Honors British Literature
24 September 2012
Light leaves the sun and travels through the solar system for a duration of eight minutes before ever reaching the Earth’s surface. However, it only takes two brief minutes for the light to transform into darkness. This same theory, that darkness can quickly overpower the effects of light, is seen throughout the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare uses the imagery of light and dark to complement the theme of appearance versus reality. Light illuminates the Earth, revealing one’s outward appearance while also exposing the evil that lies on the surface. Although some evils are visible, there still remains a portion of wickedness that lurks in the shadows, only to become evident at night. Once darkness engulfs the night, all shadows evaporate, leaving the evil to roam the open air. All hope of concealing sin with darkness ultimately fails. In the beginning, Macbeth is pronounced by his peers as brave, valiant, noble, and worthy. The entirety of his life has been spent earning these attributes which add to his heroic appearance, only to let them slip away in an instant. Although Macbeth might have lived his life in the light up until now, everyone and everything will always have a shadow. In his shadow lies the reality of his intentions. This reality consists of dark, haunting thoughts and longings that remain cloaked in Macbeth’s mind. Have you ever thought that maybe there was good logic to Peter Pan being afraid of his own shadow? As Macbeth states early in the play, “Stars hide your fires; Let not the light see my black and deep desires” (Shakespeare 11). In this quote, Macbeth is asking the stars to condone his actions by smothering there light, allowing the darkness to cover up his cruel intentions. After allowing the witches’ prophecies to loom in his mind, the darkness begins to cloud over Macbeth’s gallant traits. Even though Banquo warns Macbeth not to trust the...
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