The Impact of Surroundings on Macbeth Essay Example
It is very rare to see literature relating back to a character's surroundings. Through this uncommon characteristic of literature, one can observe how a character’s surroundings can be influential to their entire life. William Shakespeare is an author who can be attributed to doing this very effectively. In the play The Tragedy of Macbeth the reader is able to effectively see how surroundings not only affects Macbeth's actions but also his mental being.
In Act I the readers are introduced to the three witches who meet Macbeth and tell him he will become the Thane of Cordor, then onto the King of Scotland. After Macbeth’s promotion to Thane, King Duncan invited him to dinner. This then provokes Macbeth to write to his wife, Lady Macbeth, informing her of the news. And unlike Macbeth, his wife has a more ruthless approach of how he shall become king. After berating him upon his arrival, Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to kill the King. This is the first time readers can truly see how Macbeth's surroundings, his wife, influence his character.
Beginning Act III readers see how the act of murder is sitting on now King Macbeth’s conceince. Not only does it make him unable to enjoy the promotion to king, but send him onto a killing spree. Returning back to what the three witches had told him that not only would he be promoted king but his fellow general Banquo’s descendants would also become kings. This led Macbeth to put a bounty on both Banquo and his son Fleance. While Banquo is murdered Fleance escapes sending Macbeth deeper into his frantic and disheveled state, not only leading to him seeing the ghost of Banquo but also to return to the witches.
In Act V not only do readers see the further effects of guilt weighing on Macbeth, they begin to see the surrounding state of mind push itself unto Lady Macbeth. This results in Lady Macbeth to begin sleepwalking in paranoia as Macbeth is away on a murderous rampage. After paranoia finally taking full effect on Lady Macbeth she claims her own life with the fear of having blood on her hands. Reflecting not only her own mistakes but the events she caused in her efforts to make her husband king.
While literature that shows a reader the effects that surroundings can have on characters is rare, Shakespeare's Macbeth is a great example of how it can be used effectively in a work. How one event can lead to a series of guilty conscience, lost loved ones, and paranoia in a character's life. Literature such as this not only gives readers a show of how effective literature is but shows how it can be applied to real life scenarios.