The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare contains many interesting themes; Shakespeare has taken a time of great change in Scottish history and used it to suit his of purposes. He uses the rise to power of a man to examine issues and ideology of Elizabethan times.
The people of the Elizabethan timer believed in the divine right of kings, to put simply the king is gods chosen representative on earth, he speaks to god, to kill a king would bring about horrendous repercussions an turn a peaceful world into chaos.
A good example of this chaos is when Macbeth kills Duncan; the day after Ross tells us
That the day became as dark as night, a falcon was killed by an owl and that Duncan’s horses turned wild and ate each other.
Another theme from Macbeth, which is linked to the idea of divine right of kings, is Individuals disrupting the natural order of events. Unnatural acts such as murder and witchcraft are linked to unnatural events in nature. Using the example of duncan’s horses, we see, after Macbeth committed an unnatural act (killing Duncan) we learn that his horses ate each other an act that is not natural to horses.
Considering both of these, Macbeth had to decide whether it was right for him to change events, but also if he kills Duncan will it mean he, himself may fall victim to someone’s vaulting ambition.
“Bloody instructions which, being taught, return to plague the inventor”
Macbeth Act 1 scene 4
Macbeth is also plagued with the idea of kingship. A bad leader will always equal unhappy times. When Maclom lists the qualities in a king ( Act 4 scene 3)he lists Justice, Verity, Temperance, Stableness, bounty, Perseverance, Mercy, lowliness, Devotion, Patience, Courage, Fortitude. How many of these qualities do we see in Macbeth?
The role of good and evil, another major theme in Macbeth is important, because although Macbeth and lady macbeth are comsidered evil, they show weaknessess. It is clear they have got in to deep. I consider the witches to be evil as they corrupted a good man leading him from the values he was brought up to respecthowerve, I do not see Banquo as good. For the reason he did not voice his beliefs that macbeth was the killer, nor Macduff, although he appears as a good man he did abandon his family, leaving them to the wrath and injustice of Macbeth
Macbeth, the real Macbeth, was said to be a good king who ruled Scotland for over 20 years before passing away naturally. The real Macbeth would not have suited Shakespeare’s purposes so he made minor changes that are only detected by close examination of Scottish history.
William Shakespeare effectively uses this part of Scottish history to show themes. Shakespeare uses his gift of writing so effectively that after reading the play I can see that many of the themes still apply today.