Monday, June 18, 2012

Story of Naboth's Vineyard Perceivable in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Shakespeare�s primary source of inspiration for Macbeth came from Holinshed�s Chronicles; however, he altered history and many aspects of the story fictionalized to gain the interest and favor of King James. Shakespeare�s secondary source, inspiring many details of the tragedy, was the Christian Bible. Adding an interesting human element to Macbeth was the interaction between Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth. Despite, and perhaps because of his genius, Shakespeare did not create his characters and their interactions without drawing from an outside source, notably the Bible. One of the similarities between these works can be traced from Macbeth and his �fiendlike� lady back to Ahab and Jezebel. In the book of Kings, Ahab desires the vineyard of Naboth. At the urging of his wife, Jezebel, the two frame Naboth, having him stoned to death in order to seize his lands. In comparison, Macbeth desires the throne of Scotland. Just as Jezebel urged Ahab, Lady Macbeth schemes and encourages a treasonous plot to allow her husband to assume the power he craves (Burgess 87-88). Following the acquisition of their desired ends, (Ahab�s vineyards of Naboth, and Macbeth�s crown of Scotland), both men are haunted by similar prophetic truths. The Lord told Elijah to warn Ahab that �In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood� The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel�(1 Kings 22:19, 23). Macbeth realizes himself that ��blood will have blood./Stones have been known to speak./Augurs and understood relations have�/Brought forth�The secret�st man of blood� (3.4.125). Both men are doomed to pay for their misdeeds from the time they are committed, and they realize their eventual demise. Ahab is killed and left for �the dogs� as Naboth was, and Macbeth is aware that the murders of Duncan and Banquo will only lead to more bloodshed, ending with his own. In the action following both stories remain true to the foreshadowing. Ahab is betrayed in battle, and Macbeth is murdered by his own Scotsmen. As Jezebel, once a strong female figure, was hurled from her chamber window; Lady Macbeth who also began her story as a strong influence over Macbeth ends her own life by hurling herself from a window (Burgess 90).


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