The Dimensions of Loyalty Are Critical to Understanding the Play Macbeth
Rachel JiangEUG3U1Ms.PrasowApril.27thTopic chosen: The dimensions of loyalty are critical to understanding the play Macbeth.Loyalty in the play MacbethThe definition of The vocabulary “loyalty” in dictionary is given as “the devotion and faithfulness to a cause, country, group, or person”. This quality is shown in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare vividly. In understanding the word “loyalty”, the play Macbeth is a classic to study. The main characters in the play set both positive and negative examples when they are facing loyal issues. Loyalty is a critical element in characters’ analysis, theme and plot development of the play. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze loyalty in Macbeth.Firstly, loyalty plays an important role in the character development. As an outstanding example, Macduff is a role model in loyalty. Macduff is a Scottish thane who finally leads the opposition to the usurper, Macbeth. Although he appears after the king Duncan is murdered, his honest grief that “O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart/ Cannot conceive nor name thee! … Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope/ The Lords anointed temple, and stole thence/ The life o the building!” (2.3.33) still makes a profound impression to the readers. His sadness and regret of losing the king even more than the kings own son. Also, he is the first fellow who suspects the death of Duncan by questioning why Macbeth kills the guards senselessly. At the end of the story, Macduff joins Malcolm to revenge for Duncan and his family. Macduff is a protagonist who presents loyalty to Duncan, his family and Scotland. Malcolm thinks highly of Macduff“Macduff, this noble passion, Child of Integrity, hath from my soul Wip’d the black scruples, reconcil’d my thoughts. To thy good truth and honour”(4.3.76). Further more, the son of Duncan, Malcolm acts a loyal defender of Scotland as well. Although he escapes to England for safety after Duncan murdered, he never forget his mission that battle to regain Scotland. When he is assured Macduff is with him, he takes back his foul comments about himself“Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure.The taints and blames I laid upon myself, For strangers to my nature”(4.3,76).“What I am truly, Is thine and my poor country’s to command”(4.3. 76). Even though his nation and status are taken by Macbeth, he has no supporter from Scotland expect for Macduff to fight with him, Malcolm still keep the duty of defending Scotland in mind. Compares to disappeared Donaldbain, Malcolm’s courage, cleverness and responsibility show a sense of loyalty to Scotland. On the contrary, Macbeth is a negative character in loyalty. Macbeth trusts in the three evil witches is misplaced. He knows that murdering Duncan is mean, so he hesitates“My thought, whose murder is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that Is smothered in surmise, and nothing is but what is not”(1.3, 142-145). Finally, his greed and desired impel him to kill the king that he should be loyal to. Duncan is a kindly and virtuous king who loves people. The murder of Duncan can be considered as a loss to Scotland. It is ignominious for Macbeth to get his crown, because he betrays his king and country. Different loyal performances of the main characters help readers to develop deeper understanding to their images in the play Macbeth.Secondly, loyalty plays a crucial role in the plot development. Specifically, the changing process of Macbeth’s loyalty leads the play to the climax, that is Macbeth usurps the throne. At the beginning, Macbeth is a loyal warrior of the King, who leads his army to victory in the battle of Irish. In the rising action, The three witches’ prophesies sway his loyalty and fall him into wrong path. When he has just learned that Malcolm is to be Prince of Cumberland, which greatly reduces his loyalty, he says in his mind that “Stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desire” (1.4). Lady Macbeth’s persuasion and influence defeat Macbeth’s loyalty completely“Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t.”(1.6,35). Then, Macbeth’s loyal collapses. He determines to work with his wife to murder Duncan, which pushes the play to the climax. The transformation from loyalty to disloyalty of Macbeth runs through the plot of the play. Loyalty can be considered as a cruel that promotes the development of the plot. Therefore, it is essential for readers to understand the relationship between loyalty and plot development in the play.

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Dimensions Of Loyalty And Play Macbeth. (May 31, 2021). Retrieved from