William Shakespeare’s Desires to Please


Darkness, blood, treason and death. In the 16th century, William Shakespeare knew that these elements were crowd appeasing and he incorporated them into his plays. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is no exception. Macbeth is the tale of a man who is led to his own moral and physical destruction through many outer influences and his own overweening ambition. Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare introduces realistic characters, incorporates the world of the supernatural and features poetic imagery.


Shakespeare creates real to life, believable characters. All with their own positive and negative characteristics. The perfect example of this technique is seen in King Duncan character. Duncan is an admirable character in comparison with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. He has all of the fine characteristics of a noble king. But his naivety makes him real. Shakespeare introduces this fatal flaw attributed to Duncan’s character in Act 1, scene 6, "This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself Unto our gentle senses." (Macbeth, Act 1. Scene 6. Lines 1‑3). Duncan’s bad judgement of character is seen here. He thinks the castle is humbling and has a comforting atmosphere when in fact his hosts plot his death. However, for Shakespeare, making his characters more realistic goes beyond likeable and unlikeable characteristics. Shakespeare accords real human thoughts and reactions to his characters. Shakespeare uses his profound understanding of the human conscience to help him with the moral and physical obliteration of Macbeth’s character and with Lady Macbeth’s breakdown."Out damned spot! Out I say!" (V.i.38). This overpowering sentiment of guilt eats at Lady Macbeth until she is reduced to nothing. The use of this natural human sentiment makes Lady Macbeth’s character entirely believable and even somewhat likeable. Therefore, giving positive and negative characteristics to all of his characters in combination with his understanding of the human conscience makes all of Shakespeare’s characters real to life and believable.


"Double, Double Toil and Trouble, Fire burn and Cauldron bubble." (IV.i.35‑36). The three witches are a key element in Shakespeare’s attempt to please his audience. The witches help to advance the plot while creating an ominous tone which in fact sets the mood for this play. Making use of the world of the supernatural and supernatural beings create’s dramatic emphasis in all forms of literature. Shakespeare uses witches, ghosts, and apparitions in his play, Macbeth, to generate this effect. All of these supernatural beings contribute in their own way to the advancement of the plot. The witches first prophecies to Macbeth serve as the complication. (They get the story started). Throughout the play many other apparitions and prophecies help to advance the plot. "Is this a dagger which I see before me...That summons thee to heaven, or to hell" (II.i.32‑64). The apparition (hallucination) of the dagger advances the plot to Duncan’s death. Later on, the apparition of Banquo’s Ghost advances Macbeth’s degeneration and insecurity, arises suspicions towards Macbeth and further destroys lady Macbeth’s strong personality. Still, the use of the supernatural in Macbeth was influenced by other elements. Shakespeare was known for finding inspiration in the real world or from the works of others and incorporating those elements into his plays. Shakespeare’s influence for Macbeth was King James. King James had his own experiences with witches and even wrote a novel entitle ‘Demonology.’ King James was fascinated with witches and this is where the ideas of the witches in Macbeth was conceived.


" Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires." (I.iv.50‑51). This is but one of the motifs used throughout Macbeth. Shakespeare’s skill with words is legendary. In addition to his poetic verse and his use of metaphors and similes he introduces blood motifs, darkness motifs, and clothing motifs. Many of which support the main theme of Macbeth, Appearance Vs. Reality. "Now does he feel this title Hang loose about him, like a giants robe upon a dwarfish thief." (V.ii.20‑22). Macbeth is the dwarf and the robe is his title pronouncing him as king. This clothing motif suggest’s that Macbeth may have the title of king, but in reality he is not fit to be king. The title was stolen and does not belong to him. Another adored element used in Shakespeare’s poetry is irony. "So foul and Fair a day I have not seen."