A correspondent in 2002 reminded me that failing acting companieswould produce "Macbeth", which was very popular, as a last-ditch,not-always-successful way of staying in business.
Macbeth pays spies in each of his warlords' castles, so he hasother people available. It seems reasonable that he would sendsomebody knowledgeable to help two disenfranchised persons (not professionalhit men) kill a mighty warrior and his teenaged son. It is alsounlikely that he would want to introduce the assassins to eachother ahead of time.
The key question that Shakespeare seems to ask is this.Is human society fundamentally amoral, dog-eat-dog?If so, then Macbeth is right, and human lifeitself is meaningless and tiresome.
Freud wrote onMacbeth -- a humane essay by the great (if flawed) psychiatrist -- but I cannotfind his remarks online. Please let me know if they ever appear.
Compare and Contrast: Macbeth & Lady Macbeth Essays
Alas for Macbeth! now all is inward with him; he has no more prudential prospective reasonings. His wife, the only being who could have had any seat in his affections, dies; he puts on despondency, the final heart-armour of the wretched, and would fain think every thing shadowy and unsubstantial, as indeed all things are to those who cannot regard them as symbols of goodness:
Comparison and Contrast of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth …
Macbeth deals with the fictionalancestors of the Stuart line (Banquo, Fleance) and presents Banquomore favorably than did the play's sources. (In Holinshed,Banquo is Macbeth's active accomplice.) The procession of kingsends with a mirror (probably held by Banquo rather thananother king, as in some notes.)James could see himself, thus becoming part of the action. Macbethsays he sees more kings afterwards. Shakespeare has turned thenature spirits of his sources into witches for thewitch-hunting king's enjoyment.
and shrinks from the boldness with which she presents his own thoughts to him. With consummate art she at first uses as incentives the very circumstances, Duncan's coming to their house, &c. which Macbeth's conscience would most probably have adduced to her as motives of abhorrence or repulsion. Yet Macbeth is not prepared:
Compare and Contrast of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth - Essay
In Hamlet and Macbeth the scene opens with superstition; but, in each it is not merely different, but opposite. In the first it is connected with the best and holiest feelings; in the second with the shadowy, turbulent, and unsanctified cravings of the individual will. Nor is the purpose the same; in the one the object is to excite, whilst in the other it is to mark a mind already excited. Superstition, of one sort or another, is natural to victorious generals; the instances are too notorious to need mentioning. There is so much of chance in warfare, and such vast events are connected with the acts of a single individual,the representative, in truth, of the efforts of myriads, and yet to the public and, doubtless, to his own feelings, the aggregate of all,that the proper temperament for generating or receiving superstitious impres-sions is naturally produced. Hope, the master element of a commanding genius, meeting with an active and combining intellect, and an imagination of just that degree of vividness which disquiets and impels the soul to try to realize its images, greatly increases the creative power of the mind; and hence the images become a satisfying world of themselves, as is the case in every poet and original philosopher:but hope fully gratified, and yet, the ele-mentary basis of the passion remaining, becomes fear;
and, indeed, the general, who must often feel, even though he may hide it from his own consciousness, bow large a share chance had in his successes, may very naturally be irresolute in a new scene, where he knows that all will depend on his own act and election.