Macbeth Leitmotif Essay

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Did Anyone Call For a Tailor?

William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Macbeth, follows the effects that power possesses on one’s actions and shows that clothing can’t mask one’s true self. Macbeth begins the play as a noble and loyal servant of King Duncan. He is highly regarded and has won honor through his valiant actions in battle. However, when he is bestowed with a promise of supreme power he begins his rapid descent into corruption. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses clothing imagery to show Macbeth’s moral slide from noble to tyrant.

As the play begins, Shakespeare uses clothing imagery to complement Macbeth and show the hope that others have for him. After the witches’ prophecy is cast onto Macbeth and Banquo, Banquo remarks, “New honors come upon him,/ Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold/ But with the aid of use”(I.iii.144-146). Though Macbeth is thinking of killing Duncan, Banquo still sees Macbeth as pure of thought and loyal to the king.. Once Macbeth is given the prophecy, his downward slide is initiated. He begins thinking of killing Duncan and is even surprised of his own willingness to do so. Even though Macbeth thinks about murder he does not yet have the ambition to carry it out. It takes an outside force to stir Macbeth into action.

As the weight of what he is about to do settles in on Macbeth he begins to ponder all that Duncan has done for him, telling Lady Macbeth, “He hath honored me of late, and I have bought/ Golden opinions from all sorts of people,/ Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,/ Not cast aside so soon”(I.viii.32-34). Macbeth wants to enjoy his new title and the favorable opinions that he has gathered. This clothing motif represents Macbeth’s desire to be respected by his people and enjoy what he has earned, not strive for what he believes he has not earned. However, Lady Macbeth thinks otherwise. When Macbeth tells her of his change of heart she sharply scolds him saying, “Was the hope...
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