Here are the major themes of Macbeth:
- Ambition can subvert reason:
“From this moment,the very firstlings of my shall be the firstlings of my hand.” –Act IV, Scene 1
“Thou wouldst be great; art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.” –Act I, Scene 5
- When supernatural powers represent evil, they should be ignored.
“But ‘tis strange! And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray’s in deepest consequence.” –Act I, Scene 3AND
“Accursed be the tongue that tells me so, for it hath cowed my better part of man! And be these juggling fiends no more believed.” –Act V, Scene 8
- The natural order is disrupted by any upset in the proper order of human society.
“By the clock ‘tis day, and yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp. Is’t night’s predominance, or day’s shame, that darkness does the face of earth entomb when living light should kiss it?” –Act II, Scene 4AND
“The obscure bird clamored the livelong night. Some say the earth was feverous and did shake.” –Act II, Scene 3
- Appearances do not always reflect reality.
“There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust.” –Act I, Scene 4AND
“Our separated fortune shall keep us both the safer. Where we are, there’s in men’s smiles; the near in blood, the nearer bloody.” –Act II, Scene 3
- Despite prophecies of the future, people are responsible for their own actions.
“If you can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear your favors nor your hate.” –Act I, Scene 3