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Greed and Blood Evident in the Book of Macbeth

Greedand Blood Evident in the Book of Macbeth

TheMacbeth is one of the most popular and short tragedy stories writtenby Shakespeare. The book concerns the story of a general, Macbeth,who uses corrupt means to rise to become king. Macbeth’s dream ofbecoming a king begins when he stumbles upon three witches, whopredict that King Duncan will soon make him a thane (nobleman). Inaddition, the witches prophesy to him that he will afterwards becomea king. However, the witches predict that Macbeth’s accomplice,Banquo, will also create a line of Scottish kings despite the factthat he will not become a king himself. The two generals, and warheroes, returning home are first skeptical about the accuracy of theprophecies until Macbeth receives news that King Duncan has appointedhim as the thane of Cawdor`s replacement. This research paperhypothesizes that blood and greed dominate in Macbeth.

Oneof the acts of greed evident in the book comes from the initial Thaneof Cawdor. The thane is introduced in Act I scene (ii) via theelision technique. King Duncan asserts, “There`sno art / To find the mind`s construction in the face”to imply that the external appearance of an individual cannot be usedto judge a person’s heart. Cawdor’s first thane was a bosomfriend to King Duncan (Arif 2). The King had entrusted him to run theaffairs of one of the cities, as well as help in protecting thekingdom from outside invasions. However, the thane’s greedmotivated him to collaborate with betrayers of the kingdom, theNorwegian King, Sveno, and Macdonwald the Norwegian rebel. Thethane’s motivation for betraying the kingdom was his greed to holda more senior position such as the kingship (Hinton 4).

Onthe same note, Macbeth’s victory in the war earned him the honorand recognition from Duncan, the Scottish King, as well as othersoldiers back at home. The king honors Macbeth through appointing himas the replacement thane of Cawdor. When the wounded sergeantreported to King Duncan that Macbeth and Danquo ha defeated theinvading enemies, he remarked, “Ovaliant cousin! Worthy gentleman!”He was pleased with his fighting prowess, bravery, and loyalty to thekingdom. This made Duncan him give him a high rank in the kingdom.However, Macbeth’s greed motivated him to kill the king so that hecould substitute him (Arif 6).

ThaneMacbeth also portrays greed in the book from his strong passion tobecome the king. The witches had predicted that he would become thethane of Cawdor, and the Scottish King. However, Macbeth’s greed tobecome the king surpassed him immediately he became a noble person.In the act 1 scene (ii), Macbeth asserts, “Macbethdoes murder sleep`, the innocent sleep,/ Sleep that knits up theravell`d sleeve of care,/ The death of each day`s life, sore labour`sbath,”to show that he killed King Duncan despite the fact that he hadachieved power in a legitimate way (Arif 8). Macbeth also portraysgreed in the book because he encouraged his husband to kill the kingbecause she. Duncan was the Scottish people’s favorite king, butMacbeth opted to kill him because he wanted to become the king first(Hinton 5).

Ladywas anxious to become a queen fast. This was despite the fact thatthe witches had promised Macbeth that he would eventually become theking. She claims that “Confoundsus. Hark! I laid their daggers ready / He could not miss `em. Had henot resembled.”This statement shows that she was the one who prepared the knivesMacbeth used to stab King Duncan, as well as planned the druggingprocess for the King’s chamberlains (Arif 10). In case Lady Macbethwas not a greedy woman, his husband would not have killed the kingbecause he had originally opposed the idea (Hinton 7).

Theact of Macbeth killing the king’s chamberlains the followingmorning portrays both blood and greed. Macbeth and his wife haddrugged the chamberlains so that they could kill the kill the kingand blame-shift his death on them because it was their duty toprotect the king. In Act II Scene (iii), Macbeth asserts “O,yet I do repent me of my fury, / That I did kill them”when Malcolm seeks to know the person who killed his father fromMacduff. Malcom was furious to discover that Macbeth had killed thetwo chamberlains instead of detaining them. Although Macbeth claimedthat he was overcome by fury, the fact was that he killed them tocover up his greed ambition of becoming the Scottish king usingcorrupt strategy (Arif 12).

Anotherway blood and greed are illustrated in the Shakespeare’s Macbethbook is through King Macbeth’s desire to kill General Danquo andhis son. He was feeling threatened by the fact that the witches hadpredicted that Danquo’s descendants would make kingship althoughhimself he would not be a king. In Act 1 scene (iii), the third witchasserts, “Thoushalt get kings, though thou be none: / So all hail, Macbeth andBanquo!”In order to secure his position as a leader, Macbeth hires assassinsto kill Danquo and his son so that his generation would not create aline of kingship. This was an act of greed, as well as blood becauseDanquo dies during the ambush of the assassins when he was on his wayto a royal feast (Hinton 8).

Atthe beginning of the book, the author portrays blood in that Macbethand Donquo are returning from a dangerous war where they successfullydefeated Macdonwald’s rebellious army. The king praises thefighting skills and dedication of his cousin Macbeth in thebattleground such that he finds it worth promoting him to the rank ofa thane. On the other hand, the book closes in a bloody war, but theresistance army slays Macbeth instead. Despite the fact that Macbethwas a skilled and strong warrior, his greed created too many enemiessuch that he ended up dying in the hands of his former colleagues. Inact five scene (10) he challenges, “Whyshould I play the Roman fool, and die / On mine own sword?”This statement proves his valor and passion for war. When he learnedthat Macduff and the resistance army was advancing towards hiscastle, he prepared for the battle as he thought that the witchesprophecy, that he would only be defeated by a child who is not bornof woman, meant that a supernatural being is the one that would takehis kingship away. Macbeth believed that all the soldiers en-route toattack him were all humans, thus, he would defeat them as usual(Hinton 15).

Lastly,Macbeth book illustrates blood as in the form of the guilt Macbethand his wife experiences after their treachery act. Blood portraysthe guilt the couple feels after they started their murderous path.In Act II scene 2, Macbeth asks his wife, “Willall great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?”The blood in this part illustrates his guilt conscience (Hinton 14).


Shakespeare,William, “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” Shakespearehomepage. Viewed from http://shakespeare.mit.edu/macbeth/full.html

Hinton,Peter. “Macbethby William Shakespeare reading guide,”The national arts center English theater programs for studentaudiences. 2007. Print.

Arif,Javed, “Macbeth’s Identity Crisis: Shakespeare as the savior,”KhulnaUniversityStudies. 2(1). 1-13.