Macbeth Themes Throughout Shakespeares literature similar themes reoccur frequently. One theme which is evident throughout Macbeth is the use of parental and child references. Shakespeare associates children and babies and parenthood within the play. Child references describe many things. One use may be seen when Duncan thanks Macbeth for his bravery in battle, Macbeth replies.”Your highness’ part is to receive our duties and our duties are to your throne and state children and servants” (Act 1,Scene 4,23-25). Macbeth refers to the king as being a father to his children and his children being his people. Another reference to children can be found before Macbeth decides to kill Duncan.
He ponders what will happen after he kills Duncan. “Pity, like a naked new-born babe, /Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubins, horsed /Upon the sightless couriers of the air, /Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, /That tears shall drown the wind” (Act 1, Scene 7, 21-25). He describes Duncan as a baby. He does that because he associates babies with innocence and peace. He also begins to show a consience since he describes Duncans death would be like a hard wind that brings a tear to the eyes.
When Lady Macbeth hears this, she tells Macbeth that he is a coward. “I have given suck, and know /How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me: /I would, while it was smiling in my face, /Have Hartman page 2 pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, ?And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you /Have done to this.(Act 1, Scene7, 54-59) This passage again refers to a baby as portraying innocence. It also shows how cold Lady Macbeth is because she tells the reader that she would slaughter a child which she nursed from her own breast. We can assume she tells us that she would kill even if it was her own child. This is an example of the maternal motif.
Another part of the theme of children and babies could be seen in the reference to Macduffs birth. He was delivered through an unnatural birth, which gave him the power to kill Macbeth because it matched the witchs prophecy. This is another parental theme which has many references in the play. We also see that Shakespeare has decided to create many characters which are introduced as sons of Duncan. These characters include Malcom, Donalbain, and Lennox.
Within this play the motif of babies, children, and parental acts are strong. Shakespeare uses them to show the warmth and also the cold heartedness of his characters personalities.