Similarities Between Macbeth And Old Siward

1589 Words7 Pages
“Leave no man behind” (Black Hawk Down). This statement contains such a profound and important meaning in our nation’s armed forces. It builds a community that cares for one another and values friendship, while maintaining honor and loyalty. However, there have been those few stories of a failure in the values of community, the leaving of a man behind, forgotten for the pride and achievement earned by others. Macbeth and Old Siward similarly leave someone behind, a wife or a son, instead for the achievements they earn or the self-pride which lead to downfall. In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth and Old Siward express differing levels of concern at the news of the death of their relatives, showing a waning of family values and kinship,…show more content…
As Macbeth contemplates the shriek he hears, he exclaims, "The time has been my senses would have cooled/To hear a night shriek" (Shakespeare V.v.12-13). Macbeth, though seemingly calm at the shriek he heard, remembers a time when fear could contain him. Although it seems that Macbeth exhibits fear, Jan Blits in The Insufficiency of Virtue: Macbeth and the Natural Order, argues “What he feels, however, is not such a fear but its absence” (Blits 182). By seeking apparitions from the witches, Macbeth purges fear completely from his life, but the horrors he fills his life with through the slaying of Duncan, Banquo, and Macduff’s family brought horrors so great that he cannot describe fear any more. This inability to describe fear leads to Macbeth’s downfall as he becomes overconfident in his abilities. In reaction to the death of his wife, Macbeth exclaims, "And all our yesterday's have lighted fools/the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!" (V.v.26). The use of words such as a "dusty death" and the blowing out of a candle represent the bleak outlook Macbeth has for life. Macbeth also foreshadows his own failures as his premonitions represent the yesterday, showing him, the fool, the way to a death that he cannot escape. On the other hand, Old Siward, with news of his son's death, worries, "Had he his hurts before?" (V.viii.53). Through this quotation, Old Siward inquires if his son died a coward or a man. He exhibits genuine concern at this topic as he is a hardened general with a family history of wars. While their language and word choice convey two very different reactions to a death, both these reactions represent the lack of concern for the dead as humans who related closely to the two, Macbeth using plain and bleak language and Old

    More about Similarities Between Macbeth And Old Siward

      Open Document