POINT:Contrast of heaven and hell imagery
EVIDENCE:“his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation of his taking-off”. EXPLANATION: Macbeth prefigures the spirit of Duncan to be associated with heaven, and his own actions (‘taking him off’) representative of the Devil, suggesting the unnaturalness of the action and the evil of Macbeth’s character. ANALYSIS/ IMPLICATIONS: Alliteration reinforces the contrast that emphasises Macbeth’s deviant choice. Duncan’s purity is accentuated through a religious simile: these angels are ‘trumpet-tongued’, the alliteration reflecting the strength of Duncan’s goodness. Macbeth’s evil nature is the strong alliteration tool – ‘deep damnation’ – suggesting Macbeth’s extremity of evil is equal to Duncan extremity of goodness. ANALYSIS/ ORIGINALITY/ ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATIONS: That Macbeth himself puts forward this contrast suggests he is aware of the implications of killing Duncan, and he is still confused as to what to do, as in 1.3. The Jacobean audience would react strongly to these words, as regicide was both treasonous and against Divine Order. Macbeth’s awareness of Duncan’s status and honour, coupled with his desire to kill Duncan and to ascend the throne, would have made him a worrying and suspicious character.
POINT:Macbeth’s confession of his own characteristics
EVIDENCE:“Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself’.
EXPLANATION: Macbeth feels compelled by his ambition to become king to kill Duncan. As it is only his ambition that is compelling him, he is seen as selfish and arrogant. His ambition seems to be uncontrollable as it is ‘vaulting’, and this ‘vaulting ambition’ also connotes pride which is condemned in the Bible. ANALYSIS/ IMPLICATIONS: This deepens the understanding of the audience of Macbeth’s conflicted state of mind. He seems unsure whether his ambition alone is...