In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Shakespeare is able to develop many major themes in the play; he uses different techniques to put emphasis on certain issues in order to help develop these themes in the story line of the play. The major themes of Macbeth are the significance of evil, the dangers of ambition, and appearance versus reality. The major techniques that Macbeth uses include foreshadowing, symbolism, and irony. In using these techniques skillfully, Shakespeare is able to develop a plot and clearly define some themes.
The play commences with three eerie witches chanting spells, they plan to meet someone named Macbeth then vanish; already we know that the play is going to be involved with something evil. In the beginning, Macbeth is recognized as a war hero in Scotland for his skillful fighting against a rebellion and King Duncan rewards him by appointing him to be the Thane of Cawdor. On his way home from battle, Macbeth meets with the three witches who prophesize that he will be the king of Scotland and at the same time that Banquo, who was with him at the time, will father a line of kings. From this point, we see Macbeth's ambition get the best of him; his desire to become king is great so with the push of the witches and his wicked wife, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth is able to commit treacherous crimes to achieve his goal, beginning with the murder of King Duncan. After the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth becomes paranoid and he kills any possible enemies, we see the killing is becoming more and more ordinary to Macbeth. As the play progresses, Macbeth's murder victims include King Duncan, his best friend Banquo, and Macduff's family. Curious of what is to come Macbeth decides to visit the three witches. They prophesize that Macbeth should fear Macduff, that he should fear no man of woman born, and that he would not be defeated until until Birnam Wood came upon Dunsinane.