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Macbeth

  • Date Submitted: 01/14/2015 01:40 PM
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Macbeth's Dark Quality

 
  It is obvious to the reader of Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth that there are varying types and degrees of darkness in the drama. We shall look at this in detail within this paper.

 

L.C. Knights in the essay "Macbeth" describes the moral darkness into which Macbeth lowers himself:

 

The main theme of the reversal of values is given out simply and clearly in the first scene - "Fair is foul, and foul is fair"; and with it are associated premonitions of the conflict, disorder and moral darkness into which Macbeth will plunge himself.   (95)

 

Charles Lamb in On the Tragedies of Shakespeare comments on the "images of night" and their impact on the audience:

 

The state of sublime emotion into which we are elevated by those images of night and horror which Macbeth is made to utter, that solemn prelude with which he entertains the time till the bell shall strike which is to call him to murder Duncan, - when we no longer read it in a book, when we have given up that vantage-ground of abstraction which reading possesses over seing, and come to see a man in his bodily shape before our eyes actually preparing to commit a muder, if the acting be true and impressive as I have witnessed it in Mr. K's performance of that part, the painful anxiety about the act, the natural longing to prevent it while it yet seems unperpetrated, the too close pressing semblance of reality,give a pain and an uneasiness [. . .]. (134)

 

Roger Warren states in Shakespeare Survey 30 , regarding Trervor Nunn's direction of Macbeth at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1974-75, how the witches represented the darkness of   black magic:

 

Much of the approach and detail was carried over, particularly the clash between religious purity and black magic. Purity was embodied by Duncan, very infirm (in 1974 he was blind), dressed in white and accompanied by church organ music, set against the black magic of the witches, who even chanted...

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