Google Translate

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Towering Ambition Toppled a Mighty Warrior!

The play begins with a trio of witches declaring “Fair is foul and foul is fair” as though to tell us in advance as to what the play is about.

The scene immediately shifts to the Scottish King, Duncan. He, hearing about his brave generals Macbeth and Banquo defeating the invading army under the leadership of rebel Macdonwald, and another army from Norway, praises Macbeth for his valor and loyalty.

Following the fierce battle, Macbeth and Banquo head for the King. On the way they encounter three witches. They prophesy that Macbeth will be made thane of Cawdor and would eventually become king of Scotland. They also forecast that Banquo’s progeny will become Scottish kings while he would remain as he is. Soon after, they vanish.

As Macbeth and Banquo are wondering at it, the King’s men approach and thank them for their victories. They also inform Macbeth that in the place of the previous thane, who has been condemned to death for betraying the king, he has been made Thane of Cawdor. That makes Macbeth wonder if the rest of the prophecy too would come true. He is however, uncertain of what to expect. He then meets King Duncan. They plan to dine together in the night at Macbeth’s castle. In the meanwhile, he writes a letter to his wife, Lady Macbeth, narrating all that has happened.

Back home, reading the letter, Lady Macbeth desires that he become the king soon. After Macbeth arrives at the castle, she indeed persuades him to murder Duncan that very night. They plan together to get Duncan’s two chamberlains drunk so that they will sleep quiet in the night and therefore they can blame them for the murder against which they will be defenseless for they remember nothing. Thereafter, she clears all his doubts and gently nudges him to murder the King. Finally, Macbeth stabs the sleeping King.

Next morning, when the King’s death is discovered, Macbeth kills the chamberlains, as though in rage at their crime. Then he assumes kingship. In the meanwhile, Duncan’s sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, runaway to England and Ireland, respectively, fearing that whoever killed the King would wish to get them also annihilated.

Fearful of the witches’ prophecy about Banquo’s heirs ascending the throne, Macbeth hires mercenaries to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. They kill Banquo while his son Fleance escapes into the darkness. But Macbeth is very unhappy at the escape of Fleance, for he fears that as long as Fleance is alive his power is insecure.

Thereafter, in the banquet arranged by the new King Macbeth to greet the nobles, Banquo’s ghost visits Macbeth. Seeing the ghost, Macbeth raves at the guests, which obviously, startles them. Lady Macbeth, however, attempts to neutralize the damage.

But then onwards, his kingship encounters increased resistance from nobles and subjects. Disturbed by the developments, Macbeth visits the witches. Upon his request, the witches take him to other spirits, which further prophesy that he must be careful of Macduff, who resisted his accession to the throne. They also assure him that he cannot be harmed by any man born of woman and he will be safe until Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane castle. This prophecy relieves him of the fear of insecurity. Learning that Macduff has fled to England, he orders the forceful seizure of his castle and murder of his wife and children.

Learning about his family’s execution and grieving at it, Macduff vows revenge. In the meanwhile, Malcolm, Duncan’s son, raises an army in England to challenge Macbeth. Joining Malcolm, Macduff rides to Scotland to attack Macbeth. Frightened by the tyrannical behavior of Macbeth, the Scottish nobles extend support to Malcolm.

Lady Macbeth, in the meanwhile, overtaken by the crime they committed on Duncan, becomes spiritually so sick that sleep—the “nourisher” of life—becomes “death’s counterfeit” and to get relieved from that living hell she kills herself.

Life, by then, becomes so sterile to Macbeth that the news of his wife’s death could not make any difference to him. It’s not that he hasn’t realized what he has lost by submitting himself to the will of evil … all in the name of ‘I’, but by then it is so late that he could do no more than heaving his heart into his mouth: “And that which should accompany old age, / As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, / I must not look to have, but in their stead / Curses, …”

Nevertheless, learning that the English army is advancing towards Dunsinane with boughs cut from Birnam wood, he, though becomes numb, enters the battle and fights violently till Macduff—who has been “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb—kills him.


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget