Analysis Of Anthropocentrism In Macbeth

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Anthropocentrism is the belief that humans are the superior entity of the universe, and thus are the head of the animal kingdom and at the top of the food chain. This belief is ingrained in human culture, and leads humans to find familiar human qualities within our surroundings. Most notably, we perceive these characteristics in inhuman objects, and when an object is personified, it is assumed that the object is human. William Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, Macbeth, chronicles the protagonist’s ambitious quest to overthrow the throne and assume the role as King of Scotland. While the play is typically read under the presumption that all of the characters are human, upon deeper analysis it is evident that this is not necessarily the truth.…show more content…
When Macbeth voices his concerns regarding the plans to murder King Duncan, Lady Macbeth asks him, “What beast was’t, / then,” and in doing so introduces the idea that Macbeth is not a human but rather an animal (I. vii. 53-54). Although it is not yet evident as to which species Macbeth is, it is apparent to the reader that he is in fact an animal. During Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene, she mistakes the permanent spots of her leopard’s fur hide as the temporary stain of her prey’s blood. Lady Macbeth exclaims “Yet here’s a spot/… / Out, damned spot, out, I say!” (V. i. 31,37). The blood that Lady Macbeth is unsuccessfully attempting to remove from her paws is a permanent part of her appearance and a defining physical attribute of the leopard, and therefore unable to be removed. Shakespeare further contributes to the image of a leopard by describing the movement as “like a ghost” (II. i. 69). Leopards are a predatory species and in order to successfully stalk their prey, leopards must be able to sneak up on their prey in a ghost-like manner, without any indication of their

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