ENG - 3U1
November 29th, 2010
Macbeth and Pi's Gradual loss of Morals
Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi and Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth reveal certain similarities, when juxtaposed. These two texts display the gradual loss of morals between the characters of Macbeth and Pi. This is conveyed through specific events within the two books, such as Macbeth and Pi's lust to kill, their guilt and themselves going crazy, will articulate the loss of their morals. The following analysis will discuss these themes extensively.
Macbeth and Pi Patel portray their gradual loss of morals through their lust to kill. Macbeth's reason for killing is for power. For instance, Macbeth's lust to kill is demonstrated when he lists the advantages and disadvantages for killing the king (Shakespeare, I.vii.1-28). This is one of Macbeth's soliloquy, he spends a lot of time deciding whether to kill Duncan. In this example Macbeth knows that there are more disadvantages of killing the king than advantages. So, Macbeth hesitates a lot because it is his first murder. Another example is illustrated, when Macbeth convinced the murderers to execute Banquo (III.i.77-75). Macbeth wants to kill Banquo because, he wants to stay the king of Scotland, and he also knows that Banquo's descendants will be kings, which was prophesised by the three witches. Even though Banquo is Macbeth's best friend, Macbeth is suspicious of Banquo because he thinks Banquo knows that he killed the king; he decides to kill Banquo by hiring murderers. Macbeth's hesitations is greatly reduced, when comparing it to Duncan. Another example of Macbeth's lust to kill are his plans to kill Macduff and his family (IV.i.142-155). Macbeth wants to kill Macduff's family because he finds out from the three witches to beware of the Thane of Fife, Macduff. Due to this, Macbeth decides to kill Macduff and everyone in his castle to ensure his reign as the king of Scotland continues. As for Macduff, Macbeth doesn't hesitate at all; he just gives the order for the murderers to kill every person in Macduff's castle. The reduced hesitation in Macbeth after every murder exhibit the gradual loss of morals because he spends lesser time thinking about the murder. He never murdered anyone for personal gain until Duncan, which made him slowly break his morals. So, he took lesser time for the other murderers because he already broke his morals.
Pi's, lust for murder on the other hand, is for survival. Pi's first example for his lust to kill is portrayed, when he kills his first fish (Martel, 202-203). Pi compares himself to Cain in this quote, because he says he has committed murder. Pi also says that he will pray for the fish's soul because he is guilty for killing and torturing the fish. Pi hesitates a lot and is in shock during the killing of the fish because he is doing the opposite of what he learnt. Pi's lust for killing is also apparent when he wants to kill the fish for food (216). Pi tries to immobilize the fish by crushing its stomach with his knees, jamming its gills with his hands and sticking his fingers into its eyes until he can get the hatchet to chop off its head. Pi kills the fish because he needs to feed himself and Richard Parker and make himself and RP survive. Pi has lesser hesitation in this example when comparing to the first example. Pi's reduced hesitation is evident because he has gotten over his previous catch and he has got the idea that he has to kill, to ensure he and RP survives. Another example of Pi's lust to kill is demonstrated when he retells his experience of his first turtle catch (222-224). Pi wants to kill the turtle because he wants to use its body parts and blood for food and drink. Pi uses a knife and hatchet to butcher the turtle and to consume what he can to survive. Pi started off hesitating a lot because of killing his first fish, this hesitation reduced greatly through the course of his next fish and it went onto no...
Bibliography: * Martel, Yann. Life of Pi.
Harcourt, New York, 2001.
* Shakespeare, William. Macbeth.
Oxford University Press, London, 1977.
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