This is a good example of darkness imagery because when crashing thunder, lightning and rain come to mind, they all remind you of evil and ominous things. There is also a total reversal of values shown by the use of oxymoronic language. In act 1, scene 3 Macbeth and Banquo come across the witches and when Banquo says
Effects of guilt in the play Macbeth The effects of guilt tie into Macbeth with the theme of night and darkness. Guilt causes the main characters’ consciences to overcome them mentally and physically causing their downfalls. In the tragedy Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the recurring theme of night and darkness is used to symbolize guilt and conscience such as when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth want the darkness to conceal their evil deeds and in the end, when Lady Macbeth is afraid of the darkness and nighttime. In Act I, after King Duncan names Malcolm the Prince of Cumberland, Macbeth is already planning to kill Duncan. He asks the darkness to come and hide his evil deeds so no one would see the terrible thing he was about to do.
We are also told how contagious conflict and the 'ancient grudge' can be, ‘civil blood makes civil hands unclean’. The choice of the word 'civil' shows that the 'grudge' has gone beyond private and spread into society, highlighting how infectious it can be. Moreover, the word 'blood' implies death, proving the dangerous consequences of conflict both physically and mentally. Furthermore, the word ‘unclean’ reminds the audience of blood stains which yet again remind us of the deadly consequences of conflict, and also the long term effects of conflict, like the scars and the lingering guilt. The prologue inevitably ends with a Shakespearean rhyming couplet just as the tragedy will always end in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, 'Death-marks of love'.
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date… By some vile forfeit of untimely death,” (1.4.114-115). Shakespeare is telling us that something bad will happen to Romeo. Here Shakespeare uses fate. Foreshadowing is a key part in Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses it all over the play to keep reminding everyone what going to happen. “These violent delights have violent ends” (2.6.9).
Using locations such as the heath, creates a sense of isolation and secrecy, and highlights the fact that the witches are separated from the rest of the characters and society. This is a common association with witches, who in Elizabethan times were regarded as social outcasts. Furthermore, the themes of isolation and loneliness that are emphasised here are key elements that conform to the gothic genre. In addition, the witches are surrounded by “thunder and lightning”, which produces a dark and violent mood at the beginning of the play. Shakespeare has employed pathetic fallacy, as the wild weather foreshadows the unnatural events that are going to occur.
Macbeth is associated with the witches as they are waiting for him and their riddles mirror his opening remark to Banquo. Jack is the leader of the choir who, when first introduced, are associated with darkness and presented as some kind of a creature/beast. Both presentations of Macbeth and Jack in the beginning of both texts creates a negative atmosphere where the readers already think of them as bad characters who will do wrong, this is down to the presentational devices of the writer who has decided to portray the characters purposely in that particular way. In both texts, power is linked with the breakdown of morality. Both Macbeth and Jack desire power too much, they get hungry for it and it becomes a corrupting force.
Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare shocks audiences with violent language, the supernatural witches and evilness. The nature of evil, in the context of this question, means ‘profoundly immoral and wicked’ which is true to most of the play especially after King Duncan’s murder. The nature of ambition in this context portends ‘a strong desire to achieve successes’. Based on these definitions, I agree with said view of this play to some extent. Evil is first inferred in Macbeth when we first meet the Weyward Sisters (witches) and they cantillate something: ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair.’ This juxtaposition of words indicates an unnatural feel which creates the feel of imminent evil from a possibly supernatural perpetrator.
“The words of the witches are fatal to the hero only because there is something in him which leaps at the sound of them; but they are at the same time the witness of forces which never cease to work in the world around him, and, on the instant of his surrender to them, entangle him inextricably in the web of Fate.” (AC Bradley) Discuss whether fate and the supernatural are to blame for Macbeth's tragic downfall Shakespeare's protagonist's whose fate is inextricably interwoven with the dark supernatural world of the Weird Sisters. This links to the Aristotelian view of tragedy; “as is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions” (Poetics- Book 6.2). Indeed, this “metaphysical aid” is blamed for Macbeth’s tragic fall as, immediately presented to us in the play's eerie, tempestuous opening, they declare, “there to meet with Macbeth.” This would have elicited responses of “horrified sympathy and awe,” from the audience as the Witches’ dialogue suggests that they are singling him; mere mortal in whose life they intend to meddle. This makes him a tragic hero, who suffers at the hands of fate, and has little control over his destiny. That said, the playwright's juxtaposition of the supernatural with the initial portrayal of an individual at his highest peak firmly establishes the protagonist as “traditionally” heroic.
He is filled with thoughts of betrayal and is eager to become King. He is unsure if he should act upon getting the title or if it will just end up in his hands. Shakespeare has incorporated the use of Pathetic fallacy constantly throughout the entire play to reflect emotions and events. He outlines this technique on the gathering of the three witches where they only appear in darkness and during thunderstorms. It establishes a gloomy and bleak atmosphere and foreshadows the horrifying events that are to occur further on in the play.
In my opinion, the vision of evil in this play is powerfully presented through the characters of the witches. The “weird sisters” can be seen as supernatural embodiments of evil, as their actions always involve the cruel misleading or suffering of their victims. I think it is significant that the first characters we meet in the play are in fact the witches, as this shows the prevalence of the theme of evil. Early on, we realise that the witches have a great deal of power over events; they have a supernatural knowledge of the future and control over the elements. However, they use their powers for evil purposes, wreaking havoc in the lives of whoever they meet.