The Word Night In Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
Macbeth Essay Audience: A teacher In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, several words recur in the book that portray different ideas, such as night . The usage in Act 2 describes strange things and even murders, while in Act five, usage changes to small talk, such as Good Night etc. Yet another example of this occurs in Act 3, where night usage differs from the previous occurrence. Macbeth uses night as the time when something bizarre and mysterious happens. Throughout the play the word means different things, but a majority of the uses describe negative times or things. In Act II of Macbeth, the word night describes murders and strange times. An old man says: Three score and ten, I can remember well;/ Within the volume of which time I have seen/ hours dreadful and things strange, but this sore night hath trifled former knowings. (Shakespeare, II, iiii, 3 — 6). He has seen it all and this night does not compare to any of which he has seen. Macbeth and Lennox talking about the bad night show yet another example of this negative usage. The night hath been unruly. Where we lay our chimneys have been blown down, / and as they say, lamentings heard i th air. Strange screams of death, . . . / Some say the earth was feverish and did shake. (Shakespeare II, iii, 55-63). Directly after that, Macbeth says: twas a rough night. (Shakespeare II, iii, 64). Lennox describes the awful night to Macbeth, who knows all too well because he has just killed the king. Finally, night becomes a topic of everyday conversation such as when Banquo talks to his son and says: How goes the night, boy? (Shakespeare II, i, 1). By simply asking his son how it is going, Banquo seems the only person in Act II to not use the word night negatively. When Shakespeare changes the meaning of the word night in Act 2 it creates a transition to Act 5 where the usage stays the same throughout the entire Act.
The usage of the word night varies the most in Act 3. At one point in the Act it describes small talk, such as when Lady Macbeth says A kind good night to all (III, iiii, 21). Or good night everyone. However, night s usage turns very negative when Macbeth says Good things of day begin to droop and drown,/ while night s black agents to their pray do rouse. (III, ii, 52-53). Macbeth says that all the good things of day start to die and all the bad things of night emerge. Finally night portrays itself in Act three by describing murders. Such as when Macbeth says to the murderers that he has hired to kill Banquo, whithin the hour at most/ I will advice you where to plant yourselfs,/ aquaint yourselves with the perfect spy o the time/ the moment on t for it must be done to-night (III, i, 128-132). This means Macbeth will tell the murderers what to do and then they will kill Banquo before the night ends. One of the main reasons that the word night varies so much in this Act is that lots of different things happen in different places. Including a dinner party which Macbeth and Lady Macbeth host, ghosts in scene four, and the witches planning for a gathering that will occur in Act 4. In Act 5 the word night s usage remains a topic of everyday discussion throughout the whole Act, making it the one Act that portrays no negative usage of the word night in the whole play. Although Lady Macbeth is talking in her sleep about a bad night and the Act takes place in the nighttime. The Gentlewoman shows the perfect example of the usage of the word when she says “Good night, good doctor (V, I, 82). Another example shown by the gentlewoman talks about Lady Macbeth s nightgown. It seems strange that Act 5 differs so much in wording then any of the other Acts. Night is just one of many words that recur in the play and have different and interesting meanings. All books and plays can have deeper meanings if one examines them one word at a time.