Book and Author: Macbeth by William Shakespeare Essay Question: Compare T.S. Eliot's quote: "Between the idea and the reality... Falls the shadow." To Macbeth

Essay by moliasHigh School, 10th gradeA, May 2004

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In Macbeth, Macbeth goes through a transformation shown by the passage: "Between the idea and the reality... Falls the shadow" by T.S. Elliot from "The Hollow Men." This quote is a reference to Plato's cave analogy. Plato's cave analogy is that the inside of the cave represents the depraved human condition and that those on the inside of the cave are passive, unreflective and live in darkness and conformity. Plato's theory is that the only way to leave the cave is through abstract thinking, and doing so is synonymous with attaining enlightenment and truth. In Macbeth, we witness Macbeth faced with many dilemmas and we see how Macbeth never leaves the cave through abstract thinking.

In Macbeth's first speech, we see Macbeth faced with the decision of killing Duncan. Macbeth's psychological condition is clear; he is very confused and simply doesn't know what to do. His main reason for killing Duncan, ambition, doesn't seem like a good enough reason to justify the cold-blooded murder of the current leader.

Macbeth debates with himself whether or not he should kill him. Macbeth begins to state Duncan's good qualities, when he says, "Duncan hath born his faculties so meek," meaning that Duncan has very gentle mental abilities. He also says how he is loyal to Duncan when saying, "I am his kinsman and his subject" basically meaning that Macbeth is his understudy and student. At this point Macbeth is realizing how terrible it is to kill the ruler. Macbeth then says, "We still have judgment here, that we but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return To plague th' inventor. This means that Macbeth knows that if he kills him, it will come back to haunt him (i.e. Macbeth being killed as king by a copycat). Macbeth's mindset throughout this speech is...