Macbeth: Calamity or Sarcasm
William Shakespeare wrote four great calamities, the last of which was written in 1606 and titled Macbeth. This “ calamity ” , as it is considered by social critics of yesterday s literary universe, scrutinizes the evil dimension of struggle, offering a dark and glooming ambiance of a universe dominated by the powers ofdarkness. Macbeth, more so than any of Shakespeare s other tragic supporters, has to confront the powers and make up one’s mind: should he yield or should he defy? Macbeth understands the grounds for defying immorality and yet he proceeds with a black program, instigated by the prognostications of the three Weird Sisters. Thus we must inquire the inquiry:
If Macbeth is moving on the urges stimulated by the prognostications of his destiny, is this Shakespearian work of art truly a Calamity?
Aristotle, one of the greatest work forces in the history of human idea, taken Tragedy as a genre aimed to show a heightened and harmonious imitation of nature, and, in peculiar, those facets of nature that touch most closely upon human life. This I think Macbeth attains. However, Aristotle adds a few conditions.
Harmonizing to Aristotle, a calamity must hold six parts: secret plan, character, enunciation, thought, spectacle, and song. Most of import is the secret plan, the construction of the incidents. Tragedy is non an imitation of work forces, but of action and life. It is by work forces s actions that they get felicity or unhappiness. Aristotle stated, in response to Plato, that calamity produces a healthful consequence on the human character through a catharsis, a “ proper catharsis ” of “ commiseration and terror. ” A successful calamity, so, feats and entreaties at the start to two basic emotions: fright and commiseration. Tragedy trades with the component of immorality, with what we least want and most fear to face, and with what is destructive to human life and values. It besides draws out our ability to sympathise with the tragic character, experiencing some of the impact of the evil ourselves. Does Macbeth win at this degree? Can the reader feel commiseration and panic for Macbeth? Or does the reader feel that Macbeth himself is simply a subdivision from the root of all immoralities and non the hapless, forsaken, fate-sunken adult male, harmonizing to Aristotle s thought of calamity, he is supposed to portray? Can the reader “ purging ” his emotions of commiseration and fright by puting himself in the ironss of destiny Macbeth has been imprisoned in? Or does he experience the power and greed upon which Macbeth thrives, prospers, and eventually falls? I believe the latter is the more likely reaction, and that the reader sees Macbeth as a bad cat, experiencing small or no commiseration for him.
Aristotle besides insists that the chief character of a calamity must hold a “ tragic flaw. ” Most calamities fail, harmonizing to Aristotle, due to the rendition of character. To let the character to merely be a victim of unpredictable and undeserved catastrophes would go against the complete, self-contained integrity of action in the calamity. If that is so, and if we assume that the group of three enchantresss is a realistic possibility, so is non Macbeth such a victim? Does he truly merit the bad luck that is brought him by his luck? After all, Macbeth is introduced to the reader as an honest and low leader. His destiny, one time holding been revealed to him, drives him to greed, elevates his lecherousness for power, and coins a egotistic and ill-conceived trust in his apparently ageless mortality. Diction, the look of the significance in words, is close perfect in Macbeth, merely because it is written by William Shakespeare, the discoverer of perfect enunciation. Thought the undertaking of stating what is possible and pertinent in the fortunes of the drama can non be disputed. Spectacle and Song are the effects that highlight the drama, and are pertinent in supplying an emotional attractive force. Such elements are easy found in Shakespeare. Macbeth is written with the manner and grace that merely Shakespeare could supply. Therefore, these elements of tragic play can non be challenged in this statement.
While we need to see that Macbeth strives on power, and in making so loses his values of humbleness and humanity, it should non be forgotten that Macbeth does, at certain times, feel compunction for things he has done.
In Act 2, Scene 2, Macbeth confides in Lady Macbeth after the slaying of Duncan:
But why could non I pronounce “ Amen ” ? I had most demand of approval, and “ Amen ” Stuck in my pharynx.
Methought I heard a voice call “ Sleep no more! Macbeth does slay slumber, ” the guiltless slumber, Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of attention, The decease of each twenty-four hours s life, sore labour s bath, Balm of injury heads, great nature s 2nd class, Chief nourisher in life s banquet
Macbeth shall kip no more. In this scene, he shows great convulsion over the title he has done. Thus the reader is shown that Macbeth is moving out workss that go against his scruples, that he regrets his actions, and that the prognostications are blossoming. But is this apology plenty to excite commiseration within the reader? After all, the adult male merely committed his first of many slayings! His attrition seems to melt as his privation of power flourishes.
So Macbeth continues the powers of evil eating on every move he makes to do manner for his promotion as prophesied by the enchantresss. He hires his work forces to extinguish Banquo, a menace to his cumulative reign. Having Banquo out of the manner, Macbeth surges with the sense of power. There is no uncertainty that he is moving on the urges that were stimulated by the first prognostications of his destiny. In Act 4 Scene 1, he returns to the three enchantresss, wanting more information sing his luck. They in bend assure him that “ none of adult female born shall harm Macbeth. ” Invincible power! Macbeth forgets the other two prognostications:
Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff, Beware the Thane of Fife …
Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no attention Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall neve
R vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him.
