eleventh century
setting (place) · Various locations in Scotland; also England, briefly
protagonist · Macbeth
major conflicts · The struggle within Macbeth between his ambition and his sense of right and wrong; the struggle between the murderous evil represented by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and the best interests of the nation, represented by Malcolm and Macduff
rising action · Macbeth and Banquo’s encounter with the witches initiates both conflicts; Lady Macbeth’s speeches goad Macbeth into murdering Duncan and seizing the crown.
climax · Macbeth’s murder of Duncan in Act 2 represents the point of no return, after which Macbeth is forced to continue butchering his subjects to avoid the consequences of his crime.
falling action · Macbeth’s increasingly brutal murders (of Duncan’s servants, Banquo, Lady Macduff and her son); Macbeth’s second meeting with the witches; Macbeth’s final confrontation with Macduff and the opposing armies
themes · The corrupting nature of unchecked ambition; the relationship between cruelty and masculinity; the difference between kingship and tyranny
motifs · The supernatural, hallucinations, violence, prophecy
symbols · Blood; the dagger that Macbeth sees just before he kills Duncan in Act 2; the weather
foreshadowing · The bloody battle in Act 1 foreshadows the bloody murders later on; when Macbeth thinks he hears a voice while killing Duncan, it foreshadows the insomnia that plagues Macbeth and his wife; Macduff’s suspicions of Macbeth after Duncan’s murder foreshadow his later opposition to Macbeth; all of the witches’ prophecies foreshadow later events.
by BookWorm189, March 20, 2013
“Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover through the fog and filthy air”
One of the main themes rampant in Macbeth is that of deception. There is a disconnect between appearance and reality. Hypocrisy is everywhere and what is good for one person may be bad for others in the play.
The first scene of the play highlights this. We are introduced to the witches, who speak in ambiguous equivocations. The quote “Fair is foul…filthy air” portrays that what is ‘fair’ or good or wholesome for humans is ‘foul’ or unwh... Read more→
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