EC Larrisa Duvall
The main characters in the play Macbeth are Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Macduff, Malcolm, and Banquo. The play takes place in the 1600’s in Scotland. Macbeth was a Scottish general who met three witches after a battle.
The witches told Macbeth that he will one day be king. Turning to Banquo they told him he would not be king himself, but would have many lines of kings to come after him. After hearing this the two men return to Scotland, where Macbeth begins to have ambitious thoughts about becoming king. When the King of Scotland, Duncan, comes to visit Macbeth, Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to murder Duncan in his bed that night, seizing the throne himself. Macbeth takes over Scotland racked with guilt and fear. He soon becomes a tyrant who has to murder more and more people to keep his secret safe. Macbeth thinks about Banqou’s half of the prophecy, soon realizing that Banquo’s children will be king after him. This propelled Macbeth to send a assassin to kill Banquo and his son. The assassin, feeling guilty, fails to kill Banquo’s son, who escapes to England. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth become arrogant and soon slip into madness after believing Banqou and his son are dead. Years later Banquo’s son returns to Scotland with the English Army behind him. The son synthesized a plan to help the English Soldiers get closer to Macbeth’s castle. After a heated battle between Macbeth and his men and the English Solders, Banqou’s son beheads Macbeth.
In the play Macbeth, these literary elements are prominent; foreshadow, dramatic irony, mood, tone, allusion, metaphor, foil, theme, internal conflict and external conflict.
Foreshadowing is in many of the acts. In act five scene one page 4, the play quotes “Look after her, Remove from her the means of all annoyance, And still keep eyes upon her.” This quote foreshadows that Lady Macbeth may cause harm to herself or worse commit suicide.
Dramatic Irony is where the readers know something that the characters in the play or the novel do not know. In act 2, Dramatic Irony is present when Macbeth kills Duncan, but only Macbeth and Lady Macbeth know what has transpired.
Mood & Tone
Mood and Tone are introduced in most of the play but in act 4 they are most prominent. When the witches converse it sets a dark and ominous mood in the play. When Macbeth is talking to the three witches the tone changes multiple times to intensify how important the task is.
Allusion & Metaphor
Allusion is first introduced in act 2, scene 1, page 3. “I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell. That summons thee to heaven or to hell.” This quote refers to Heaven and Hell.
In act 2, scene 2, page 3, Metaphor is presented in this quote, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep”. This is a metaphor for producing insomnia or guilt to the point of being unable to sleep.
The foil is prominent in act five, scene 8, page 2, between Macbeth and Macduff. You can see this in the way’s they speak, and act towards each other. One example is when Macbeth says “I will not yield, To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet, And to be baited with the rabble’s curse. Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane, And thou opposed, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, And damned be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!” Foil is when two characters oppose or are drastically different from one another.
Internal & External Conflict
Internal conflict is expressed many times throughout the play, for example, in act 2, scene 2, page 1, when Lady Macbeth said “Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done ’t.” This shows that she had doubts and slight regret about killing Duncan. Internal conflict is when a character is at odds with themselves.
External conflict is also expressed multiple times throughout the story. One example is in act five, scene 8, page two, “I will not yield, To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet, And to be baited with the rabble’s curse. Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane, And thou opposed, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, And damned be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!” Macbeth is saying this to Macduff while they are fighting. External conflict is when the main character fights either another character or nature itself. The former is shown here.
One of the themes presented in the play is masculinity. This theme is current in act 1, scene 5, page 2. When Lady Macbeth says, “Come, you spirits. That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood. Stop up the access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark To cry “Hold, hold!” she is expressing masculinity by saying she wants to be a man so she can take the throne herself.