Significant Connections


 Ambition is the greatest human virtue that provides purpose in peoples lives by giving them the desire to achieve success or power. Having ambition in our lives means that we dream of accomplishing big things and strive to achieve them. When ambition works alongside strong morals and the right intentions, it will normally have a positive outcome. But, with the nature of ambition being such a fragile concept, people can often unknowingly cross the border and become too ambitious, seeking things not meant to be. The thirst for power can never truly be satisfied, and once ambition has clouded our judgement and morals, there will be detrimental effects on not only us but the people around us.
 In Macbeth by Shakespeare, Ozymandias by Percy Shelley, Viva la Vida by Coldplay and Gattaca by Andrew Niccol, the nature of ambition and it’s limits has been explored and the texts all reach different conclusions about ambition, allowing the reader to understand that ambition is NOT a simple thing.

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the damage ambition can cause is portrayed through the main character Macbeth. Macbeth is a loyal friend, soldier and war hero first described as “valours minion” after the battle against Norway,  who served King Duncan honourably and never thought to question his position. Macbeth is exposed to a prophecy that says he will become Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland.
The prophecy has a great impact on Macbeth and he realises his true desire for power. The prophecy ignites a wildfire of dark ambition in Macbeth, and in the process, Macbeth sacrifices his morals to become King. 
After the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth says “I am in blood, Stepped in so far,that should i wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er”. Shakespeare does this to show how Macbeth believes that he has already sacrificed his morals in the murder of Duncan that going back is not an option for there is nowhere to return to. The acceptance of his dark ambition allows Macbeth to let go of anything holding him back and this leads beautifully into his line “I have no spur to prick the sides/Only vaulting ambition which o’oerleaps itself/And falls on th’other..” Here Shakespeare shows how Macbeth  has nothing to hold him back from his ambition (no spur to prick the sides), and his thirst for power is so strong that it vaults over istelf and lands on another side, the evil and darker side of ambitions capabilities. This opens the door for Macbeth to become morally and mentally corrupt, which leads to the destruction and death of his friends, wife and even himself. 
The true nature of ambition was revealed in Macbeth by Shakespeare and we see how if taken too far,  the thing that pushes us to our potential can also be the thing that ruins us. 

In a similar way as in Macbeth, in the poem, Ozymandias by Percy Shelley, the self-confident and ambitious Ozymandias desires for his legacy to be remembered after his death.  He makes a statue of himself and places it in the desert as a way to be remembered forever and for people to see. However only “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone/Stand in the desert”. Shelley uses this to infer that all that remains of his mighty statue are is legs. “Near them on the sand/Half sunk, a shattered visage lies”, this says that Ozymandias’ visage, meaning his face is broken and lieing in the sand. We start to get the idea that the very person Ozymandias desired to be remembered as is not who he really was, in truth he was as broken as his statue now is. 
The poem goes on to say that on a plaque on the statue it reads “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings”
Here we really ssee Ozymandias’ desire to be seen as a powerful man. Ozymandias thinks that he is the King of Kings, and because Kings are believed to be powerful and Gods appointed ruler, Ozymandias’ is declaring that he is the most powerful King to have lived, and essentailly he is the ruler of Kings, a position in history that is seen to be Gods. “Look on my works, ye mighty and despair!” // Nothing beside remains, Round the decay of that colossal wreck” 
 Here Ozymandias says that people should look on his ‘works’ and lose hope in themselves at the greatness of them, ironically though, nothing beside his ‘mighty and powerful’ statue remains to show for his works and accomplishments.  This shows the reader how if we get too enveloped by our own ambitions and personal greatness, we lose sight of what’s really around us and become isolated from the real world. Ozymandias statue represents all that was wrong with his ambition and the very thing he desired to be remembered as was the opposite of what was seen from the statue.
Ozymandias by Percy Shelley explores ambition and the ways it can retaliate against us, even after death, and in the same ways as Macbeth, both men lost the things they desired most due to their ambition.

