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Macbeth

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Throughout the play one of the central themes is the interplay between fate and will. The weird sisters themselves have often been identified as the fates. Bloom rightly identifies this frequently, but fails to weigh its significance heavily enough. Throughout the play "Macbeth suffers intensely from knowing that he does evil. and knowing that he must go on doing even worse," (Bloom 517) a kind of unredeemed version of Romans 7:14-20. Bloom denies cathartic power to the play (518) yet on the same page says, "We are to journey inward to Macbeths heart of darkness, and there we will find ourselves . . . murderers in and of the spirit." Shakespeare is so good not because he invented the human but because he so rightly describes us. Bloom is right to see us identify with Macbeth but calls it only seemingly Christian, "not for only benevolent expression but only insofar as its ideas of evil surpass merely naturalistic explanations." (525) Or to state it another way, it is Christian precisely because it has a right view of evil, one surpassing "naturalistic explanations" and getting instead to the root sin nature. Macbeth is a play devoid of redemption as the only character the reader identifies with constantly struggles against nature, "as he imagines it," (521) doing what is wrong in his own eyes and trying desperately to justify it. "Macbeth plots incessantly, but cannot make the drama go as he wishes," instead becoming tangled in the string spun by the fates. Throughout the play he seems to lack what Augustine calls voluntas, will. Macbeth is therefore the "passive element" of Shakespeares imagination (534), the sin nature. Macbeth gives himself over into this slavery throughout the play believing the weird sisters words of his safety to be fulfilled as surely as their words of his sins have been fulfilled. Yet, in the end as it all unravels around him, he seeks to deny this fatal nature. Upon being faced with the fulfillment of the witches predictions of his death he cries, "Yet I will try the last...lay on Macduff / and damnd be him that first cries, Hold, enough!" (Macbeth V, viii, 32-34) He attempts to deny the fate he had previously chosen through his sin and passivity, unsuccessfully.


Copyright (c) 2004 Jason Helms.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "
GNU Free Documentation License".

Copyright (c) 2004 Jason Helms.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "
GNU Free Documentation License".