A C Bradley Macbeth Essay

A C Bradley Macbeth Essay-19
Curry does not say where he thinks Shakespeare may have come across the idea, but both Theobald's editorial commentary and Curry's explanation suggest that the playwright became aware of "germens" in about 1604, and that the idea captivated him enough for him to allude to it in three plays over the course of two or three years.(2) Curry's point is just one of many that suggest the persuasiveness of taking religion seriously as religion in Macbeth, on the argument that the play was shaped by prevailing assumptions of one sort or another.

An unusually fine and still informative example of how "old" historicists improved on Bradley is W. Curry's attention to the unusual word "germens," which occurs only in Lear and Macbeth.

(1) Bringing his knowledge of medieval philosophy to the task, Curry pointed out that both passages draw on a neo-Platonic and stoic idea that when God transformed chaos into created matter, God first made "seeds of reason" (logoi spermatakoi in Greek, translated as rationes seminales in Latin), which mediate between ideal forms in the divine mind and material essences.

Yet both Macbeth’s actions and character seem to be weak and immoral.

The waste of potential becomes evident as Macbeth turns from a hero into a tragic hero, and starts to take lives as if they are worthless.

Life is taken for granted, and tossed away as if it’s merely an old toy.

Honour and potential of great men tarnished due to their greed and power hunger. C Bradley proposes: The central feeling of a tragedy is one of waste.

The waste of Macbeth’s innocence although unintentional to him, is what begins the waste concept.

The potential someone has is based on their character and their actions and how they incorporate the two into life situations.

He is a "man of action" who "has, within certain limits, the imagination of a poet" (352), and Bradley treats this quality first in his analysis of the play, because he maintains that Shakespeare's interest lay "in action issuing from character, or in character issuing in action," and "the supernatural" in tragedy "is always placed in the closest relation with character" (14).

Religion per se became more important for historically minded critics in the early- to mid-twentieth century who argued--contrary to Bradley--that Macbeth is about more than its principal character, because he functions in an imagined world conditioned by the cultural assumptions of its creator, and because a large part of what conditioned that world was religion.


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