The play of Macbeth is all about power and greed. It is about ambition overriding inhibitions and the conscience of a good man. We know that most people consider Macbeth to be a good and a brave man at the start of the book, for example King Duncan himself refers to him as “O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman!” He is admired for his skills in battle by everyone. It is hard to say what driving force underlies the events of the story, and it is equally hard to know what emotions or convictions drove the characters to do what they did. Parts of the text give us detail and insight as to the relation and power balance in the marriage of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, this can be interpreted and used to try to work out who actually made the major decisions concerning murder.
From the very beginning Lady Macbeth is presented as ambitious and driving.
“That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th’effect and it…”
When she says this she means that nothing will prevent her from fulfilling her aim, and that pity will have no effect on her. This purpose does seem to stand strong for the first few scenes, in which the most important crimes are committed, but as she and Macbeth grow apart, and her involvement in the play lessens, so does her resolve.
When she first greets her husband, on his return, it is clear how proud she is of his newly gained titles. It is also clear how eager he is to gain her praise, after the conversation with the weird sisters he immediately thinks to write home and tell her. This is very unusual for the time in which the play was set; there would usually be more dominance from the husband, whereas Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seem to be e…
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… fortune to help the plot unfold. Usually, however Shakespeare’s plays are more sophisticated and there can usually be found a reason for an event.
I conclude that Lady Macbeth was a tool of fate. I believe the witches manipulated her, or their controller did so, to in turn exercise her influence over Macbeth and play out a series predetermined events. I do not think there is meant to be a reason in this play, but there is a moral, a mystery, and a great underlying evil. I do not know what Shakespeare wanted this evil to represent, perhaps he did not know himself; or perhaps it represents the vulnerability of all humans to fate, or chance; perhaps it pessimistically represents a basic evil in humans; or perhaps he wrote it to enthrall his audiences and leave them wondering…
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1977.
Isolation in Faulkner’s Light in August
Isolation in Light In August
In William Faulkner’s Light In August, most characters seem isolated from each other and from society. It is often argued that Lena Grove is an exception to this, but I have found that I cannot agree with this view. Consequently, this essay will show that Lena is lonely too, and that the message in Faulkner’s work on the issue of human contact is that everyone is essentially alone, either by voluntary recession from company or by involuntary exclusion, and the only escape from this loneliness is to have a proper family to comfort you.
As a child, Lena was involuntarily isolated from a society she wanted to be a part of. We are told that “six or eight times a year she went to town on Saturday” (p. 5), which obviously was not enough for her. “It was because she believed that the people who saw her and whom she passed on foot would believe that she lived in town too” (p. 5). Lena had a need to be a part of society and join the ranks of ordinary people in an ordinary town, which presumably includes marrying and starting a family.
Living with McKinley in a far off mill hamlet continued to keep Lena isolated, and this condition was further aggravated by the fact that she was kept busy with housework much of the time. Admittedly, housekeeping for a large family is one kind of community, but it is not the kind that Lena wants. She would rather have a family of her own than care for someone else’s, and so she seeks love in the form of Lucas Burch. Unfortunately, Burch does not want to start a family. He only uses Lena for his own pleasure, and as soon as she tells him about the pregnancy, he leaves town (p. 16-17).
Lena takes off on a quest to reunite herself with her would-be hu…
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…g the society she loves. When she no longer has any hope of putting her family together the way she reckons it should be, she can no longer face society because she will never fit in. Even if she married Bunch, he would still not be her child’s father, which would make their family an anomaly. Lena has turned into a voluntary outcast, dragging Byron Bunch around to help her run her daily life but never letting him get intimate, never really making him a part of her life. After being forced into isolation from society for most of her life, Lena has now chosen to remain isolated. She is just as alone as any other character in Light in August.
The conclusion I inevitably reach is that Faulkner wanted to portray family as the ultimate unit of society. Without a family, you cannot fit into society, and if you do not fit into society, you are essentially alone.