Macbeth Independence and Failure

Essay by big billHigh School, 11th gradeA, December 1996

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Macbeth Independence and Failure

Peasants of the early sixteenth century are often pictured carrying a bundle of limbs

tied with vines on their backs. This is a perfect metaphor for the events in Macbeth.

Macbeth is one of many thanes, or limbs, bundled together. The thanes are united by the

king, or the vine. Scotland, or the peasant, carries the bundle by the sweat of his brow.

They carry the bundle for fires on cold nights, or wars, and to build homes, or castles, to

protect them from the elements, or invaders. If the limbs are tied improperly, one limb

may slip to the side and cause the peasant, or nation, to stumble or fall. If the limb slides

completely out, the rest of the limbs may follow because the bundle is loose. Marriage is

like a triangle. Each spouse makes up one of the leaning sides, and marriage the lower

side. The three together are very strong, but to stand they all must be united. The longer

a marriage is held the longer the bottom stretches, and the more dependent each person

becomes on the other. If one side tries to stand on its own then the second will fall on the

first as it tries to stand. This metaphor also excellently exemplifies the catastrophe that

occurs in Macbeth as both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth try to separate. Macbeth is a

eighteenth century play written by William Shakespeare. Using these two metaphors, the

breakdown in the relationship between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth and between the king

and the thanes and how they perfectly parallel each other because each is caused by

Macbeth's will to be independent.

According to Webster's dictionary, the archaic definition of independence is

"competence" (1148). To be independent is not to be "subject to control by...