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Macbeth Seminar: Madness

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Michael Argany

on 4 November 2013

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Transcript of Macbeth Seminar: Madness

Macbeth Seminar: Madness
Evolution and Consequences of Madness
Factors affecting Madness
The three main topics of our seminar are:
-the factors that push Macbeth and other characters to madness
-the evolution of madness in the play and the consequences of it
- the relation between Macbeth and the TV show "Breaking Bad"
Ways which influenced Macbeth to Madness:
First 3 prophecies
Lady Macbeth
Banquo's prophecies
Final 3 prophecies
First 3 prophecies
The witches in Macbeth play a huge role when it comes to the theme of Madness.The first 3 prophecies make Macbeth have the thought of killing Duncan, which is the beginning of Madness in the play.

(1.3.149) “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that function”This shows that Macbeth is already showing signs of mental problems that will soon cost him
Lady Macbeth
Macbeth committed the act of killing Duncan, but it was mostly because of Lady Macbeth. Before she convinced him, he was sickened by the thought of killing Duncan.

"We will proceed no further in this business." (1.7.33)

" I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know." (1.7.89)

The image of the dagger seen just before Macbeth killed Duncan can be represented as Lady Macbeth forcing him to commit the murder.
Banquo's Prophecies
Later on in the play, Macbeth remembers the prophecies given to Banquo and decides that all of his work will be for nothing if Banquo’s descendants will be kings.

(3.1.68)"No son of mine succeeding. If’t be so, For Banquo’s issues have I filed my mind.”

This killing leads to the scene which Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost
Final 3 Prophecies
The last way which the witches force Macbeth to madness is through the final 3 prophecies
Macbeth believes them so much and with such confidence it seems he has gone crazy

L: What your grace’s will?
B: Saw you the weird sisters?
L: No, my Lord
B: Came they not by you
L: No, indeed my lord
B: Infected be the air where on they ride, and damd’d all those that trust
Lady Macbeth
Lady Macbeth was driven to madness through all the bloodshed which Macbeth had created.

(Act 5, Scene 1)
"Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him!"
"The thane of Fife had a wife, where is she now? What will these hands ne'er be clean?"
Act 2
Act 3
Act 5
Act 4
Act 1
Act 1

• Duncan finds out the Thane of Cawdor is a traitor and orders for him to be executed. Duncan wants Macbeth as the next Thane of Cawdor.

Quote: “No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive / Our bosom interest: go, pronounce his present death, / And with his former title greet Macbeth.”
(Act 1. Scene 2. 73-75)

• Two prophecies the witches had given Macbeth had already come true

• Macbeth plans to kill King Duncan, with the influence of Lady Macbeth as Macbeth did not have the courage to do it himself at first

Quote: “I have given suck, and know / How tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me: / I would, while it was smiling in my face, / Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, / And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn / As you have done to this.” (Act 1. Scene 7.59-64)

Act 2
• Macbeth saw a floating dagger with the handle towards him before entering Duncan’s chamber, and heard voices after he killed Duncan

Quote: “Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.” (Act 2. Scene 1. 40-41)

Quote: “ “Sleep no more!” to all the house: / “Glamis hath murder’d sleep: and therefore Cawdor / Shall sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more!” “(Act 2. Scene 2. 54-56)

After murdering Duncan more bloodshed was caused by Macbeth to protect himself from being caught with Duncan’s murder:

• Macbeth murdered Duncan’s two guards to make it look like he was giving Duncan peace by killing his murderers

• Macbeth plans to murder Banquo and Fleance to prevent Banquo's prophecy

Act 3
• Two murders plan out with Macbeth the killing of Banquo and his son Fleance

• Banquo is murdered

• Macbeth sees Banquo’s bloody ghost

Quote: “It will have blood; they say blood will have blood.” (Act 3. Scene 4. 151)

Act 4
• Macbeth went to the witches again for help and received three more prophecies:
1) Beware of Macduff
2) He cannot be defeated by anyone born from women
3) He will only be defeated when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Castle

• Macduff fled for England to get Malcolm to come back and kill Macbeth and take the throne

• Macbeth set out to Macduff’s home to kill Macduff’s family knowing Macduff was gone

Quote: “The castle of Macduff I will surprise; / Seize upon Fife; give to the edge O’ the sword / His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls / That trace him in his line.” (Act 4. Scene 1. 165- 168)

• Upon his return to Scotland, Macduff received news of his family’s death

Quote: “He has no children. All my pretty ones? / Did you say all? O, hell-kite! All?” (Act 4. Scene 3. 223-224)

Act 5
• Lady Macbeth couldn’t handle living with her self’s guilt of her and her husband’s crimes anymore

• She started rehearsing the crimes while sleepwalking , and later eventually killed herself

• Macduff murdered Macbeth and decapitated him out of rage

Evolution Of Madness
Consequences of Madness
• Malcolm and Donalbain lose their father king Duncan to murder by Macbeth and flee Scotland for safety

• Macbeth kills two innocent soldiers

• Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship grows further apart and they start to become distant

• Macbeth has hallucinations of ghosts and voices in relation to his crimes

• Lady Macbeth becomes overwhelmed with her guilt and is on the verge of insanity

• Macbeth has gained the courage to kill but not the courage to live with his guilt of his crimes

• Banquo is murdered by Macbeth’s order, and Fleance loses his father

• Macduff loses his family by murder of Macbeth

• Macduff grows an even stronger hate towards Macbeth and is driven to take his life

• Lady Macbeth kills herself due to her inability to handle her guiltiness

• Macduff kills Macbeth

• Both Macbeth and Walter White, protagonist from AMC’s hit television show Breaking Bad, share similar characteristics and rational.

