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What are three themes found in both Macbeth and Great Expectations?

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megaguru8 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:42 AM via web

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What are three themes found in both Macbeth and Great Expectations?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 13, 2012 at 6:15 AM (Answer #1)

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Three themes present in both Macbeth and Great Expectations are the consequences of ambition, the revenge can backfire, and the destructive power of guilt.

Both the play and the novel have dark overtones.  In each case, there are mysteries to be solved and creatively complex characters.

Macbeth and Pip both want to climb above their current social station.  In each case, they do not question the forces or actions that help them rise up.  They are so blinded by their ambition that they don’t see that it is destroying them.

Revenge is a key theme in both the play and novel.  Miss Havisham and Magwitch both want revenge against society and individuals, and ultimately they end up suffering along with their victims.  They use innocents, Estella and Pip, to accomplish this revenge.  In Macbeth, MacDuff’s desire to seek revenge similarly destroys him.

When one thinks of guilt, Lady Macbeth is one of the first images to come to mind.  She is destroyed by it, and so is Pip.  He constantly faces his guilty conscience, and while he does not go mad he certainly remains miserable.  It prevents him from a fully realized life.



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