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Tristan Book

Ms. Skirtich
13 December 2017
English 12: British Literature

“Macbeth” Thesis Paper

The Renaissance or “rebirth”, a time when literature, art, and intellectual development

flourished. Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers in history, is best known for “Macbeth” and

the deceit and deception he uses in it. Shakespeare exhibits deceit and deception in “Macbeth”

through manipulation, hidden agendas, and underlying ambitions.

Shakespeare exhibits deceit and deception in “Macbeth” through manipulation. For

example, when Macbeth tries to convince the murders’ to kill Banquo he states, “Who wear our

health but sickly in his life,/Which in his death were perfect” (III.i.110-111). In this instance,

Macbeth says that he feels gravely sick, however once Banquo is dead, his worries will

disappear. Furthermore, Macbeth uses guilt to influence the murders’ to kill Banquo for him.

Likewise, Hecate orders the witches to manipulates Macbeth through half-truths, “And that

distilled by magic sleights/Shall raise such artificial sprites/As by the strength of their

illusion/Shall draw him on to his confusion” (IV.v.26-29). Hecate states that she will spend the

night working to make something terrible happen. She also states that she will make magical

spirits to trick Macbeth with illusions. These two instances illustrate the aspect of manipulation

in “Macbeth”.

Shakespeare exhibits deceit and deception in “Macbeth” through hidden agendas. For

example, when Macbeth asks the night to hide his actions, “Come, seeling night,/Scarf up the

tender eye of pitiful day/And with thy bloody and invisible hand/Cancel and tear to pieces that

great bond/Which keeps me pale” (III.ii.48-52). Macbeth asks the night to use its unseen and

bloody ways to kill Banquo. Additionally, he ask of these things as he fears Banquo’s ancestors
will take the throne. Macduff also has a hidden agenda as he tries to convince Malcolm to go to

war with Macbeth as a form of revenge, “Let us rather/Hold fast the mortal sword and, like good

men,/Bestride our downfall’n birthdom” (IV.iii.3-4). Macduff wants revenge on Macbeth as he

sent people to kill his family. Moreover, Macduff wants to steal the kingship from Macbeth by

killing him. These two examples portray occurrences of hidden agendas in “Macbeth”.

Shakespeare exhibits deceit and deception in “Macbeth” through underlying ambitions.

This is clearly shown when Lady Macbeth asks for the courage of man, “Come, you spirits/That

tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,/And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full/ of direst

cruelty” (I.v.30-33). When Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to “unsex her here” she asking to for

the courage of a man so she can perform the the necessary actions to help Macbeth become king.

Also, she wants to filled with the direst cruelty as she plans on helping Macbeth to murder King

Duncan. Not to mention, Malcolm lies about himself to see where Macduff’s loyalties lie, “The

taints and blames I laid upon myself,/For strangers to my nature” (IV.iii.126-127). Then he

continues to tell Macduff the truth, “What I am truly,/Is thine and my poor country’s to

command” (IV.iii.134-136). By the same token, once Malcolm knows that Macduff’s loyalties

are to Scotland he admits he has lied to test Macduff. Plus, he tells Macduff that he is ready to

serve him and their poor country. Both of these instances display good vs. evil underlying

ambitions in “Macbeth”.

In conclusion, Shakespeare exhibits deceit and deception in “Macbeth” through

manipulation, hidden agendas, and underlying ambitions. Throughout the play, Macbeth as well

as a multitude of other character use deceit and deception in some form whether good or bad is

their prerogative.