• Vince Gilligan and William Shakespeare both have created masterpieces that include anti-heroes.

• Key characteristics that these to share are:
Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. After finding out he does not have long to live, he starts cooking meth because he will do anything to protect and ensure the well-being of his wife, Skyler White, his son, Walter Jr. a.k.a “Flynn”, who suffers from cerebral palsy and daughter who is born during the second season of the show.

Relating Macbeth through text to text:
5 Key reasons to why Walter White and Macbeth are similar:
1: The belief of invincibility

2: Acting on prophecies/foretold events

3: The first murder

4. Jesse and Skyler as Lady Macbeth

5: The greed

1. The Belief of Invincibility:
Through the show Walter White begins to think he is indispensable and too important for his boss, Gustavo Fring, to get rid of. He believes so because no other meth cook in the world can come close to par with his product and without him, Gustavo’s operation will fall. Gus will never find another cook with such an extensive chemistry background and therefore rendering Walter White untouchable.

Macbeth shares this belief although his thoughts are inaccurate. Macbeth believes he is invincible because the witches foretold a prophecy that indicated he cannot be killed by “a man born from a woman”. Unfortunately for him, these witches were telling half-truths, and Macbeth was able to be killed by Macduff who was “untimely ripped” from his mother.

2. Acting on prophecies/foretold events:
Walter White is a cancer patient who is told by doctors he does not have much more time to live, and for that reason he starts to cook meth. The White’s are a family who struggle to get by, and because of the addition of his chemotherapy bills, he must do something drastic to ensure his family will be provided for. As a loving father he subsequently gets in touch with his old student Jesse Pinkman who becomes his partner in meth making.

Macbeth’s actions through the entirety of this play are based upon prophecies told by three witches. These witches tap into Macbeth’s power hungry nature and tell him he will be king one day. He is delighted at the news, only to find out that King Duncan’s son Malcolm has been named his successor, making him believe he must kill his cousin Duncan for the throne. Due to these witches prophecies Macbeth disturbs the chain of being and chaos ensues. Macbeth is once again a victim of the witches’ prophecies as he is killed, although he believes no man can kill him.

3: The first murder:
In season 1, episode 3 Walter White writes down a pros and cons list, showing that he does not want to murder Krazy Eight who is in Jesse’s basement, but if it is for the good of him and Jesse he will.

Macbeth’s murder of King Duncan was very similar as he does not want to kill King Duncan and has good reason not to. In Act II Scene 1, he has a soliloquy, where he also thinks of reasoning to kill or to not kill Duncan.
Macbeth’s rationale it:
“First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against the deep damnation of his taking-off”

Also, when Walter White goes down into the basement to let Krazy Eight go, he notices that a broken plate, that he reassembled in the same episode, is missing a shard that is similar is shape and in use as a dagger. This is very similar to Macbeth’s vision of a dagger before he kills Duncan.

4. Jesse and Skyler as Lady Macbeth:
In season 1 episode 2, the one we just talked about which consisted of Walt killing Krazy Eight, Jesse mock and harasses Walt because he does not want to kill him. Jesse telling Walt he must do his part is very similar to Lady Macbeth belittling and emasculating Macbeth when he does not have the courage to kill Duncan. In Act II Scene II she insults him and puts him down telling him he is a child when she says, “Infirm of purpose!/Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead are but as pictures: ’tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil.” Also, at the dinner party in which Macbeth has visions of Banquo’s ghost she pulls him aside and questions his manhood. Jesse and Lady Macbeth are also similar because they both have mental breakdowns because they cannot deal with the stress and guilt caused by the murder s they have committed. Skyler White is also similar to Lady Macbeth other than, often questioning Walt’s capabilities and manhood, she join Walt’s operation and help’s him launder money through a car wash. The word wash is very important here because Lady Macbeth helps out Macbeth by “using water to wash away the blood off their hands”.
5. The greed:
This probably the most important feature these to protagonists share because it results in not only their rise, but also their fall. At first Walt cooks meth as a way to stash away money for his family after his passing, but after he realizes his capabilities and the amount of money he can make he gets power hungry and will not stop until he reaches the top. The most important event during his rise in power is the murder of his Gus, not only his boss, but the head of the biggest meth ring in the world. Although this is done as for his safety, Walt does not stop there even though in season 5, episode 6 Jesse explains to him he doesn’t need to cook because he has enough money to keep his family rich for generation, he makes it very clear to Jesse that he is not done when he says to him “I am not in the meth business, I’m in the empire business. The is one of the most important quotes in the entire show because it is not evident his madness has gone to his head and he is power-hungry. He continues to cook, and eventually it is his demise as he goes mad, and must face the consequences. Macbeth is similar; he is not content with his good life as Thane of Glamis and Cowdor, so he murders his king to climb the chain of being, similar to Walt killing Gus and taking his place.
Match Game
Which character/characters were most influential of the madness of Macbeth?
Do you think that the third prophecy would have came true later on if Macbeth didn't kill Duncan?
What does the floating dagger that Macbeth sees before killing Duncan represent:

A) Macbeth's ambition to be king
B) Lady Macbeth influencing him to kill Duncan
C) the onset of Macbeth going crazy
D) Macbeth's greed to be more than just thane of Glamis and Cowdor
If Macbeth is truly insane by the end of the play, which factor drove him to madness the most:

A) the killing of Duncan
B) the killing of Banquo
C) the killing of Macduff's family
D) the death of Lady Macbeth
Which reasons make Walter White and Macbeth the most similar?

A) The acting on foretold events/ prophecies
B) The invincibility they feel
C) The greed that forces them to do terrible things
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