Macbeth is the confluence of man's worst fears, spoken with his most beautiful language, and arranged as a spectacle that is "bloody, bold, and resolute." It's a perfect recipe for tragedy.
Language and spectacle make the play great: words and images. What else is there?
Here are the high points of each:
- Language: He who controls language controls others, their fears, their fates...
•Language (argument) is used to attain and maintain position and maintain power; Macbeth is won over by the words of women: the equivocal language of the witches and the brute force simplicity of Lady Macbeth
•Macbeth: thoughtful, poetic iambic pentameter (elevates him above rest)
•Lady Macbeth: plain, unimaginative iambic pentameter •Bleeding Captain: strong, harsh, war-like iambic pentameter
Poetry (Rhyming Couplets): Witches: short, choppy iambic tetrameter
Prose: •Porter (servant): dark, bawdy common language, humor
- In terms of spectacle: Macbeth is visceral. It's his bloodiest play. Blood imagery is key.
The witches are psychological forces while on stage. The audiences back then believed in their power to control.
The swordfighting scenes are great; heads are cut off; a soldier is gutted from belly to neck; horses eat each other; spells are cast; people go crazy. The blood flows early and often. It's a horrorshow.
The dichotomy of beautiful words and graphic imagery make for Shakespeare's most "wholly tragic" play.