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Although I am not by far the right person to write about the great Shakespeare I will try to point out some major aspects both in his life and his works, in order to highlight his substantial influence during 16th and 17th centuries. Taking into account the variety of themes and motives Shakespeare makes use of in his writings, together with the symbols and the multitude of characters, I can wholeheartedly deem that he is “ the be all and the end all “ (William, Shakespeare. Macbeth ) of those ages , being also known as the national poet of England and the “ Bard of Avon” , as he first saw the light on 23rd April 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. He started his career as a writer by composing first and foremost comedies and histories, very welcomed by people of that period. Then, he made a name of himself by writing tragedies until 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth, those being viewed as the most splendid works in the English language. Yet he rapidly caught the public’s attention as well as the acclaim of critics for his great and sometimes sarcastic humour, atypical yet adorable characters and the uncommonly situations in which his characters tend to find themselves. As a result, he successfully turned into a role model for most of the important names such as Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens for instance. I for one believe that the work to which the entire history of drama can be reduced to is undoubtedly Macbeth. What is striking about this play is the impressive plot, the strong emotions the characters transmit to the reader, as they fit perfectly that century` s mentality but simultaneously individualized. Moreover, what seems to make this play a masterpiece is the realistic and absorbing plot, together with its natural feature. The popularity Macbeth has gained is well deserved for not only does it appeal to people of a wide age range but it is also of present interest such as Macbeth’s dualistic view of morality, his both-side perspective, the distinction he makes between “good “and “bad”. When he first meets the witches he seems to be encountering a difficult situation, sounding alarmingly unable to categorize them: This supernatural soliciting/ Cannot be ill, cannot be good (1.3. 129-
130), continuing by affirming that so foul and fair a day (1.3. 136) he has not seen before, nothing is but what is not (1.3. 140-141). This could be also perceived as appearance versus reality, a theme which is widelyspread in shakespearean works. ”Appearance“can be replaced with a particular impression, an individual perspective on a certain subject, it can be true but in the same proportions it can be false. On the other side, the opposite term is “reality” which s used to refer to real things or the real nature of things rather than imagined, invented, or theoretical ideas. In his actions, Macbeth looks as if being controlled by a supranatural force, having no awareness of his behaviour, being possessed, driven both by his ambition and prophecies, without any trace of escape, which brought him to a tragical end, gradually destroying him. Suffice it to say, ambition had a negative connotation, it being associated with the Luciferian sin, an issue of temptation. In the beginning, is not him to be blamed but his wife, who apparently stronger then him, determined Macbeth to commit murder by showing him her second thoughts about his masculinity and so turning him into a tyrant. So he is not just overruled by prophecies, but also by Lady Macbeth. What is even more bizarre is that she eventually commits suicide, this being her single escape from her bloody visions and sleepwalking, her so-called delirious behaviour. Not only does Lady Macbeth change but also her husband seems to have dual personality. If he portrays himself to be strong and wise, in fact he is truly weak. By getting what he expects through inadequately manners he divulges his real temper and his attitude towards wellness and monarchy. So this makes the gap between appearance and reality in Macbeth. From planning a murder to committing one would say that there are few steps to follow but in Macbeth is not the action, who is relevant, but the poetic verse, the language, the soliloquies. An impressive example to sustain the above-mentioned would be the monologue that Macbeth has before going further with the King Duncan` s assassination, the well-known passage when the dagger is seen by Macbeth in both dimensions, in his inner mind and in his own possession. This is the dagger that leads him toward King’ door at midnight with one single purpose. Is this a dagger which I see before me, For it must seem their guilt (2.2. 71-73) A dagger of the mind, a false creation (2.1 50).
Macbeth is associated with infirmity, unman, cruelty, reincarnation, infantile, full of fear (Pana, unpublished course).Violence may have its roots in fear, as he is not strong enough to make a decision of his own, he eventually thinks he is bound to entirely follow the plan Lady Macbeth has made for him to make it possible for them to reach the top of the society hierarchy, so that they could afford themselves a secure and peaceful living. It can also be considered a play which denies feminity, taking into account Lady Macbeth’s attitude toward her condition as woman, her desire of authority, her unsexing and fluid temper. She has no scope for feminity, in contrast with Lady Macduff and even with the three witches. This can be emphasized by her denying her maternity abilities. Though, there was some kind of pure love between them, even it had sexual aspects, but they used to remain together till her death. This is the time when Macbeth realizes the irreversible course of life, when everything becomes meaningless to him, saying that life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sounds that unfortunately do not signify anything. This could be a philosophical definition of life, which was of o great importance in those ancient times. People were aware of their passing condition and their limitations, they knew they were all controlled by superior powers and that nothing was ever-lasting. Since time immemorial, human way of thinking has been given a vast array of attributes but it was and still is so complex that a single term cannot define its meaning. People change with time and so does their mentality but what I am sure of is that it all depends on education and environment and I will not deny the fact that mind’s mosaic-like essence remains the same. As it can be seen in Macbeth, his reckonings are spread in the whole play, this being the reason for which it can strongly be thought of as a well written play of a human fighting with his own thoughts. I would thoroughly recommend this play to everyone, as it is a monument of all tragedies and dramatic works. If nothing else, it will give you a new perspective of reality.
Moschovakis, Nick. Macbeth New Critical Essays. New York: Routledge, 2008
Pana. Unpublished Course.07-11-2011
William, Shakespeare. Macbeth. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1997
Pirnea Andreea-Corina, Litere, Literatura Universala si Comparata, Limba Engleza, Anul I, Grupa 8