“Man is not the creature of circumstances
Circumstances are the creatures of man.”
Macbeth, throughout the play, is presented as one much above the ordinary beings, and, as such, he fulfils the basic -requirements of being a tragic hero. Shakespeare, introduces him as a brave general, a bold, resolute man of action who through as also referred to “Valor’s minion”, “Bellona’s bridegroom’’, the king’s ‘’valiant cousin’’, a very “eagle’’ among ‘’sparrows’’, a ‘’lion’’ among ‘’hares’’. It is a play, which is depicting a complete destruction, wrestling with creation. It is a study of the disintegration and damnation of a man. And yet, Macbeth is a ‘tragic hero’. Here presents, the hero’s complete symbolic life-journey in a reflective pattern to ensure the only operation of evil in this world. ‘Macbeth: “Come, let me clutch thee:
I have thee not,fatal vision,sensible
To feeling as to sight?” ‘
In the third scene of the first act of the play though the hero accepts evil overtly, there is a suggestion that, even before the commencement of action of the play, he has fallen under the influence of evil. ‘Banquo : ..“Merciful powers,
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
Gives way to repose.” ‘
The Witches, merely prophecy certain things for Macbeth. They do not influence him in any concrete manner, but the effect of the prophecy is to make Macbeth, start as if he were already guilty of harboring dangerous ideas. It is a fact that his ambition impels him towards “the swelling act of the imperial theme”, though his conscience fills him with horror at the idea that has come to him about how to gain the throne. ‘Macbeth: “Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.” ‘
Macbeth, is the starkest and the least discursive of Shakespeare’s tragedies as Granville-Barker has pointed out. The deterioration of Macbeth’s character illustrates the theme of conscience and its decline. From a brave soldier and noble person Macbeth reaches a state when he is a soulless man, a beast chained to a stake like a beast! ‘Second Witch: “By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes;
Open locks, whoever knocks.” ‘
The forces of evil are always ready to ensnare man; but they have their limitations. They do not, indeed cannot, force man into evil; they can merely tempt man to choose to follow evil ways. Macbeth, deliberately choose- not once, but several times in the play-the evil path. At every stage of Macbeth’s degeneration we witness the choice being made deliberately, at the same time there is a sense of inevitability, about Macbeth’s choices. ‘Macbeth: “How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags! What is’t you do?
All the Witches: A deed without a name.” ‘
Much more, than the other elements, the Witches introduce an element of supernatural mystery and fear into Macbeth. According to Charles Lamb,” They are foul anomalies, of whom we know not whence they are sprung, or whether they have beginning or ending. As they are without human passions, they seem to be without human relations. They come with thunder and lightning and vanish to airy music.”It is significant that the play opens with a brief meeting of the Three Witches. ‘Old Man: “Threeescore and ten I can remember well;
Within the volume of which time, I have seen
Hours dreadful and things strange, but this sore night
Hath trifled former knowings.” ‘
The opening scene, in fact is important, in that which makes a complete sense of mystery, strikes the keynote of the play: ..’ Second Witch: “When the hurly-burly’s done,
When the battle’s lost, and won.
Third Witch: That will be the ere the set of sun.
First Witch: Where the place?
Second Witch: Upon the heath.
Third Witch: There to meet with Macbeth.’’ ‘
When we meet the...
References: words, sentences, ideas.settings from ‘William Shakespeare’s Macbeth- A critical evaluation, Dr. S. Sen.)
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