Major Themes Of Macbeth Notes

Major Themes Of Macbeth

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Corrupting Power of Unchecked Ambition Theme

The Corrupting Power Of Unchecked Ambition Theme Notes

Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement.

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The Relationship Between Cruelty and Masculinity Theme

The Relationship Between Cruelty And Masculinity Theme Notes

To Malcolm's suggestion, "Dispute it like a man," Macduff replies, "I shall do so. But I must also feel it as a man" (4.3.221 - 223).

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