English IV AP
Mrs. D. Guidry
9 January 2013
A Short Study of Macbeth
Shakespeare's Macbeth is a story of murder, betrayal, and evil, a dramatic play on written history. It has survived through hundreds of years of literature not simply for its poetic lines, but also its symbolism in- between. Such trivial things as the weather or sleep, with Shakespeare, become deep, solid metaphors, building toward an eerie theme: Not everything is as it seems.
The three weïrd witches appear with a description of thunder and lightning; such a statement immediately shades the scene black, malevolent, and foreboding. Even when discussing their next meeting, the weather is noted in preference to "thunder, lightning, or ... rain," suggesting an underlying link between evil witches and the weather. Such a thing would have been obvious to a believer in the natural reflection of things in nature, even as after, "There's husbandry in Heaven. Their candles are all out," suggesting an evil lurking in the night time before the murder of King Duncan. The unfortunate King, in his former hours, believes in the peace and gentility, surrounding his unknown final resting- place, as "the temple- haunting martlet does approve ... that heaven's breath smells wooingly [there]." Not everything is as it seems.
Such innocence goes ill for the King, murdered that same night of trust, friendship, and revelry, in his sleep, nonetheless, by his own cousin. Macbeth, aided by his wife, covered in blood and still clutching the daggers, "hath murdered sleep" and "shall sleep no more". His conscience, he knows, will forever haunt him, make an insomniac of him, even in all his new and guiltily ill- fitting charms. His peace is gone. Lady Macbeth scolds him like a child for being so weak- minded, and she appears strong and determined. Once Queen, however, in the caress of the fruits of her evil labor, she walks about at night, half sleeping, "[seeming] thus to wash her hands" of the blood of King Duncan. The guilt has eroded at her peace, too, despite her brave face. Not everything is as it seems.
The constant minors of equivocation ring throughout all of Macbeth, "through the fog and filthy air", through the visors of innocence. Shakespeare's story is living history , an appalling play to the white- hearted audience, but again, even to them, as they play their own parts so well and relate too much so, not everything is as it seems.