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GCSE English Macbeth > Themes > Flashcards

Flashcards in Themes Deck (5):

How is the theme of Power explored?

We see Macbeth's hunger for power jeopardise his own life as he attempts to climb the social ladder and become King which leads to his eventual downfall. Also how LM wishes to be in a powerful position particularly as women had less influence at the time and she does this through manipulating her husband to further her own gain within a royal position.

Shakespeare may've been trying to say how the drive for power is ultimately detrimental although it could be seen as an admirable trait for people to aspire to be like as despite the ending, Macbeth did get what he wanted.


How is the theme of the Supernatural explored?

The prevalence of the witches throughout the play and their role in providing consequence for Macbeth's action gives them an almost vigilante-like role as they haunt people who've committed morally questionable acts.

This also plays contextually on people's fears of ghosts and spirits which draws more interest and intrigue into the play which was definitely included by Shakespeare as a way of making the play more popular with the masses in the Jacobean Era.


How is the theme of Ambition explored?

Macbeth has great ambition to become King but this drive can be seen in a variety of different perspectives.
- An admirable trait that leads to success and fulfilment in life despite the grim ending of the play.
- Ambition should be feared as something detrimental and corruptive as people succumbed to the strong influence of potential power and influence.
- Something that in moderation can lead to success but if taken to far can be dangerous for you and others around you.


How is the theme of Appearance Versus Reality explored?

Visual hallucinations are experienced by Macbeth "is this a dagger which I see before me?" This prompts him to murder Duncan and fulfil his ambitious desires.

Also when he feels remorse for ordering Banquo's death and his ghost appears at the feast in the great hall which LM covers up by saying that Macbeth has always suffered from hallucinations since he was a child. Of course nobody would question this as it would likely lead to their execution if they doubted the opinions of the tyrannical King and his wife.

This could make the audience question the validity of their beliefs in ghosts and the supernatural as we can see evidence of it not being true in the play which could've been seen as a reputable source of information at the time despite being fictional.


How is the theme of Gender explored?

LM's drive for power is rare among women in the Jacobean Period who would've been largely controlled by their husbands and not allowed to own property or have the rights of men at the time.

This content would've questioned the common stereotypes and misconceptions making Shakespeare's work largely social commentary as well as the narrative being focused around the play as well.