Macbeth analisys


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An absolute trust.
(I, iv, 11-14)

He is soon to place trust in another deceitful man, Macbeth, whose treachery will far exceed Cawdor's.

Macbeth enters to warm greetings from Duncan, and the Thane in turn expresses his fidelity in terms so extravagant that they reek of fraudulence:

Your Highness' part
Is to receive our duties; and our duties
Are to your throne and state children and servants;
Which do but what they should, by doing every thing
Safe toward your love and honor.
(I iv, 23-27)

In retrospect, every word in this speech and, indeed, in this scene, is ironic, but we note especially the reference to children, a central theme of the play.

Duncan couches his next laudatory remarks to Banquo in images of growth (I, iv, 28-29), indicating Banquo should have honors as substantial as those given to Macbeth, and Banquo offers gratitude. Here, too, neither recipient knows how these hopes will come to fruition. Duncan then clarifies that his son Malcolm is next in line to the throne, and we wonder how Macbeth is reacting inside to this decree that seems to crush his dreams. Nonetheless, Duncan claims, all will benefit:

But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
On all deservers. From hence to Enverness.
And bind us further to you.
(I, iv, 41-43.)

Duncan thinks of the stars as beneficent lights. Then he announces he will visit Macbeth's castle, and Macbeth agrees to make all preparations in yet one more ironic speech (I, iv, 44-47). But in an aside he sees the occasion as opportunity, and views the stars quite differently than Duncan does:

The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires,
Let not light see my black and deep desires;
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.
(I, iv, 48-53)

Macbeth has discovered another obstruction in his way to the kingship. Even as the possibility of murder possesses him, though, he manifests a conscience in asking the stars to hide, and thus he knows that what he plans to do is wrong. But he is compelled to go on. Duncan's final tribute, so misplaced, ends this scene of irony and expectation.

In the first lines of scene v, Lady Macbeth clarifies that she understands her husband's personality. He has written her about his honors as well as the predictions of the witches, addressing her in affectionate terms: ". . . my dearest partner of greatness" (I, v, 11). She, however, remains unemotional:

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promis'd.
(I, v, 15-16)

She assumes the kingship is already his, and wants to leave nothing to chance:

Yet do I fear thy nature.
It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it.
(I, v, 16-20)

The word that stands out most is "illness." Lady Macbeth knows that something malignant must lie in the soul of someone who is to fulfill what she imagines, and she is aware that her husband lacks that property:



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