Macbeth: the Man, the Terror, the Power (A paper on various aspects of Shakespeare's character Macbeth from his play "Macbeth")

Essay by MattmoosHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2004

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Thesis: Through his complexity as a character, Macbeth brings the drama to life and defines the innate evilness that results from the lust for power in William Shakespeare's blood-filled tragedy Macbeth.

I. The Character of Macbeth

A. Thirst for power

1. Success in battle

2. Witches' prophesy

B. Rise to Power

1. Duncan's murder

a. pressure by Lady Macbeth

b. Macbeth's fear and struggle

2. Tyrannical reign

C. Macbeth's decline

1. Banquo's murder

2. Insomnia

3. Death of Macbeth

D. Character traits

1. Physical courage

2. Moral weakness

3. Determination

4. Soliloquies (asides)

II. Motif of Blood

A. Physical blood

1. In battle

2. In murder

3. On the hands of Macbeth

B. Visions of blood

1. Macbeth's hallucinations

2. Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking

C. Blood as a symbol

1. Evil

2. Murder

3. Reality

III. Struggle for Power

A. Macbeth's yearning for power

1. Title of Thane

2. Murder of Duncan

B. Lady Macbeth's need for power

1. Over light

2. Over her husband

3. Over herself

C. Power as a central theme

Conclusion: Throughout his gory tragedy, William Shakespeare uses the complex character of Macbeth to draw emotional realities to the idea of ultimate power through violence. In the continual fray of bloodshed, both life-like and hallucinogenic, Shakespeare is able to portray the dangers of attempting to control one's own destiny. By the close of the play, a central theme of the lust for power, whether it be in the present or in the form of a legacy, is identifiable and understandable. No matter the time period and no matter the language, William Shakespeare's Macbeth is easily understood in the context of one short phrase--Macbeth: the man, the terror, the power.

Macbeth: the Man, the Terror, the Power

Macbeth, one of William Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, tells the...