Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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Themes throughout Macbeth Setting a mood, showing emotion, and revealing the inner thoughts of a character are all effects that the use of motifs achieves. Themes are present in today's society and literature as well as in the past; however, during the present time, motifs are prominent in the home, office, and school instead of within great literary works. William Shakespeare, one of the greatest playwrights of all time, is known especially for his ability to use themes throughout a play in order to create either a comic of tragic effect. Motifs can be found on two different levels; they can either be easily noticed, or they must be inferred by "reading beneath the lines." The tragedy in Shakespeare's Macbeth is created through the use of motifs such as light versus dark, the role of the supernatural, and appearance versus reality. These themes run throughout the play, and each one adds to the sense of doom and foreboding present in Macbeth. Without consistent, reoccurring themes, this "wonderful tragedy" would be tedious and uninteresting.

There are many other examples of motifs in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth that contribute to the tragedy as a whole. Some of these examples are the blood and the clothing motifs that run throughout the play. However, by displaying themes such as light versus dark imagery, the presence of supernatural beings and their relationship to numerous acts of evil, and the idea that things are not as they appear to be, Shakespeare increases the tragic struggle that Macbeth faces in order to achieve his unattainable goal of reigning as king of Scotland. Because of the literary genius of Shakespeare, Macbeth has become one of the most read and analyzed plays in British literature.