Shakespeare communicates many moods in Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet; the main moods are love, and hate fuelled betrayal, and in my work these are the themes I will analyse. In Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth, vital characters have had to betray in order to achieve love, for example; In Romeo and Juliet; Juliet has to betray the authority of her father in order to fulfil her affection for Romeo.
In terms of love this would mean that: The Storge (unconditional love, shared amongst family) that Juliet once felt for her father was met by misogyny (Hatred for Women) upon his realisation of Juliet’s Eros (love between two people) towards Romeo. Despite her subdued character, Juliet is adamant on not marrying Paris and betraying her family for Romeo. A quote to support this is; “If all else fail, myself have power to die” – This signifies that Juliet would rather die than enter something that it not right.
A quote from Juliet’s Father; “How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this? ” – His use of repetition emphasises his fury in response to Juliet’s new found aggression in character, and his rhetorical question presents his dominance and highlights the hierarchy that was in place at the time to allocate superiority to male’s in a family, in this scene; the breakdown of Juliet’s Father and Mother’s relationship is most apparent.
Furthermore this is a point where Juliet is most isolated from her family and becomes closer to Romeo. My alternate interpretation is that Juliet did not betray her family, but her family were betrayed by there own pride, Pride was the cataclysmic barrier between acceptance and condemnation. The most potent character development is Juliet’s, throughout the play she matures and becomes a lot more retaliant to authority and starts to become herself rather than obedient to thers, this process is strengthened because of the speed she has had to become responsible; due to the mandatory pressures she is expected to comply with and the swift 7 day time period in which the story is conveyed, this development in character gives her the willpower to betray her family; which also ultimately supports my point. The dramatic techniques used in Romeo and Juliet create a hastily strong impact due to the play being condensed into a week and an ambience of anxiety.
In Macbeth there are several similarities that also support my point; Macbeth has to betray King Duncan despite his loyalty and Philia (The love of Friendship) has to betray him in order to acquire the Eros from the ever superior Lady Macbeth, this situation contradicts all convention as society was heavily patriarchal which suggests that women should be submissive to men; however in this occurrence Macbeth conforms with Lady Macbeths demands to murder King Duncan, this is the main contrast between Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet.
A quote that coincides with this is; “But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail” – Lady Macbeth challenges Macbeth to murder King Duncan, presenting her dominance and ambition over Macbeth.
A quote from Macbeth after when placing the blame on the guards for King Duncan’s murder; “Here lay Duncan, his silver skin laced with his golden blood… the murderers, steeped in the colors of their trade” – This illustrates the betrayal that Macbeth has committed, as his use of alliteration strengthens the deviation of this line and the fact that he is further betraying King Duncan post his death by laying the culpability on the guards; simultaneously justifying there execution.
Additionally an alternative interpretation of betrayal is explained using this quote; “Who can be wise, amazed, temp’rate, and furious” – Macbeths use of antithesis (underlined) displays how he has slowly become contradictory since his brutal murder of King Duncan which I believe indicates he has betrayed his own nature. The main dramatic technique used in Macbeth is dramatic irony, dramatic irony is where something that is indicated at the start of the play will either become true or change at the end of the play or furthermore could mean the opposite of hat might happen. An example of this is that; “This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses. ” – This is a significant use of dramatic irony, the description of the environment is pleasant; however unbeknown to King Duncan, this is where he will be murdered, and this also links in to betrayal.
Moreover, at the start of the play, Macbeth describes Banquo to be a “Friend” however later in the play we know that Banquo becomes his enemy and has to be killed due to the fact he is a great threat to Macbeth’s throne; which is a further deception that Macbeth has carried out. Conclusively; I believe Shakespeare’s whole use of dramatic irony links in to betrayal directly, because the constant use of dramatic irony means that the plot keeps changing; effectively displaying that the plot betrays itself continually.
This constantly conveys a mood of false anticipation and an eerie sense of the unknown. Reading more in depth into both plays, there are further comparisons; Such as the use of fate, when Romeo and Juliet fall in love we know that because of their backgrounds; it will lead to death, and similarly in Macbeth the witches tell a prophecy in which Macbeth becomes king and then dies both plays contain different forms of tragedy however both plays meet the same end.
Evidence to support this in Romeo and Juliet is: “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life” – Meaning that two different sided (Montague/Capulet) lovers take their life. And for Macbeth: “All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter! ” – This is the prophecy of Macbeth becoming king and then dying.
Furthermore, in Romeo ; Juliet and Macbeth, death is a necessary price to be paid for peace, for example, Romeo and Juliet have to die in order for the Capulet’s and Montague’s to live in tranquillity, to support this, a quote from the beginning soliloquy: “What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend” – This means that where we have failed before we will strive to succeed now, signifying that Romeo and Juliet’s death were essential to the ‘Fair Verona’ achieving peace, likewise in Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s death was also fundamental to harmony being restored to the ingdom, an additional quote to support this is: “The usurper’s cursed head: the time is free” – the quote is about Macbeth’s severed head, and diverts attention to the fact that with his death ‘the time is free’ which implies it is peaceful.
However contrary there are many differences, for example the types of love/relationship between the two couples in each play; In Macbeth there relationship is very unstable and Lady Macbeth is very domineering over Macbeth; also there love for each other is not through passion; but through the lust for greed and power as Lady Macbeth is desperate for Macbeth to become king by killing King Duncan and betraying his loyalty to him: “And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers” –
This suggests she will do anything to become Queen and accentuates her ruthless nature; it also underlines the imbalanced relationship in which the position of superiority continuously changes dramatically. At the start Macbeth is a brave and noble hero and he is superior however as the play goes on and when Macbeth’s manhood is questioned by Lady Macbeth “are you not a man? ” he then becomes submissive and is dictated by Lady Macbeth. In Romeo and Juliet