The Downfall of Macbeth
Pointing Fingers: Lady Macbeth
Asides, Foreshadowing, and Comic Relief in Macbeth
In Act 1, scene 4 we learn that Malcolm was named Prince of Cumberland and Macbeth recognizes this a problem and an obstacle that he will have to overcome. In this aside we get a clearer understanding of what is going through Macbeth's head and what he is thinking about doing: "The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, for in my way it lies" (1.4.55-58). In this example of foreshadowing, Macbeth is just named Thane of Cawdor, and the last man to hold that title was a traitor. Macbeth eventually becomes a traitor and that started with him being named Thane of Cawdor. "No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, and with his former title greet Macbeth" (1.2.73-75). There are very few parts in Macbeth that has comic relief, and when a porter gets drunk and makes a joke about sexual performance when intoxicated to Macduff: "Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes: it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance" (2.3.27-29).
Gaston stabbing Beast (who is a prince) and in the quote Macbeth is thinking about how he might have to kill King Duncan's son.