English Literature Notes

English Literature

Salvation and Damnation Theme

Salvation And Damnation Theme Notes

Indeed, the story of Macbeth is that of a man who acquiesces in his damnation - in part because he cannot utter words that may attenuate his crime.

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Ambition and Temptation

Ambition And Temptation Notes

Ambition and temptation both play a key factor in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's decision to kill Duncan. Macbeth possesses enough self-awareness to realize the dangers of overzealous ambition:

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Dichotomy and Equivocation Theme

Dichotomy And Equivocation Theme Notes

"Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell / That summons thee to heaven or hell" (II i64); "God's benison go with you, and with those/ That would make good of bad, and friends of foes" (II iv 41-42).

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The Natural/Supernatural Theme

The Natural/Supernatural Theme Notes

Even the events leading to the conclusion of the play can be understood as a negotiation of the natural and supernatural.

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Ghosts and Visions Theme

Ghosts And Visions Theme Notes

The three apparitions that the witches summon, for example, are usually taken to be "real" - even if only as supernatural occurrences. But the matter is less clear when it comes to Banquo' ghost.

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Guilt and Remorse Theme

Guilt And Remorse  Theme Notes

At first physical remainders of a regrettable crime, the royal blood leaves permanent marks on the psyche of the couple, forever staining them with guilt and remorse.

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Prophecy Theme

Prophecy Theme Notes

The prophecy fans the flames of ambition within Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, serving as the primary impetus for the couple to plot the death of Duncan--and subsequently Banquo.

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Love Theme

Love Theme Notes

When they do fall in love, they are ready for any sacrifice. Benedick deserts his best friends to protect the honour of Beatrice's cousin, for instance. However, even when they are ready to marry, they still poke fun at romance, and each other.

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Fortune, Fate, and Free Will

Fortune, Fate, And Free Will Notes

With an unpredictable swing up or down, one could equally easily crash to the base of the wheel. Fate, on the other hand, is fixed. In a fatalistic universe, the length and outcome of one's life (destiny) is predetermined by external forces.

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