The enchantresss have spoken once more, with unforeseeable truth. Macbeth leaves the awful sisters, blinded by his ain aspiration. Let the participants play! He is assured that he is indestructible, for how could Macduff, a adult male of adult female born, ache him? How could the Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane Hill?
Absurd! Macbeth leads on, confident, bold, and unvictimized. He flashes his power, exalts himself, and fears no 1, non even himself. He no longer cares that he does non kip. Act 5 Scene 3 opens with Macbeth:
Bring me no more studies. Let them wing all!
Till Birnam Wood take to Dunsinane,
I can non defile with fright. What s the male child Malcolm? Was he non born of adult female? The liquors that know All mortal effects have pronounced me therefore:
“ Fear non, Macbeth. No adult male that s Born of adult female Shall vitamin E Er have power upon thee. ”
Then fly, false thanes,
And mingle with the English gourmets! The head I sway by and the bosom I bear Shall ne’er sag with uncertainty nor shingle with fright.
Having ownership of all the assurance in the universe, or at least believing he does, Macbeth proceeds in a rambunctious mode. His destiny, one time prophesied to him, has now acquired complete control. He has the rubrics promised him. He has found protection in the strength of enchantress s words.
How can the reader commiseration such a sap? The lone thing to make is laugh at him, for it can be certain that these prognostications which Macbeth has ignored will come to go through ; Macbeth will no uncertainty autumn.
And he does. Macduff, figuratively but non literally of adult female born, holds the remainder of the assurance in the universe. Macduff, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Shakespearean Godheads, does the impossible and brings the wood to the hill, and brings the autumn of the great and powerful Macbeth. A tragic stoping? I d say non. A tragic stoping would hold been for Macduff to fall under Macbeth. A tragic stoping would hold seen Lady Macbeth take Macbeth s life. But for Macduff to make what he had to make, the prognostication was fulfilled, and the lone victor is Fate. This does non do a Calamity.
Who do we experience sorry for? Maybe merely Macduff, who was prematurely ripped from his female parent s uterus. We praise Macduff for suppressing Macbeth. Possibly some readers feel some commiseration for Lady Macbeth. But we surely don t feel commiseration for Macbeth. Yet Macbeth could hold been a victim. He lost control of himself, and allowed himself to be led by Fate. Possibly Shakespeare fails to provide a “ tragic defect ” as insisted on by Aristotle. Macbeth does non seek to defy Fate, he runs with it. He does non mind warnings of possible jeopardies. The Macbeth we were introduced to surely could non hold predicted his luck. Bing a adult male of honestness and humbleness, he couldn Ts have deserved his quandary. But he succumbed to his destiny, and was no longer an honest and low Macbeth.
I think that even the most low and honest individual in the universe, except Jesus himself, could be swayed to corruptness. The Macbeth Empire could be compared to Mark Twain s Hadleyburg. In comparing Macbeth to The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg, we might be able to see Macbeth as a satirical comedy. Macbeth, honest and low, was corrupted by the powers of luck in much the same manner that the people of Hadleyburg, besides honest and low, were corrupted by the same powers. The reader could non perchance feel for the community of Hadleyburg, and would typically hearten at its autumn. Isn t it the same with Macbeth? The townsfolk of Hadleyburg felt contrite when they realized they d been had, in much the same manner that Macbeth certainly felt when he learned of Macduff s method of birth. The people of Hadleyburg thought that no injury could come to them, because they held proper character ; they were in proper signifier. But behind closed doors they planned their schemes to get the power, provided in the signifier of a pecuniary heritage. This greed/lust for power was the Hadleyburg ruin. Their ain greed was their ain enemy.
Similarly with Macbeth. A strong leader, upheld by his loyal companions, could make no incorrect. But one time he learned he was to get some great luck, he was his ain enemy. His lecherousness for power drove him to his acrimonious terminal.
Sarcasm may be defined as a genre that uses jeer of society to floor that society into an honorable expression at itself. Do we see the Hadleyburg narrative a calamity? No. We see it more as sarcasm. It is a sarcastic position of society s ethical motives and values, and how hypocritical people, including ourselves, can be. Puting Macbeth on a parallel with this entertaining American short narrative allows us to see the drama in a different visible radiation. We now can see Macbeth as a dissembler, and we can see him resembling ourselves. How frequently can the power of privation, the desire for more, lead humanity to devastation and desperation? The same motivational tool that drives a college pupil into a calling can someday interrupt him. So allow the critics of yesterday have their calamity. Let them read their ain literary mortality in Macbeth:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creeps in this junior-grade gait from twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours To the last syllable of recorded clip, And all our yesterdays have lighted saps The manner to dusty decease. Out, out brief taper! Life s but a walk-to shadow, a hapless participant That struts and frets his hr upon the phase And so is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an imbecile, full of sound and rage, Meaning nil.
I am certain even Aristotle would hold allowed Macbeth into the “ Tragedy Hall of Fame. ” But if a adult male has the gift of foresight and is cognizant of the hazards but chooses to disregard them and runs after his destiny, what calamity is at that place? If Fate wins, it can non be considered a calamity if Macbeth succeeds in run intoing it.
Today we have put out this tragic taper. I m non of much importance in this mortal universe of ours, but if I ve given you something to reconsider and to chew over on, so this undertaking is finished.