Independence And Failure In Macbeth

1852 words - 8 pages

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Peasants of the early sixteenth century are often pictured carrying a bundle of limbs tied with vines on their backs. This is a perfect metaphor for the events in Macbeth. Macbeth is one of many thanes, or limbs, bundled together. The thanes are united by the king, or the vine. Scotland, or the peasant, carries the bundle by the sweat of his brow. They carry the bundle for fires on cold nights, or wars, and to build homes, or castles, to protect them from the elements, or invaders. If the limbs are tied improperly, one limb may slip to the side and cause the peasant, or nation, to stumble or fall. If the limb slides completely out, the rest of the limbs may follow because the bundle is loose. Marriage is like a triangle. Each spouse... View More »

Body Sample...


At the end of Act I, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are discussing whether or not to assassinate the king (I, ii). Macbeth has not committed himself to this sin and to independence, he has not broken the commitatus bond that exists between the king and thane. Likewise, Macbeth?s marriage is unstable as they argue, but their triangle is still together as they depend on one another.
Lady Macbeth and Macbeth each experiment with external forces to gain independence from their spouse. Macbeth uses the witches, on which he becomes increasingly dependent. Lady Macbeth uses alcohol and Satan to ?unsex? her and make her strong (II, ii, 1; I, v, 42). Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth deny their dependence on their aid, and still require their spouse. Their self denial of their dependence makes them weak, and the more self denial the weaker they get. As a married couple, they are splitting away from each other: they are trying to turn their triangle of dependence into a open square of independence.
The split between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth becomes apparent with the assassination of king Duncan. By the end of their arguing in the beginning of Act II, the two had not come to a final decision as to whether to kill the king or not (I, v, 72). Without the consent of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth tries to kill Duncan but fails, because she lacks strength and covers her ineptitude with the lame excuse that he ?resembled my father as he slept? (II, ii, 12-3). Lady Macbeth lacks strength, because she only has conscience strength formed by extreme self denial. Unlike Lady Macbeth, Macbeth is almost strong ...

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