Viva la Vida by Coldplay explores ambition in a slightly different light than the other two texts, in that the main character, a King, has already lost everything he had desired through his ambition, and the song explores what consequences come to those who become power hungry.
The song begins with the line  ” I used to rule the world, Seas would rise when I gave the word” which implies that the King ‘used’ to rule everything and believed he was so powerful that he even ruled nature and seas would rise when he told them to. This is an impossible act and one only ever accomplished once in the Bible, when God allowed Moses to split the Red Sea and cross it. The King believes he too can raise seas, implying that he has powers similar to Gods and can accomplish the same things, a sign of his self confidence.  
Soon after the King faces the consequences of his ambitions, seen in the line ” One minute I held the key, Next the walls were closed on me, and I discovered that my castles stand, upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand”. This is a telling part of the play, when the King loses they key to his own castle and realises that the very foundations of his castle are built upon instable and uncertain pillars of salt and sand, and not reliable pillars of stone. Salt is  a metaphorical symbol of durability and permanence and it acts as another biblical reference, a pillar of salt is a symbol of sin, refering to Genesis when Lot’s wife looked back on Sodom even though she was warned not to and as punishment was turned into a pillar of salt for all eternity.  Because of these references to the Bible, this line makes us believe that the Kings castle was built upon sin, which implies that the King got to his position through sinful ways, just as Macbeth did. The castle pillars however are not durable and permanent like the concept  “pillars of salt” would suggest, because the pillars of sand imply that the castle is built upon loose and unstable sand pillars too, therefore the castle is built upon sin and instability.
Nearing the end of the song, the King then reaches what I think to be the worst of his consequecnes, when he says the line “I know Saint Peter won’t call my name”.  The true extent of the Kings consequences is shown here, when he says that Saint Peter, the angel that guards the gates of heaven won’t call his name to enter the afterlife, and he instead will go to Hell.
As King he is seen to be Gods appointed ruler on earth and the belief that he will  not be accepted into heaven is a sign of despair and a complete loss of faith, due to the ambition he had.

Viva la Vida explores the consequences of a power hungry ambition, similar to the way Ozymandias and Macbeth do,  through the character of a King who seeks power and in the end, loses it all.


After reading the last three texts, you might have the impression that ambition is a dangerous and fragile human virtue that only causes harm to humans. Contrary to this belief, ambition still has the potential to give real purpose to our lives, without having negative consequences if we play by the rules and don’t sacrifice our morals. 
In the dystopian film Gattaca by Andrew Niccol,  a society is built upon the idea that genetic selection is better than natural conception, and ‘invalids’ or naturally conceived humans are of lesser status. Vincent Freeman is an ‘invalid’ who was born with a rare heart disorder that could kill him before 30.  All throughout Vincent’s life, he suffers under the burden of discrimination and inequality of the Gattaca society.
Vincent uses ambition as a way to give his life purpose, and he strives to overcome the disadvantages of his inferior genetics.
When Vincent says the line  “Eugene never suffered from the routine discrimination of a ‘utero’, a ‘faith birth’ or and ‘invalid’ as we were called” he shows how genetically perfect humans never had to experience the same prejudiced treatment that Vincent and others like him suffered everyday. This helps to show us that Vincent and other invalids were hardened by their harsh treatment because they routinely endured it.
Vincent then goes on to say “He suffered under a different burden: The burden of perfection”  which poses a very important idea that perfection can be a burden in society and in Gattaca, those who have had their lives handed to them on a silver plate like Eugene; suffer under perfections high expectations. Vincent and Eugenes status in society are at opposite ends of the spectrum, however, both suffer under some burden, and it is how they overcome the burden that tells of their strength as humans.
Because of Vincent’s upbringing in Gattaca’s society, he learns that in order for him to ever succeed in life and overcome his burden, he will have to fight against every single molecule of his genetics if he wants to succeed. This means that to be an astronaut and get to Titan as he dreamt of, he needed to have the ambition to get himself there , unlike Jerome who just needed the genetics. 
In the line “Jerome had been engineered with everything he needed to get into Gattaca, except the desire to do so.”
Niccol uses this line to show how Jerome’s (Eugene)  genetics meant he had everything he needed to succeed, except the ambition to do so. This shows of the expectations that perfection placed on him and without the desire to achieve, his genetics were just as ‘invalid’ as Vincents.
Vincents most powerful line “This is how i did it Anton, I never saved anything for the swim back”  shows us how completely determined Vincent was to achieve his dreams, that he never saved anything for the ‘swim’ back or in other words, he had nothing left to go back and could only go forward. Niccol uses this as a way to show that Vincent’s ambition meant he gave everything to achieve success and had nothing to hold him back.
This can be linked to Macbeth’s ” Should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’oer”  quote, in that both men felt that they had no way to turn back from their ambition, and they had to let it take the reigns entirely. However, the difference in the two men is that Vincent never comprised himself or his morals like Macbeth did and that is why his story ended in success and not destruction.

