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Macbeth: Time and Evil

Oct 08, 1999 468 Words
The Shakespearean tragedy of Macbeth is one of the shortest of all his plays. The story of one man's determination to secure his position as king has become a literary classic around the world. Many critics have applied their input on what they believe to be the proper analysis of Macbeth. However Phyllis Rackin's interpretation of the play has become the counter balance to which I place my critique. Rackin's criticism of Macbeth employs both the importance of time and the overwhelming power of evil; these ideas are only two of the many themes displayed in Shakespeare's illustrious tragedy. <br><br>Rackin analyzed that time was a major factor in Macbeth and all his actions were a "race against time"(108). She also noticed that Shakespeare started his play with a question about time, "When shall we three meet again…?"(Act I, scene I). Rackin viewed Macbeth's reign at king as a pause in time, at which moment the sun ceases to rise and darkness engulfs Scotland. At the death of Macbeth and the end of his sovereignty, Macduff pronounces, "time is free"(Act V, scene VIII). The issue of time has been strongly supported by Phyllis Rackin, however I view this issue as an insignificant matter in the story of Macbeth. Time is an issue in all plays and would function the same in any other suspenseful thriller. <br><br>Along with time, Phyllis Rackin critiqued the use of the compelling manipulation of evil. In Macbeth, the main character becomes enraged with an evil urge to maintain his status as king. Macbeth's cravings begin when he is no longer capable of waiting for the witches' prophesies to come true and murders the king. He continues he rampage with the murders of Banquo and Maduff's intermediate family. This can all be foreseen after Macbeth kills Duncan and cries out that "the deed will not be 'done when 'tis done,' that it will be no 'end-all' but instead a beginning"(113). Unlike Rackin's view on time, I agree with her view on Macbeth's evil entrapment. It is apparent that, throughout the progression of the tragedy, Macbeth transforms from the loyal thane into the murderous king.<br><br>With enticing issues like the limitation of time and the possessive power's of evil, the theme of Shakespeare's Macbeth has become a literary masterpiece. The views of Phyllis Rackin and I are neither true nor false, but are simply a literary analysis of what we believed to be the authors point of view when he composed his work. Numerous critics have picked apart Shakespeare's Macbeth, all expressing their views on the play. However, it is a writer's job to write and a critic's job to critique.

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