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Heaven and Hell: The Story of Macbeth's Demise

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Chelsea Nielsen

on 4 February 2013

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Transcript of Heaven and Hell: The Story of Macbeth's Demise

By Chelsea Heaven and Hell: The Story of Macbeth's Demise "Angels are Bright still, though the brightest fell." Malcolm 4.3.27 "Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of Hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes,nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark to cry 'Hold, hold!'" Lady Macbeth 1.5.57-61 "I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan for it is a knell that summons thee to Heaven or to Hell." Macbeth 2.1.75-77 "But wherefore could not pronounce 'Amen'? I had most need of blessing , and 'Amen' stuck in my throat." Macbeth 2.2.42-44 "The sleeping and the dead are but as pictures. 'Tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil. If he do bleed, I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt." Lady Macbeth 2.2.69-73 “If a man were porter of hell gate, he should have old turning the key. (Knock.) Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there, I’ th’ name of Beelzebub?......Who’s there in the other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake yet could not equivocate to heaven . O, come in, equivocator……Never at quiet - What are you? – But this place is too cold for hell.” A drunk porter 2.3.1-4, 7-12, 16-17 "Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that which might appall the devil." Macbeth 3.4.71-71 “Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with man’s act, threatens his bloody stage.” Ross 2.4.7-8 “ Did heaven look on and would not take their part?” Macduff 4.3.263-264 “The devil himself could not pronounce a title more hateful to mine ear.” Young Siward 5.7.10-11 Macbeth, the classic tale of how greed, corruption and persuasion can send a man and his wife to their death. But there is more to this story than first meets the eye. Multiple themes appear throughout the story. It's hard to determine which one is the central theme, but Heaven and Hell is just one of few of the most recognizable themes in this dark tale. At the time of which the play took place, religion and the belief of Heaven and Hell was huge. Everyone was much more spiritual when it came to God than today's modern society. Perhaps that's one reason why Macbeth began to spiral out of control. Because he realized what he was doing, and everything that occurred in the aftermath was God's way of punishing him for his sins. Yet, despite knowing that, he continued with the deaths. Malcolm said that angels are still bright, even though the brightest one fell from Heaven. Perhaps he wasn't just talking about Lucifer though. Maybe he was also referring to the once proud Macbeth, who fell from grace after killing Malcolm's father. Macbeth had so much promise. He was loyal to his country, to his wife. But greed and temptation led this once noble man down the very dark path to his doom. Lady Macbeth, the one who persuaded Macbeth to give into temptation, began to sleep walk from all of the guilt building up inside. She would try to wash off Duncan's blood in her sleep. Her health ended up in a downward spiral due to the weight of her guilty conscious. She paid the price for her deeds. There are many themes and dichotomies in the story of Macbeth. But one that stands out the most would be Heaven and Hell. It appears on almost a regular basis throughout the play, whether in an analogy, or a character really just wants some answers. Religion played an important part in that particular time. Everyone was more conscious of being watched by God, being judged about every little thing. They knew God was in control of things. Yet Macbeth seemed to think that he could get away with Duncan’s Death and Banquo’s murder, just to name a couple. He and his wife thought that God would overlook this. They didn’t stop to realize how this would affect them down the road and how God might punish them for what they had done. The prophecy given to Macbeth by the witches lead them down the path to temptation, and the road to Hell. Many parts of the play touch on this, some characters even comparing Macbeth to the Devil or a fallen angel. At one point, his own porter pretends to be the porter to the gate of Hell, after having a little too much to drink. That’s why it’s such a major theme in the play. Every character believes God is watching you, and if you screw up, you will pay for your sins. Macbeth paid for the sins he committed, which was caused by his temptation to become King. He wife isn’t exactly innocent either; after all, she’s the one who convinced him to follow through with his plans. So the two of them together traveled down a dark path that is seldom traveled, learning a valuable lesson only when it was too late. Macbeth, the very man who committed the deed, suffered as well. He killed one of his friends, the wife and children of another nobleman, and tried to kill more. His greed took over and led him down a dark path. All he wanted was to be king, and he stepped on anyone who got in his way. That was until the plot to kill him came around. He tried to escape, but was caught by young Siward, who died by Macbeth's hand. Then Macduff arrived. Macbeth was certain he could kill Macduff, until he discovered that Macduff was not "born of a woman". Macduff was the one from the prophecy who would kill Macbeth, which is exactly what he did. Macbeth finally got what he had coming for him. Both Macbeth and his wife learned the hard way; when you turn your back on Heaven and kill innocent souls, you're going to face the consequences. Lady Macbeth dies Macbeth dies, Malcolm takes his place as rightful king Lady Macbeth's Fate... Macbeth's Fate...
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