In the four texts, Macbeth by Shakespeare, Ozymandias by Percy Shelley, Viva la Vida by Coldplay and Gattaca by Andrew Niccol, the nature of ambition was explored in distinctly different ways,  and all the texts came to a different conclusion about ambition and it’s potential either better or worse our lives. 
From investigating these texts, we can understand that ambition can either be the greatest human virtue or the greatest undoing of humans and it is a force to be reckoned with.

Ozymandias

How does Shelley convey Ozymandias’ hubris in the poem?

In the poem Ozymandias written by Percy Shelley, Shelley conveys Ozymandias the “King of Kings” as hubris, meaning the act of excessive pride or arrogance through the choice of language that Ozymandias describes himself.
In the poem, the statue of Ozymandias is described as having “two vast and trunkless legs of stone” implying there is no head. It then goes on to say “ near them, on the sand Half sunk, a shattered visage lies”.
The word visage means a person’s face, so we get the image that this mighty statue has its head broken off and lays shattered and uncared for, not what would be expected of such a highly praised “King of Kings”.
On the pedestal on Ozymandias’ statue the words “ King of Kings” and “look on my works ye mighty and despair “ are written, implying that this man, for that is all he is, was arrogant enough to announce himself the King of all Kings, and warn others to fear his works.
Ozymandias has a figment of himself that is only true in his imagination and is ironic when paired with the sight of the mighty statue he had built, that is broken and forgotten in a desert surrounded by nothing but “lone and level sands”.
Ozymandias’ hubris is shown through the choice of language to show that …………??

Practice paragraph – Gattaca

“Describe at least one idea that changed your perspective in the film”  

“We are more than our genetics”

In the film ‘Gattaca’ by Andrew Niccol the idea that your genetics define what your life will hold is prominent and in this futuristic dystopia, genetic selection rules society to a point where you are more socially elite if you are a “valid”. Right from birth, your genetics are chosen and your identity is your genetic makeup, a sequence of letters that predict your life. Using this idea, Andrew Niccol creates a character that right from the time of conception,  is battling against his own genes to achieve his dreams for the future. The idea that we are nothing more than what our genetics tell us, is forced upon Vincent, who is an invalid and disadvantaged in the society run by eugenics. He has to hide behind Jerome, a genetically engineered humans DNA to achieve his dreams. Niccol uses symbolism in the form of a helix spiral staircase that is at the core of their modernist apartment to show how Vincent and Jerome’s lives are built around DNA but more notably, that we are more than our genes. 

he idea that we are more than our genetics is found nowhere more clearly than in the scene when Jerome climbs up the Helix staircase in order to maintain Vincent’s dream to get to Titan.

