Hey, can I get some feedback on my Macbeth essay and what mark it might get?
Thank you so much
Question: Analyse how Language Features were used to determine your understanding of a theme
Guilt is a complex human emotion often said to be the difference between humans and animals. It undoes the great chain of being and disturbs the natural order of the world. In Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, Shakespeare shows the reader how guilt wreaks havoc on the human mind by using language features such as Blood, Hallucinations, and Religion. Using these, Shakespeare deepens the reader’s understanding of an important theme which can be found in everyday life.
Shakespeare’s use of blood helps highlight the never-fading nature of Guilt for the reader. Macbeth has just murdered King Duncan and he laments on the blood that covers his hands, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine.” Shakespeare explains that guilt isn’t something that is easy to get rid of by showing its strenuous hold on Macbeth’s psyche. Shakespeare’s use of the language features of symbolism and hyperbole is used to convey how dire Macbeth’s situation is. This is shown in “…my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine.” which implies that his guilt is too powerful and would turn the ocean itself red with blood. When Lady Macbeth tries to remove imaginary blood from her hands, she commands it, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!” Shakespeare highlights how the guilt won’t leave her mind no matter how much she wants it to. The use of imperative here shows how Shakespeare is teaching the reader how her mind has been corrupted beyond return. The nature of Guilt is explored in connection to the human condition, Shakespeare deepens our understanding by using language features to prove his point.
Hallucinations, seen by both Macbeth and his wife, are found throughout the play and are used to portray the negative effect of guilt. During the banquet scene (A3, S4), Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo and tries to console his growing unease by saying, “Thy bones are marrowless; thy blood is cold; thou hast no speculation in those eyes.” Shakespeare uses metaphors and bold imagery to further the reader’s understanding of guilt. Macbeth tries to take the blame off himself in this scene by suggesting that Banquo is dead and there is nothing he can do to change that. As humans, we constantly try to avoid guilt by passing it on or underplaying the matter. Shakespeare conveys this to the reader, implying that the takeaway from this is that guilt is always unwanted and very destructive to human nature. Macbeth’s refusal of blame is furthermore shown when he states, “Thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me.” Macbeth denies any involvement in the murder of his friend and asks that the ghostly figure, who is pointing at him accusingly, stop suggesting he is to blame. Of course, Banquo’s figure isn’t really there, it is merely a projection of Macbeth’s psyche and his subconscious knowing he is to blame. Macbeth’s statement here shows how he is wrestling with himself and trying to remove his guilt. Shakespeare shows how this has failed to preserve his mental state which helps the reader gain an understanding of the destructive nature of guilt. To emphasise guilt’s plague-like effect Shakespeare uses “ghosts” which symbolise haunting. This helps show how hallucinations represent a loss of grip on reality.
The nature of guilt is highlighted by Shakespeare’s repeated themes of religion in the play helps to educate the reader on guilt’s nasty spiritual effect. In Macbeth’s soliloquy, before he kills Duncan, he states, “We’d jump the life to come.” Shakespeare refers to heaven here to illustrate that if Macbeth went ahead with the planned regicide he would be forever cast from heaven. Shakespeare’s repetition of the notion of gods highlights how Macbeth has been abandoned by God. Furthermore, this is aided by his use of “Naptune’s ocean” which implies he has gone so far as to seek help from a non-Christian god. In addition, when Macbeth has done the deed he says, “But wherefore could not I pronounce Amen?” Macbeth’s inability to say “amen” poses a similar point. Shakespeare conveys Macbeth’s denial of gods and their forgiveness, his guilt acts as a barrier stopping him from reaching the afterlife. Macbeth can be related to society, where people are forever seeking forgiveness from their gods. Shakespeare proposes that the only one capable of forgiving Macbeth is Duncan. Shakespeare helps expand the reader’s understanding of this complex theme–Macbeth feels guilt for his actions but there is no one to forgive him.
Motifs such as Blood, Hallucinations, and religion were used with language features such as hyperboles, metaphors, and symbolism to highlight the effect of guilt for the reader. Shakespeare furthers the reader’s understanding of the theme of guilt during the course of the play using these tools to help reinforce the idea. Guilt is seen as the hamartia of humans that ruins lives and Shakespeare shows how there is nothing more toxic in this world than guilt.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to any advice you may offer me