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The Loyalty of Masculinity In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth the main theme of loyalty is explored throughout the play by main characters. Loyalty can be defined as faithfulness or unwavering devotion to a person or cause. Duncan, Banquo, Macduff and Macbeth are all essential characters who are given opportunities to express their loyalty, however it is the different ways in which these characters choose to be loyal or disloyal that shape the play as a whole. It is the character’s loyalty and/or disloyalty that construct the course of the play. The theme of loyalty interrelates the over arching themes of guilt and masculinity throughout the play. Throughout Duncan’s reign he remains a loyal king especially to those who he believes are…show more content…
As indicated in the satge direction Banquo even stops talking as soon as Macbeth enters the scene. Banquo’s loyalty differentiates him from Macbeth in many ways. Both Macbeth and Banquo are given auguries, which serve as temptation to do evil. However it is Banquo’s repression of his desires that allow him to maintain unwavering devotion. Macbeth originally appears to be a devoted constituent of society through his early actions and battles for Scotland. Despite Macbeth’s original loyalty he eventually fails and his appetite for ambition overcomes him. Macbeth, unlike Banquo, allows the witches’ prophecy, “thane of Glamis, thane of Cawdor and king thereafter” take over his whole being as he becomes so captivated by the idea of being king. Macbeth takes his desires to a whole new level by stooping so low as to kill king Duncan with his own hands, “ I have done the deed… will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hands no, this my hand will rather turn the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” (act II scene 2: lines 77-81). Macbeth’s act of killing the king portrays his disloyalty to someone who gave him so much. This passage not only reveals the theme of loyalty but introduces guilt, another theme in the play. The metaphor and symbolism of Macbeth’s hands turning the ocean red from Duncan’s blood visually brings these two themes closely together. Macbeth’s deed is so bad that not even

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