Gattaca Scene Analysis

Scene starts 1:19:15

Shot 1: Car
Long Shot
High Angle
suspenseful music

Shot 2: Vincent 
Mid Shot 
Low Angle

Shot 3: Jerome
Mid Shot
Low Angle

Shot 4:  Vincent
Mid Shot
Low Angle

Shot 5: Jerome
Mid Shot
Level Angle

Shot 6:  Vincent
Mid Shot
Level Angle

Shot 7: Jerome
Mid Shot
Level Angle

Shot 8:  Vincent
Mid Shot 
Low Angle

Shot 9: Stairwell
Long Shot
Low Angle

Shot 10: Jerome looking up spiral stairs
Mid Shot
High Angle

Shot 11:  Jerome falling out of wheelcahri
Long Shot
Level Angle

Shot 12:  Car driving 
Long Shot
Low Angle

Shot 13: Jerome 
Long Shot
High Angle

Shot 14:  Jerome climbing stairs
Long Shot 
Birds Eye view

Shot 15: Irene & Anton in car
Two Shot
Level Angle

Shot 16: Jerome's hand
Close up
Level Angle

Shot 17:  Jerome's feet
Close up
Level

Shot 18:  Car
Long Shot
Level Angle

Shot 19: Stairs
Long Shot 
Level Angle

Shot 20:  Car 
Long Shot
Level Angle

Shot 21: Jerome hand
Close up
Low Angle

Shot 22:  Stairs 
Close up
Point of view/ Level Angle

Shot 23:  Car
Long Shot
Level Angle

Shot 24: Stairs
Long Shot 
High Angle


Shot 25:  Car park 
Long Shot 
Low Angle to Level Angle


Shot 26  Stairs 
Long Shot
High Angle

Shot 27:  Jerome eyes 
Close up
Low Angle

Shot 28:  Irene and Anton buzzer
Two Shot
Level Angle

Shot 29: Top of Stairs
Mid Shot
Level Angle

Shot 30:  Buzzing to house 
Two Shot
Level Angle

Shot 31:  Jerome finger on buzzer
Close up
Level Angle

Shot 32:  Irene and Anton buzzing from door
Two Shot
Level Angle

Shot 33:  Jerome finger on buzzer
Close up
level Angle





NCEA Formal writing 1.5, Literary Essay

In Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Macbeth’, ambition is the driving force behind the downfall of the main character, Macbeth. Macbeth is given the knowledge from supernatural creatures that he will be Thane of Cawdor, King and that Banquo will be the father to future Kings. This information acts like a pebble and creates a ripple effect that fuels Macbeth’s burning desire for power and to be King, whatever the cost. But as we have seen countless times in history, too much power can corrupt a man and become the thing that ruins them.  ” All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” – Lord Acton.  This quote does well to explain the capabilities of power, able to corrupt a man, like in Shakespeare’s play. This essay will be about the language conventions that Shakespeare uses to show Macbeth’s degenerating mind and corrupted mental state as a result from his ambition.

Dramatic Irony is when the audience knows something the character does not, this gives them the knowledge but not the power to act on it. It is often used to make the audience feel involved in the play. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to show Macbeth’s mental deterioration, he cannot recognize the tricks his mind is playing, but the audience can. An example of this is when Macbeth is on his way to murder Duncan, the current King in his sleep. He believes he can see a dagger, floating in the air before him. It reaches towards him but he cannot touch it or feel it. Macbeth questions his sense of sight, perhaps the only time in the play where he may believe he is imagining things and he questions his morals.        “To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation”.      I’ve interpreted that the audience cannot see the dagger and knows Macbeth is not mentally stable. The audience doesn’t want Macbeth to kill Duncan but we cannot stop him or warn Duncan.   Macbeth says     “There’s no such thing ,It is the bloody business which informs Thus to mine eyes”.    which means there is no such thing, he is imagining the dagger, and he says the murder he was about to commit has deceived his sight. His mental state and conscience at this time is stable enough to realize the truth behind his visions, but he is so succumbed to the idea of becoming King that he follows through on the dreadful act, that will, along with other things, plague his mind.

In Shakespeare’s works, metaphors are used to convey an idea that isn’t literal or possible, that the audience will understand. Shakespeare likes to use this convention to imply that one thing is another. In Act 3, Scene 2, Shakespeare makes reference to Banquo being a snake that is scorched. Macbeth says: “We have scorched the snake, not killed it.” This is said to Lady Macbeth about Banquo’s murder and Fleance’s escape. By comparing Banquo to a snake he is letting the audience imagine a snake that has been wounded, but not killed, Banquo is dead but the threat of Fleance becoming King is still there. In Greek Mythology, there is a figure, Hydra, that is often represented as a snake, and if one head is cut off, three more will grow in its place. I believe this idea of a mythological figure like Hydra links to how Fleance is a threat amongst others that will only grow stronger as Macbeth’s ambition grows. Shakespeare used this metaphor to invoke the imagination of the audience. Shakespeare also makes another comparison in Act 3, Scene 2 that implies his mind is full of scorpions. “Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! Thou know’st that Banquo, and his son Fleance, lives”. Macbeth is stating that his mind is full of evilness, he has killed Duncan and Banquo and will continue to kill to maintain his throne. “Thou know’st that Banquo, and his son Fleance, lives” implies that as long as Fleance lives he will have a mind full of scorpions which represents his evil thoughts. This line can be seen as a way for Macbeth to show how he himself feels like his mind is failing him and degenerating, full of thoughts that he would once not think, but now are normal to him.

