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In the play Macbeth, the setting, along with the atmosphere, creates an important image in the audience's mind. Although this "image" is purely inside one's head, it provides the audience and/or reader with two things: a) background -- what has happened recently before the scene started; this includes the weather, and b) the instict to think in a "biased" way. For example, in Act One, Scene One, three witches appear and the atmosphere is one of a stormy, gloomy night. The audience instinctively expects something bad to happen in this murky setting.


In Macbeth, much of the plot revolves around disorder and chaos -- whether the characters or audience realize it or not. Because of the constant struggle for power in the play, the nation is always at risk of disorder. If a strong leader is not present, many things can go wrong very easily and very quickly. Disorder causes problems for many people, the king included. Signs of disorder are seen in Macbeth, especially when there is talk of a solar eclipse, an owl killing a falcon, and Duncan's horses running wild. This indicates that something is not stable in society.


I have placed the terms trust and betrayal together because I feel that they can be seen as opposites. However, one must be trusted before they can betray someone's trust. In the play Macbeth, Duncan respected and trusted Macbeth, his "kinsman" and subject. This is clearly seen when Macbeth, a recent war hero, was named Thane of Cawdor by Duncan. However, Macbeth purposely betrayed Duncan by literally backstabbing him when he was power-hungry and wanted more than just Thane of Cawdor.


Fear is evident in many of the major characters of Macbeth. Although Macbeth constantly tried to overcome fear through his apparent bravery, he finally feared for his life in Act Five. When "Birnam Wood" came "marching" to Dunsinane, his residence, I think Macbeth felt true fear for the first time since Duncan's murder. In fact, I believe fear itself became one of the only things that Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, had in common by the play. They both feared for what lay ahead.


Unlike the terms "trust" and "betrayal", the terms "greed" and "power" seem to go hand-in-hand in the play Macbeth. Because of greed, Macbeth (and Lady Macbeth) want more power -- that of the Royal Family. Greed for power has completely engulfed their minds: they cannot accept anything less than complete power over Scotland. It has destroyed them by destroying all that was familiar around them: friends, loved ones, and their own sanity. It has driven Lady Macbeth to mental illness by Act Five and Macbeth to regret and remorse by the same time.


During the course of the tragedy Macbeth, some of the characters continue to justify their actions by making excuses to cover up the truth (or part of it, at least). In Act Three, Scene One, Macbeth makes an excuse that "...nobody is confessing anymore..." only to pass the blame from himself for his past actions. The murderers that Macbeth "hires" to kill perform their duty with the "excuse" that they are doing this deed to benefit their country. Macbeth uses an "excuse" to cover up his murder of King Duncan by laying the blame on his subjects. The truth is very hard to get out of Macbeth or his wife.


In Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, visions "seen" the characters have an impact on them. Although these visions may only be in their minds -- from a bad dream or hallucination -- they may foreshadow and/or warn of events to come. For example, when Macbeth goes to the Witches, he inquires about his future. What he sees warns him to be careful, but also lessens his fear or being killed: he cannot be harmed until Birnam Wood marches on Dunsinane (which he thinks is impossible), and "No son of woman borne" shall harm him. These are seen in apparitions -- visions -- in Act Four.


From my experiences, a person acts desperately when they are faced with a dire emergency or circumstance. Usually, they are distraught over an awful event that has or will happen(ed). In Shakespeare's Macbeth, characters are seen acting in desperation. For example, Macbeth acts desperately by killing the King because he is so overtaken by greed for power that he cannot function normally. He believes that this is a justification for Duncan's murder. As seen, desperation can sometimes cause a person to act against their will or better judgement.


The story of Jekyll and Hyde explores the concept of both good and evil existing at the same time in the human being. Although both are present, one of the two usually prevails. Like Robert L. Stevenson's novel, Macbeth explores this concept as well. Although good and evil exist in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, we see the two at different times. When Lady Macbeth pushed Macbeth to murder Duncan, her "evil" side was conquering his "good" side. In this way, "evil" prevailed over "good." Throughout the play, we see Macbeth and his wife in a constant struggle between the "good" and "evil" within themselves.


Being "guilty" of a crime is not just a civil or criminal offense -- it is offense against the person who committed the crime as well. After Duncan's murder, Lady Macbeth thinks that she will never be able to cleanse her hands of the blood -- forgive herself for her crime. Guilt has the power to take over your life, because everything you see and do reminds you of your hideous crime; such is the case of Lady Macbeth. The simplest way to ward off guilt is to be innocent in the first place!
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