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Macbeth Motif essay. How motif develops Lady Macbeth

georgexu316 3 / 6  
May 19, 2009   #1
Please offer suggestions on how I can make my essay more readable and easier to understand.
The essay is on how Shakespeare uses motif to develop Lady Macbeth in Act 5, Scene i of The Tragedy of Macbeth:

In the play The Tragedy of Macbeth by Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth kill the king for personal gains. Later, Lady Macbeth feels guilty and continuously rubs her hand in order to get rid of the guilt that is on her hands. Lady Macbeth's character development is nourished with motifs and the theme of fair is foul and foul is fair is further supported by motifs. Blood, sleep, and darkness motifs are utilized by Shakespeare to support theme and character maturation.

Before the king's death and all the chaos, blood represented loyalty and honor as Macbeth killed Macdonwald in defense of King Duncan. After Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plotted to murder the king, blood becomes a symbol of guilt and evil. The metamorphosis of the meaning of blood from loyalty to guilt demonstrates the fair is foul, and foul is fair theme. Lady Macbeth tries to incessantly chafe the imaginary blood off her arm. As she sleep walks, Lady Macbeth complains, "Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him"(V.i.43-44). She further reveals her guilt by grumbling "Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand"(V.i.55-57). Her action exhibits that Lady Macbeth feels guilty for what she has done, and her humane side is further elicited.

In literature, sleep is usually represents peace and resting. When a character loses sleep, it indicates that that God is no longer with that character. In the case of Lady Macbeth, she lost divine support when she helped to murder God's representative, King Duncan. God is punishing her by condemning her with insomnia. The doctor that sees Lady Macbeth sleepwalking comments that "The disease is beyond my practice" (V.i.65). The loss of sleep shows that Lady Macbeth is not taking the death of Banquo very well because of her conscience. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth's transformation from a well-rested lady to a person haunted by the death of Banquo and sleepwalks every night. Even though Lady Macbeth is now the queen, she sleepwalks every night. This shows the fair is foul and foul is fair theme

As Lady Macbeth sleepwalks, she sees imaginary ghosts. She moans, "Out, damned spot! Out, I say!" (39-40) as she walks around unconscious. Shakespeare uses the dark motif here. The darkness and light represent the battle between good and evil in nature and inside Lady Macbeth. When Lady Macbeth commits the horrendous act of murder, she sees creatures of the dark and she becomes a dark creature too. Before the murder, Lady Macbeth is one of the creatures that live in daylight. After the murder, Lady Macbeth becomes a creature that crawls at night. The transformation from a living noble lady to a dark creature demonstrates the theme fair is foul and foul is fair.

In the play Macbeth, the murder of King Duncan has significant impact on Lady Macbeth's life. Lady Macbeth displays guiltiness, and her character development is supported by the motifs of blood, sleep, and darkness. The motifs also demonstrate the fair is foul and foul is fair theme.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 19, 2009   #2
In Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth kill...

Actually, The Tragedy of Macbeth is a film based on the play. You are not writing about the film, are you?

Instead of saying that he used motif to convey the theme, tell what motif was used. By definition, a motif is something used to convey a theme.

In that first paragraph, it would be great to succinctly state your main points. Then, talk about each of them in the body paragraphs. You have some good evidence to show how themes were conveyed, but you should present it a little better: Simply name the motifs in the intro paragraph, and then add topic sentences to each of your body paragraphs.

That will improve the essay a lot!
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
May 19, 2009   #3
You might also consider tying back some of the motifs to those in earlier acts. For instance, Lady Macbeth's inability to wash out the imaginary blood is ironic, given her earlier insistence that "a little water cleans us of this blood." It also shows that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have switched roles. She, who did not understand the full import of her actions at the start of the play, is overwhelmed by guilt afterward. He, who could hardly bear the guilt at the beginning, becomes more callous as the play progresses.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
May 23, 2009   #4
To make this essay more readable and easy to understand:

(1) Put quotes around "fair is foul and foul is fair" every time you use the phrase.

(2) Start each of your body paragraphs with a topic sentence that begins with the word of the motif (blood, sleep, darkness).

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