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Macbeths Irony By Rick Lindroos There can be no argument that William Shakespeares genius and gift of poetic writing is present in Macbeth In addition Shakespeare makes use of many outside sources for his work pulling from political and historical events Nearly all of Macbeth has a basis in historical fact Holinshed chronicled in the sixteenth century the histories of England Scotland and Ireland It is from the Historie of Scotland that Shakespeare builds the significance of this popular tragedy The historical record contains the belief of Macbeth in the prophecies of three weird sisters soothsayers who reinforce his ambitions for the throne records Banquos role presents the subsequent murder of King Duncan and reveals Macbeths paranoia concerning Macduff The play weaves these separate histories into a coherent whole Macbeth is the story of a man whose ambitions have brought him to commit treason and murder There is irony and symbolism in the play which contribute to the acceptance of this masterpiece Three forms of irony are evident in Macbeth dramatic irony being the difference between what the audience sees and what the characters believe to be true verbal irony the difference between what is said and what is meant and situational irony the difference between what actually happens and what is expected A theatergoer witnessing a performance of Macbeth may develop presumptions about what is actually true and what is actually a truth When it is contrary to what the character in the play believes to be true a dramatic irony occurs This is evident when Lennox asks Macbeth whether the king is to leave Macbeths castle for home 1 Len Goes the king hence to-day Macb He does he did appoint so Macbeth II iii 54-55 Obviously Macbeth is consciously lying for the audience is fully aware of his plans to murder King Duncan that night With Macbeths reply interpreted literally the viewer is convinced Duncan does intend to
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