In Act 3 Scene 4, dramatic irony is used to show Macbeth’s unstable mental state. Shakespeare has skillfully used dramatic irony here to compel the audience to question whether a ghost is truly at the banquet like Macbeth says, or whether Macbeth has truly lost his mind and is hallucinating the bloody apparition of Banquo.  Macbeth says ” Thou canst not say I did it/ Never shake thy gory locks at me……Prithee, see there! behold! Look!”     Here, Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo sitting in the seat his friends gesture for Macbeth to sit in and he shouts to Banquo that he cannot say he did it (murdered Banquo).  The ghost is only seen by Macbeth, isolating him, which would strike fear in any man and cause you to question the stability of your own mind. Macbeth tries to show Lady Macbeth where Banquo is but it is a futile attempt. He then says “Avaunt, and quit my sight!”, meaning go away and leave my sight (directed at Banquo).   Banquo is only targeting Macbeth because they were once good friends and there was no honor in his murder, he wants Macbeth to be filled with guilt for the crime he has committed and the consequences because of it. Ghosts are often depicted as people who have died with unfinished business or of foul play and Banquo is a clear accusation at Macbeth’s evil actions. The audience and characters surrounding Macbeth will both be thinking Macbeth has lost his mind, but to him, he truly believes that he can see this ghost and is not crazy. Shakespeare has used the idea of Banquo reappearing shortly after being murdered to suggest that Macbeth has lost or is losing his sanity, thus making him imagine and see things that aren’t possible.  Macbeth then goes on to say, ” When now I think you can behold such sight/ And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks/ When mine is blanched with fear”. He is questioning the people at the banquet on how they can look so normal ( not afraid) at the sight of Banquo’s blood covered ghost when Macbeth is full of fear, and we as the audience know it is because Banquos ghost is only visible to the guilty Macbeth, and not to the guests or audience

In the last Act of Macbeth, Macbeth’s mind has truly become corrupt by the ambition he had to secure his position as King. He has sacrificed his mind whilst trying to eliminate certain ‘threats’. This is shown by the iambic pentameter of his speech being interrupted by a weak foot and the language choice Shakespeare uses. An iamb is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The iambic rhythm is the rhythm that the English language naturally follows, and was the way of speaking in the Elizabeathen era, when Shakespeare was writing plays, thus it was adopted into plays in a pentameter with five iambs in a line. This is called iambic pentameter. In Shakespeare’s plays, iambic pentameter was predominant in the noble and high-class people to symbolize their high culture, education and their status in society, whereas commoners speech in ‘ plays is not in iambic pentameter to signify their low status in society, because they don’t have the literacy skills of a noble. Often, In Shakespeare’s plays,  when nobles speak without iambic pentameter it is because they are either drunk or losing their minds. In our case, for Macbeth, it is the latter. In Macbeth’s soliloquy ‘Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow’ it is noticeable when a weak foot is present. For example in the line ‘To the last syllable of recorded time’  the ending is a weak foot, which interrupts the natural flow of his speech. This is because his mind is faltering and the simplest of things like speaking in iambic pentameter is failing him.

Shakespeare also uses metaphors and repetition to emphasize Macbeth’s loss of sanity in the soliloquy. An example of these language techniques is in Act 5, Scene 5. Macbeth is preparing for war with Malcolm, he has realized the apparitions prophecies were tricks and have fooled him into having too much security in his position as King. Just after this realization,  he is told that Lady Macbeth has died. His soliloquy that follows is a very powerful and sad way in which Macbeth expresses the despair he feels towards life.  “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” is the starting line and the repetition is used to emphasize how time is inescapable. “Creeps in this petty pace”. Shakespeare uses a metaphor here to compare time to a predatory creature that creeps towards him. Macbeth is acting paranoid as if time is out to get him. “To the last syllable of recorded time”. Shakespeare has purposefully used this line to compare time to a syllable that passes, as if our lives are a script and his is coming to an end. When Macbeth says “…..The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!”  he is emphasizing his death will be empty, and by becoming dust, he will not be apart of the afterlife, which as King and God’s appointed is a massive lack of faith in God, which religious believers would call despair. The word brief is used to emphasize how life can be short and fragile, like a candles flame can so easily be extinguished, so can a life. This is making reference to Lady Macbeth’s death but also to the ongoing fear that Macbeth can now be killed, because the witches other prophecies were proven to be tricks. In this soliloquy, Macbeth’s speech has been interrupted and Shakespeare used other literary devices to show his despair and insanity that has been caused by the things he has done to become King, all leading back to ambition.

