Macbeth is one of the most famous and interesting tragedy plays written by William Shakespeare
Macbeth is one of the most famous and interesting tragedy plays written by William Shakespeare. The play, set in Scotland, seeks to exemplify the effects of persistent political ambition on those who seek it. The play is one of Shakespeare’s shortest and its main character is Macbeth, the tyrannical king of Scotland. The plot, characters, themes, sources and timings of the play are so interesting that it has attracted some of the most renowned actors to play the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
The plot of the play is based on the actions of Macbeth, a brave Scottish general, who at the start of the play meets a trio of witches who later tell him that he will be made thane of Cawdor (a rank in the Scottish nobility) and even one day become the King of Scotland. Macbeth, based on this “prophecy” and frenzied by his ambition and goaded into action by the desires of his ambitious wife, murders the King of Scotland, King Duncan” and makes himself king. Regardless of getting the power, Macbeth remains insecure and fears losing his power which spurs him to more killings including those of Lady Macduff and her children, who are the wife and children of Macduff ( a Scottish nobleman).
The are many characters in the play but there are several mentionable and important characters who are vital to the plot of the play. The main characters are King Duncan of Scotland, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, his wife. Macbeth was originally a general in King Duncan’s army and Thane of Glamis then Thane of Thane of Cawdor and finally became King of Scotland. Other characters include Banquo ( a friend to Macbeth and a a general in King Duncan’s army), macduff ( the Thane of Fife), Siward, Hecate, the Queen of witches and Seyton, who was Macbeth’s armourer.
Noticeably, the play is based on several themes and motifs. The succinctness of the play shows that it was founded upon a source that had been greatly summarized which would have even been a prompt-book for just one fastidious performance. Though the brevity is small, the act can be seen as putting forward several key positions based on its themes. These include: the play may be seen as themed on witchcraft and evil, the play as a tragedy of character, as a poetic tragedy, or even a s a tragedy of moral order.
Macbeth was borrowed from several preceding stories and plays. Shakespeare might have borrowed it from Anthony and Cleopatra, one of his other stories whose main characters seek new world regardless of the costs involved. Macbeth is also borrowed from several tales of Hollinshed’s Chronicles. Some contemporary scholars also remain rooted to the argument that the play is associated with the tragedy of Gunpowder Plot which happened in 1605 and which eventually led to the execution of Rev. Henry Garnett.
Scholars have not been analogous about the exact timing or date of Macbeth. This can be attributed to significant evidence of later revisions. Markedly, some scholars have said that its original writing was prepared as early as in 1599 while others say that it was first printed in 1623. Some others even reject some scenes by saying that they are based on modern texts.
This paper makes it clear that the plot, characters, themes, sources and dates of Macbeth were vital to the success of the play and in understanding of the play by modern-day scholars. The lucidity of the abovementioned aspects of the play has made the play applicable in a plethora of situations in contemporary classic English literature studies and a base or inspiration for future literature studies.