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  • Topic: Macbeth, Irony, The Birnam Wood
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etAmabelisa Galvao
Ms. Baker
Sophomore English
12 December 2012
In the Vicinity

People tend to seem good and righteous but may actually be tainted or evil, and vice versa. Macbeth a bold “Thane of Cawdor” whose loyalty was to Duncan, became as evil and corrupted as the witches he talked to. They told him that he would become the future king and as these thoughts pondered in his head it consumed him by which he made the descion to kill the king in order to obtain the throne. In the play “Macbeth” by Shakespeare the theme “virtue versus evil” is developed through situational irony, dramatic irony, and verbal irony of the three prophetic apparitions of an armed head, a bloody child, and a crowned child holding a tree. An armed head, situational irony because Macbeth a military man himself supposed to be great and honorable who really became wicked had gotten his head torn off by Macduff in order to fulfill the prophecy. The image of a bloody child, dramatic irony as a result of no one but Macduff knowing that his mother had a caesarian - section until he advised it to the audience and Macbeth. It was “virtuous” because Macduff killed Macbeth although it was “evil” because it was treason to kill the king. A crown child holding a tree, verbal irony on account of that child being Malcolm the future king and he announces to the soldiers to move towards Macbeth. The “virtue” is that Malcolm a venerable character who has not been poisoned or manipulated as Macbeth an “evil” one.

To begin, the first apparition described is of an armed head it warns Macbeth of Macduff. In this quote the apparition say Macbeth’s name three times, three being the number of the evil and very powerful. Further on in the play, Macbeth finds his way to the witches' cave and demands to know what lies ahead for him. The three witches predict what he is going to ask and produce the first apparition which is an armed head. The quote states, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! ; beware the Thane of Fife Dismiss me enough (IV, I,71-73).” Here we can infer that Macbeth makes sense of this as Macduff indefinite will be his downfall. He fears this apparition more than any other “thou has harped my fear right” he says. Fear is no greater than hope which Macbeth does not have yet. It is obvious the Macbeth is unclear of anything at the moment but to eliminate Macduff. Yet again the witches have lead him to a mental state where he allows his conscious thoughts to contemplate on whether or not to do the right thing. Once the corruption has occurred to Macbeth, he has no choice but to believe in the wrong things. Talking to witches can only end badly, Macbeth is unaware of this. Macbeth is not a strong man, he is one who is selfish. One who is selfish only cares for themselves. When you do onto others wrongly there will always be a consequence. Never in life can a person be wicked and die humbly; my words. If someone is just going around in a circle making irrational decisions playing with people’s hearts and thoughts it is not peaceful it is absolute corruption. All knows that corruption corrupts and absolute corruption corrupts absolutely. Macbeth’s conscious mind knows his downfall must come but doesn’t want it to occur too soon. Completely, destroyed and throne off about this news he cannot make any rational descion, in other words what goes around comes back around.

The resulting irony in fulfillment of the prophesy, occurs when Macduff returns to the soldiers with Macbeth’s head; the irony is situational. Macbeth once a bold noble “Thane of Cawdor” becomes an extensive antic prior to and after the event. The fulfillments of this prophesy had to happen in order for Malcolm to become king. In the beginning of this play Macbeth killed the original “Thane of Cawdor” because he was a traitor, and Shakespeare portrays it as an honorable death. Aside from the original Thane of Cawdor being a traitor today Macbeth is known as one. As fast as Macbeth had gotten his...
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