 

In this exploration of Macbeth, I discussed how Shakespeare used dramatic irony, metaphors, repetition and the interruption of iambic pentameter by weak foots to show the mental state of Macbeth. All of these literary devices compliment each other and merge to make a beautifully skilled piece of art called Macbeth, which to this very day, thousands of years later, still has relevance and importance. To conclude, In Shakespeare’s brilliant play Macbeth, ambition takes us on a journey with the main character Macbeth, following Macbeth’s ambition for power and security in himself which drives him to commit crimes and in the process, corrupts his own mind so that he becomes a shadow of the once brave, valiant, loyal friend and soldier that he was before the witches prophecies. Macbeth was consumed by his ambition which ultimately corrupted his mind and caused him to lose his friends, honor, and his wife, all for a position in society. Along with this, Scotland fell into great turmoil and became a land of civil war and in fear of it’s bloodthirsty ruler.  Macbeth is an example of how ambition is a dangerous force to reckon with and one that man should not give in to, because it holds the power to have fatal consequences if given the chance.

Practice Paragraph for Formal Writing Essay

Show how Shakespeare uses language techniques to convey the degeneration of Macbeth’s mental state and how this links to the universal meaning of the play that power corrupts

Key Idea:  ambition causes mental deterioration  & destruction to humans. Power Corrupts humans 

In the famous tragedy Macbeth, we see how Shakespeare manipulates language and dramatic conventions to show the audience Macbeth’s mental deterioration over the course of his reign as King because of his desire for power and security.  One technique commonly used by Shakespeare is the use of Dramatic Irony ( metaphor?).  When Macbeth sees an imaginary dagger floating in the air and reaching towards his hand,  he takes it as a sign that the murder he is about to commit is the right thing to do. Dramatic Irony is used to show the audience how Macbeth’s mind is imagining things that aren’t truly there.

 

 

 

Floating dagger: Act 2 Scene 1

Seeing Banquo’s ghost:  Act 3 Scene 4

 

Act 5- Scene Summaries

Scene 1:

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Doctor, Gentlewoman

Location: A room in Dunsinane

Events:  A doctor and a gentlewoman discuss Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking that has begun after Macbeth left to go to war.  Lady Macbeth enters, in a trance. She holds a candle and her eyes are open but do now see. She rubs her hands as if washing them of blood and says ‘ Yet here’s a spot, out damned spot”.  She seems to be reliving the night that Duncan was murdered, and she washes her hands of his blood. She cannot get the stain or smell of blood gone. Lady Macbeth exits and the doctor and woman agree to not speak of what they have heard or seen. She talks to imaginary ‘Macbeth’ and says that he should not look frightened because Banquo is dead and cannot leave is grave. This information that Lady Macbeth has spilled is very incriminating towards her and Macbeth, it basically tells the doctor that they killed Banquo.

Important Quotes:

Lady Macbeth- Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.

“The Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?—What, will these hands ne’er be clean?—No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all with this starting”

“Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown. Don’t look so frightened. I tell you again, Banquo is buried. He cannot come out of his grave.”

This act of Lady Macbeth desperately trying to wash off Duncan’s blood in her sleep is similar to Macbeth’s actions after he killed Duncan. He thought the whole sea couldn’t wash off the blood.  The two have both had a moment where they realize their actions can never be undone/forgiven. Their sins will stay with them forever and stain their hands. 

Scene 2: 

Characters: Menteith, Angus, Caithness, Lenox

Location: Country near Dunsinane

Events:  The 4 thanes march to Birnam wood with their soldiers to meet Malcolm who is leading the English army toward Scotland to fight Macbeth and take the throne back. They speak of rumors are Macbeth is mad and his army is fighting in fear, not in loyalty to him, I think because his mental state is worsening, he’s making rash reckless decisions. The thanes decide to purge Scotland of Macbeth’s sickness like he is a disease.

Important Quotes: 

Angus- ” Now does he feel, His secret murders sticking on his hands; Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach: Those he commands move only in command, Nothing in love: now does he feel his title, Hang loose about him, like a giants robe upon a dwarfish body”

To me, this quote means that Macbeth is feeling the heaviness of his murders and his followers are revolting against him and rebelling because he is craaaaazzyyyyyyyyyyy. 

