How does Secondary Characters Support a Central
Theme in Macbeth by William Shakespeare?
A Formal Essay by Son Truong
Hello, today this essay will explore question number 3 in the topic page that Ms. Vallillee (the English teacher) gave our class. Macbeth is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1623 which was when it appeared in print but some scholars believe that it was performed to King James in 1606. This was according the book “Macbeth with Related Readings” from the “Global Shakespeare Series”.
The thesis of this essay is that secondary characters can amplify a major theme greatly which the writer’s is Good versus Evil in the play. Here are some reasons to support this. The three witches represent evil in the play and was the main driving force in Macbeth's actions. Malcolm represented Good and was one of the main antagonists in the play. Lastly, Duncan's powers were the original temptation for Macbeth. In this formal essay, the points above will be proven to the reader.
The first point, the witches, says that they drive Macbeth's actions. Is this true? Well, in the beginning it was because of the witches that Macbeth had the idea of killing and getting power in the first place. The writer of this essay thinks that The Witches were the evil force that pushed Macbeth to Macbeth’s downfall. And it was because of the witches that Evil had power in the play. The witches had powers but in the play they were just bystanders, it was Macbeth who did the deed. Remember that the killings of Banquo and Macduff was a result of the witches prophecy. So, without the witches pulling Macbeth, Evil would not have a hand in the play. Therefore that means that the Witches had a big Evil role in the play which also means that they amplified the theme Good vs. Evil greatly.
On to the next point; Malcolm, a secondary character, how can that person affect the theme on good vs. evil? Well, Malcolm was the good. The smartness, charms, the good will, the fact that the people of Scotland like him, and the fact that Malcolm opposed Macbeth in the end showed that that character was the good in good vs. evil in the play. Having little lines in the play, Malcolm showed smartness, good will, and loyalty rather quickly. At that time when talking to Macduff, and lying to the later, telling him how bad the first was at being king but this was a test. Then finally, Malcolm told the truth and asked if Macduff wants to join. So, without Malcolm, good would not have an edge and evil would not have a rival. Therefore he amplified the theme.
The last point is Duncan’s powers. It might not be a force but the temptation is what caused Macbeth to go Evil. Also, it was the king’s powers that were given to Macbeth with the fear, and the will to keep that power contributed greatly to the Evil in the theme Good vs. Evil in the play. This is seen when he killed his best friend to try to stay king because Macbeth was afraid. When Lady Macbeth, also hungry for Duncan’s powers, urged Macbeth into the fire. She did this by pressuring him calling him not manly and scolding him to clean the blood. Her planning was what started Macbeth’s rampage. So because of the temptations for Duncan’s power in Macbeth and in the wife, terror was witnessed. This is the reason why Duncan’s powers support the theme.
In the end, this essay had shown that Evil had five secondary characters that supported its part in the theme, and two that supported good. But good triumph over evil and killed it’s representor in the play. This writer also thinks that the secondary character’s role in supporting the theme was well presented in this essay. In conclusion, it seems like the thesis was right. In the play, most characters were either good or bad, there weren’t many that was in between except for Duncan but this writer guessed the latter’s ideals were remembered by people in the play so his presence is there. That means Duncan was actually on the good side. The writer probably is right. There might be a slim chance of a backwards argument but there might be none. So it is hoped that the reader has enjoyed this writing but keep in mind that in the end, it is in the reader’s hands that the thesis was true or not. It is also hoped that the reader has learned something about the Shakespeare’s Macbeth and one of its themes.