Macbeth Main Ideas

Disruption of Natural Order In act 2, scene 1, Lady Macbeth hears the bell which signals that it is time to kill Duncan. This results in a change in power as Macbeth becomes king. In act 3, scene 3, Banquo is murdered which results in a change in nature. Macbeth no longer has to worry about Banquo threatening him. In act 2, scene 4, Ross points out the unnatural occurrences. Dark outside in the middle of the day, owl murdered a hawk, Duncan’s horses ate each other.
Gender Flipping As Lady Macbeth gets Macbeth to murder Duncan, she realizes she has to become more masculine. “Unsex me her” symbolizes the need to not be “womanly”. After reading Macbeth’s letter, Lady Macbeth explains the witches prophecy and informs her that Duncan will visit their castle. She wants to lose feminine qualities and gain masculine qualities. Lady Macbeth telling Macbeth what to do shows the gender roles flipping. The three witches’ gender is not straight forward. Their facial hair symbolizes masculinity which contributes to the fact that the witches are given dominant personalities which is masculine.
Shakespeare’s Relationship to King James Shakespeare shows how nobody is fit to rule except King James. Duncan is a good man, but not a perfect king. Banquo never had the opportunity. Macbeth is unfit to be king. Malcolm depicted as perfect king.
Paradox When the battle’s lost and won (1.1.4)Fair is foul, and foul is fair (1.1.12)Lesser than Macbeth and greater (1.3.68)Not so happy, yet much happier (1.3.69)
Motifs MilkNightSleep – Macbeth repeatedly can’t sleep. He also has nightmares.Sickness
metonymy stand in for other words
Lady Macbeth’s Soliloquy 1.5 Lady Macbeth says that Duncan will be murdered in their castle so that Macbeth can be king. She wants evil spirits to make her less of a woman and more of a man.
Macbeth’s Soliloquy 1.7 Macbeth is considering killing Duncan. Macbeth has a hard time committing murder.
Macbeth’s Soliloquy 2.1 Macbeth prepares for the murder of Duncan. He imagines daggers in front of him. Macbeth understands that the impending murder of Duncan is causing him to see the daggers. Dark language is used.
Banquo’s Soliloquy 3.1 Banquo shows his ambition that his descendants will become king. Suspects Macbeth. Foreshadowing that he will be a threat to Macbeth.
Macbeth’s Soliloquy 3.1 Shows Macbeth’s fear of Banquo. Decides to have Banquo and Fleance killed. Allusion of Julius Caesar.
Macbeth’s Soliloquy 5.5 Soliloquy about fear
Macbeth’s Later Soliloquy 5.5 Macbeth finds out the Lady Macbeth has committed suicide.