Scene 3:

Characters:  Macbeth, Doctors, Attendants

Location:  A room inside Dunsinane castle

Events:   In this scene, Macbeth is so full of himself that he refuses to hear any more reports on the upcoming battle because he is so sure that he will not and can not be harmed because no man of woman borne can kill him, and Birnam wood has not come to Dunsinane. He hears that Malcolm’s army has 10,000  soldiers and he prepares to fight until the flesh is hacked off his bones.

Important Quotes: 

Scene 4:

Characters:

Events:

Quotes:

Scene 5:

 

 

 

Act 4 Scene Summaries

Scene 1: 

Characters: 3 witches, Hecate, Macbeth, 3 Apparitions, Lenox

Events:

This is a very BIG scene… In the beginning, the 3 witches are creating an evil potion in a cauldron.  Hecate enters and commends the witches for their efforts. Macbeth enters and immediately starts demanding answers from the witches.   The witches tell Macbeth to listen and not ask of them They send an apparition ( a armed head) appeared saying to beware of Macduff. Macbeth demands more and a second apparition emerges, this one a bloody child. This apparition said that no man of woman borne shall harm Macbeth. This is a very dangerous prophecy because knowing no one can kill you gives you too much security, and for Macbeth, if he thinks no one can kill him, he is basically invincible.  Macbeth decides to kill Macduff anyway even if he knows no man from woman borne can kill him. A third apparition appears and says that Macbeth will never be vanquished until Great Birnam woods move to Dunsinane hill ( that is impossible). Too much security AGAIN. Macbeth asks if Banquo’s son will ever be King and he is presented with a vision of 8 Kings along with Banquo’s ghost.  The witches and apparitions disappear and Lenox arrives to tell Macbeth that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth instantly decides to kill all his family and castle, including any poor souls that work for him.

Important Quotes:

1st Apparition: ‘Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware of Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife!’

2nd Apparition: ‘Be bloody, bold and resolute: laugh to scorn// The power of man, for none of woman born// Shall harm Macbeth!

3rd Apparition: ‘ Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care// Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never be vanquished until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill// Shall come against him”

Macbeth: “The castle of Macduff I will surprise, Seize upon Fife, give to the edge of the sword// His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line”

Macbeth is heavily reliant on the prophecies he has been told, to the point where he will kill Macduff’s family,  even though they and Macduff pose no real threat ( the 2nd apparitions prophecy).  Macbeth has WAYYYYY too much security about being King.

Scene 2:

Characters: Lady Macduff, Rosse, Son, Messenger, Murderer

Location: In Fife, Macduff’s castle.

Events: Rosse tells Lady Macduff that she is in danger of Macbeth, she is angry her husband left his own son fatherless, he is dead to her.  Rosse leaves and she talks with he son about traitors and Macduff being a traitor. A messenger rushes to tell her to flee immediately but they are too late. A murderer enters and kills Macduff’s family.

Important Quotes:

Lady Macduff: “ Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes, His mansion, and his titles, in a place, From whence himself does fly? He loves us not”

Scene 3:

Characters: Macduff, Malcolm

Events:

Macduff has arrived in England and wants Malcolm to return to Scotland to overthrow Macbeth, but Malcolm is suspicious so he tests Macduff by pretending if he were to be King that he would be worse than Macbeth. Initially, Macduff argues that this doesn’t matter, but as Malcolm keeps speaking of his sins, Macduff is in despair. He has an outburst and says that Malcolm is not fit to be King, or to live! This is exactly what Malcolm needed to hear, and he reassures Macduff he was lying to test his loyalty.  Malcolm has an army ready to invade Macbeth.

Rosse arrives and reports rumors that the Sottish people are wanting to rise against Macbeth. He tells Macduff that his ALL of his family and servants etc.. were slaughtered. They prepare to invade Scotland !!!

Important Quotes:

Macduff:  “Fit to govern?
No, not to live.—O nation miserable,”
Malcolm: 
“Macduff, this noble passion, Child of integrity, hath from my soul// Wiped the black scruples , reconciled my thoughts, to thy good and honour, Devilish Macbeth!”
Macduff: 
“But i must also feel it as a man: I cannot but remember such things were// That were most precious to me-Did heaven look on, And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff! they were all struck for  thee, Naught that i am, not for their own demerits, but for mine”
Macduffs family was murdered because of his actions ( fleeing Scotland, betraying Macbeth). He seeks to get revenge.