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The Curious Atmosphere of Macbeth

The Curious Atmosphere of Macbeth

The Bard of Avon created a complex atmosphere in his writing of the tragedy Macbeth. Let’s give detailed consideration to this aspect of the drama in this paper.

In Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy, Northrop Frye shows how the atmosphere is altered for the better at the end of the play:

This theme is at its clearest where we are most in sympathy with the nemesis. Thus at the end of Macbeth, after the proclamation “the time is free,” and of promises to make reparations of Macbeth’s tyranny “Which would be planted newly with the time,” there will be a renewal not only of time but of the whole rhythm of nature symbolized by the word “measure,” which includes both the music of the spheres and the dispensing of human justice [. . .]. (94-95)

In his book, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, H. S. Wilson explains why the atmosphere is so important in Macbeth:

Macbeth is a play in which the poetic atmosphere is very important; so important, indeed, that some recent commentators give the impression that this atmosphere, as created by the imagery of the play, is its determining quality. For those who pay most attention to these powerful atmospheric suggestions, this is doubtless true. Mr. Kenneth Muir, in his introduction to the play – which does not, by the way, interpret it simply from this point of view – aptly describes the cumulative effect of the imagery: “The contrast between light and darkness is part of a general antithesis between good and evil, devils and angels, evil and grace, hell and heaven . . . and the disease images of IV, iii and in the last act clearly reflect both the evil which is a disease, and Macbeth himself who is the disease from which his country suffers.”(67-68)

L.C. Knights in the essay “Macbeth” mentions equivocation, unreality and unnaturalness in the play – contributors to an atmosphere that may not be very realistic:

The equivocal nature of temptation, the commerce with phantoms consequent upon false choice, the resulting sense of unreality (“nothing is, but what is not”), which has yet such power to “smother” vital function, the unnaturalness of evil (“against the use of nature”), and the relation between disintegration in the individual (“my single state of man”) and disorder in the larger social organism – all these are major themes of the play which are mirrored in the speech under consideration.

Human Life Beginning at Conception – a Religious View Only? abortion argumentative persuasive

Human Life Beginning at Conception – a Religious View Only? Eight Works Cited What about abortion? Is it a matter of private morality, like deciding which church you’re going to attend, or is it a matter of public morality – a matter of civil rights? If there’s a victim involved, it’s a civil rights issue. Is there a victim involved in abortion? There are many who say that there is not, that the preborn child is just a mass of tissue, a part of the woman’s body. If this were the case, then no one would have any reason to oppose abortion any more than they would oppose tonsillectomies or appendectomies. But is that the case? Developments in the science of fetology have given us greater opportunities than ever to learn about the preborn. We know that the baby has a completely different circulatory system than the mother, and often a different blood type. He or she has a completely different genetic code. We know that by the 21st day after conception the baby’s heart has begun to beat (Tanner 64). Brain waves are detectable by day 40 (Hamlin 20), and movement also begins around this time (Arey). By eight weeks, when a woman generally discovers she’s pregnant, all body systems are present (Hooker). One doctor, operating on an ectopic pregnancy at eight weeks, discovered an “extremely alive,” perfectly developed little person, vigorously swimming in his environment with a “natural swimmer’s stroke.”(Rockwell 11) The preborn child is unmistakably human, unmistakably alive, and unmistakably distinct from the mother. Does the baby feel pain in an abortion? The pain mechanism has been found to be functioning in the preborn child as early as 45 days after conception. Abortion does cause pain (Reinis 223-235, Collins 922-923,Noonan 213). In the film, “The Silent Scream,” an actual first-trimester abortion is seen via ultrasound. The baby can be seen repeatedly moving to dodge the abortionist’s suction instrument, and her heart rate doubles. As she is dismembered, her mouth opens in a silent scream. Abortion is violence – against preborn children, and against the women in whose bodies the violence takes place. What about a woman’s right to chose? It is not “choosing” that is ever an issue, but rather what is chosen. Women, like men, have the right to choose many things. We can choose our careers, where we wish to live, whether or not to engage in sexual activity, etc. However, like the racist or the rapist, we have no right to make choices that infringe upon the basic rights of others. An abortion is an act of violence which victimizes another human being, and thus is not a valid “choice.” So what would be wrong with being “personally opposed” to abortion while recognizing the rights of others to choose? Well, why are you opposed to abortion? It must be because abortion takes the life of a preborn child…otherwise, there would be no reason to oppose it. So how can you say “I’m opposed to taking the life of an innocent child, and I wouldn’t do it myself, but I can’t stop you from taking that life”? When we oppose something because it hurts someone else, we don’t want anyone to do it. “Personally opposed” is a cop-out. So what’s the answer to the abortion problem? Solving our problems with violence against innocent women and their children is no solution. We need to work for laws that protect the lives of all human persons, including the preborn. But that alone isn’t enough. We need to work for non-violent solutions for women with problem pregnancies. Thousands of Birthright offices, Crisis Pregnancy Centers and other pro-life help centers across the United States are providing women with the resources, support and friendship that they need to get their lives back on track. Thanks to these centers, hundreds of thousands of women each year find solutions to their pregnancies that they and their babies can live with. But all of these efforts need your help. Take your “personal” opposition and make it count. Contact your community or campus pro-life organization, and see how you can contribute to ending the violence. WORKS CITED: Arey, L.B. Developmental Anatomy (6th ed.), Philadelphia: W.B. Sanders Co, 1954. Collins, V. J. Principles of Anesthesiology. Philadelphia, PA: Lea

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