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Clothing Motif in Macbeth

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Richard Maurer

on 27 March 2015

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Transcript of Clothing Motif in Macbeth

Richard Maurer
Clothing Motif in
Macbeth

A motif is an object or idea that repeats itself throughout a literary work. Motifs have a symbolic significance and contribute toward the development of the theme.
"Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?"
(Act 1, scene 3, line 112)

Clothing Motif
"Golden opinions from all sorts of people that would be worn now in their newest gloss"
(Act 1, scene 7, line 35)
Clothing Motif
"Lest our old robes sit easier than our new"
(Act 2, scene 4, line 48)
Clothing Motif
Motif
Throughout the play
Macbeth
by William Shakespeare there are many significant motifs. One very important and reoccurring motif in
Macbeth
is clothing.
Clothing Motif
"Indissoluble tie forever knit"
(Act 3, scene 1, lines 18-19)
Clothing Motif
Clothing Motif
"cannot buckle his distempered cause within the belt of rule"
(Act 5, scene 2, line 17)
Clothing Motif
"like a giants robe upon a dwarfish thief"
(Act 5, scene 2, line 25)
Throughout
Macbeth
clothing shows represents where the characters are in their lives and how the characters feel about each other.
Macbeth:
Macbeth:
Macduff:
Banquo:
Caithness:
Angus:
"Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace, yet grace must still look so"
(Act 4, scene 3, lines 27-28)
Malcolm:
Analysis
Throughout the play
Macbeth
by William Shakespeare, many of the characters continuously bring up clothing. These characters, as shown by their quotes mention the clothing they are wearing, they are receiving, and the clothing on other people. This is not because the characters in
Macbeth
are very concerned about appearances, however it symbolizes how they feel about where themselves and other characters stand. For example when Macbeth says "why do you dress me in borrowed robes", he is not saying he is getting some old clothes, it represents that he feels he is unworthy of the thanes title. Then by act five the reader can see that he has taken advantage of his power as king when Angus says "like a giants robe upon a dwarfish fish". This shows that the people feel that Macbeth stole Duncan's power and that it is unfit for him. This demonstrates how the motif of clothing develops the play and how it plays a role in the plot. Each one of the quotes regarding clothing represents something more than it appears and this makes it a very effective motif.
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