Macbeth: an Analysis of the Play by Shakespeare Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


Macbeth is Shakespeare’s work with attachment of historical connotations. Many literary scholars agree that this drama is from a tragic perspective, and has a consistent plot delivery. Macbeth presents the true foundation of human nature with stark superstition that permeates the play. In this drama, a monstrous crime takes place as an extension of ill-intentioned ambition. Motives seem to drive humanity to seek greatness regardless of what it takes (Macbeth: An analysis of the play by Shakespeare par. 1). The development of the plot stems from one lustful wickedness to the other.

Plot development

In his quest for greatness, Macbeth commits several murders to subdue his opponents. He seems to be concentrating more on protecting his ambition than offering service to his people. Macbeth’s treachery springs from his reliance to the witches who gave him prophecy that results in his endless creation of enemies. The prophecy by the witches blot Macbeth’s perspective of the world around him, making him see everybody as enemies (Macbeth: An analysis of the play by Shakespeare par. 2).

Nonetheless, he seeks to disguise himself and presents a picture of statesmanship, a quality that he lacks. Macbeth endlessly reproaches himself by presenting an obtuse picture of himself to the unsuspecting ordinary people. Notably, Duncan and Banquo are his worst perceived enemies. He certainly leaves in denial, as he refuses to open up to both Lady Macbeth and Macduff – his close confidants. Apprehension seems to characterize Macbeth’s life, especially when he asks, “How say’st thou, that Macduff denies his person at our great bidding?” Evidently, Macbeth is living in self-pity and denial. All these acts further reveal disorder in Macbeth’s mind.

In this drama, Shakespeare presents Macbeth as suffering from tragic consequences mainly due to his exaggerated ambition which Macbeth himself admits as true “o’er-leaps itself,” (I.vii.27). Macbeth is subdued by the witches’ influence of the prophecy, which prompts him to make one mistake after another. His actions set him on an inclined downfall “so foul and fair a day,” (I.iii.39). Clearly, ambition is the main tragic flaw that leads Macbeth to peril.

Many literary devices enhance the plot. For example, soliloquy by Macbeth makes it obvious that he is in trouble, and the listener can easily discern it. He has a dubious belief of eliminating his perceived enemies; he kills Duncan to ascend to kingship. Visual elements permeate the plot to guide the audience through the piece. Both alliteration and repetition permeate the plot; these helps in laying emphasis as seen in Macbeth’s resolve to comfort himself from his wickedness – “The handle towards my hand” (Shakespeare 34).

Soliloquy helps to mark out Macbeth’s confusion, as he resorts to keep to himself his affairs. Macbeth keeps on saying, “I see thee”… “I see thee” (Shakespeare 35), and makes mention of unseen guests. Markedly, these actions mark out his stark paradox between reality and illusion. Macbeth seems to have awareness of what overwhelms him, but has no power to control it. He seems compelled by some powerful forces when he says “marshall’st me the way I was going,” (Shakespeare 42), suggesting how powerless he has become. At this point, he can do nothing to redeem his sinking persona.


In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses many different literary devices to explore vivid human confusion that comes after one subject himself to wickedness. The drama explores a moral lesson that wickedness does not pay off, but its consequences are stuck in misery and mystery.

Works Cited

Macbeth: An analysis of the play by Shakespeare. N.p., 2011. Web.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Waiheke Island: Floating, 2008. Print.

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