Friday, September 6, 2019
How much Macbeths character changes during the course of the play Essay Example for Free
How much Macbeths character changes during the course of the play Essay By reference to three key scenes, shoe how much Macbeths character changes during the course of the play: Act I scene VII, Act III scene IV, Act V scene III The first we hear of Macbeth is when a bloodied soldier looking valiant after battle with great gaping wounds, describes a Great War hero: For brave Macbeth well he deserves that name. Shakespeare uses this speech to show Macbeths loyalty by saying he fought off a whole army and all for king and country. He also said their enemy ran away, then launched another attack and that Macbeth and Banquo fought it off even with their severe wounds: They meant to bath in reeking wounds And they still repelled the second attack, as though with renewed strength: So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe. We can see from this that Macbeth is a noble, loyal and trusted man, let alone a war hero. After Macbeth meets the witches, his personality begins to change. He becomes consumed with ambitions. In my understanding it was always there, like a petrol station with petrol running everywhere and leaky gas mains (always a fire hazard), the witches just threw in a Zippo. They had given him two predictions: 1) They greeted him as thane of Cawdor Hail thane of Cawdor (which he wasnt) 2) Then as king hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hear after. After meeting the witches, the Kings messenger came to him and named him thane of Cawdor. He is very surprised at this and writes a letter home to his wife telling her about the things the witches had said, how out of the blue he had become thane of Cawdor and even mentioned about becoming king. This is where Shakespeare introduses Macbeths more sinister side: Why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock upon my ribs As we can see Macbeth is starting to think of murder. We get another insight into his character from Lady Macbeth. She says that she thinks that he will be too kind to actually commit murder, and that she will have to do most of it then persuade him: Yet I do fear thy nature it is too full o th milk of human kindness We can see from this quote that Macbeth has a conscience and that his wife believes that he would grieve afterwards. When Duncan arrives at Macbeths castle, a banquet is held. We can se in Macbeths opening soliloquy (a dramatic technique show the audience what he is thinking) that he doesnt want to carry on with the murder as he says Could trammel up consequences By Shakespeares use of the word trammel we can se he is thinking of death and if he could just be done with it and that was it, it would be fine but he knows there will be consequences for killing the king: Hear upon this bank and shoal of time, Wed jump thr life to come This shows that the Elizabethans believed in the after life. He also refers to the Elizabethan belief of the king being chosen by god: His virtues will plead like angels trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation of his taking off Later on in the scene we see that Macbeth doesnt want to go through with the murder and wants to call it off: We will proceed no further in this business And he gives three reasons he is his host as his host He is his kin I am his kinsman and his subject Duncan has been extremely kind to him Duncan hath borne his faculties so meek So to make Macbeth commit the murder Lady Macbeth taunts him and calls him a coward: When you durst do it then you were a man And at this Macbeth wants to do it to prove he is not a coward and we can see this from his next line: If we should fail showing he is thinking about the murder. Although Macbeth can wash Duncans blood from his hands he cannot wash it from his conscience: Will all great Neptunes oceans wash this blood clear from my hand? No Macbeth is duly crowned king Banquo reveals his suspicions about Macbeth in a soliloquy: Thou hast it now king, Cawdor, Glamis, all the wired women promised and I fear thou playdst most foully fort Macbeth holds a banquet and invites every one. After this Macbeth hires an assassin to kill Banquo and Fleance his son. Macbeth seems to be losing his moral standing the further he gets into the play. Banquo sacrifices his life to save his son and Fleance gets away. The assassin shows up at the banquet and stands at the door to give Macbeth the news there is blood upon thy face The murderer then seeks praise for the murder of Banquo: Macbeth then asks about Fleance and is agitated to hear that he is still alive: The worm thats fled hath nature in time will venom breed, no teeth for the time present Shakespeare uses a metaphor to show how Macbeth is afraid of Banquo and Fleance Macbeth then goes to sit down at the table but he thinks his place is taken and when the figure stands up it is the ghost of Banquo. No one else can see the ghost. It is only by Macbeths speeches that we can tell he can see a ghost. Macbeth is very scared and starts shouting but Lady Macbeth calms everything down. In a stage whisper, She calls him a coward and says that it is just like the dagger he saw pointing to Duncans room the ghost vanishes and he calms down and they send every one home saying he will be fine in the morning. Shakespeare usage of a ghost reflects king James fascination with the supernatural and the Elizabethans general belief in spirits and ghosts. He also uses stage whispers sililoquy and the idea of no one seeing the ghost except Macbeth, which could just be him hallucinating. So we are not entirely sure whether there really is a ghost there or the pressure of all the killing has got to him and he has flipped and had hallucinations. After this he is still paranoid and so to stop this he goes to see the witches again and this time the show him three visions. 1) Beware Macduff 2) None of woman bore shall harm Macbeth 3) Macbeth shall never vanquished be Until great Birnam wood comes to Dunsunane hill He is woken up by Lenox and decides to kill Macduff to be safe but he has fled to England to help Malcolm at this Macbeth is so angry he orders the assassins to kill his wife and kids and this shows a complete depletion of his morals. He as ordered assassins to go kill innocent children and women without a second thought. There has been a character reversal and now Macbeth has no morals and lady Macbeth as been driven mad with guilt. At the start, Macbeth would not kill Duncan and Lady Macbeth drove him to it. In the next scene Macbeth is getting hundreds of reports of the English force amassing on the horizon, but of-coarse he had the predications from the witches and feels confident. He doesnt worry about them Bring me no more reports, let them fly all. Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane This shows an air of self-confidence and pride. He even accuses Thanes that ran away of being false which was very ironic as he killed the king then fly false thanes. From his opening speech we can see he thinks he is invincible: The mind I sway by and the heart I bear shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear. When his servant comes he is white and pale so Macbeth calls him lily liveried, because the Elizabethans believed that courage came from the liver. When the doctor said that there was no cure for lady Macbeth that she had to cure herself Macbeth insulted him, which is a valid point, as King James 1st didnt believe in doctors. Macduff and Malcolms army burst into the castle and the first wave come to find Macbeth and die until Macduff finds him and they fight. Macduff tells Macbeth he was born by caesarean section and so was not born of woman and he kills Macbeth. In conclusion I would say that Macbeths character changes drastically throughout the play. At the start he is a good and noble soldier who would never betray the king but gets persuaded easily by his wife. Then as the story progresses we see him start to lose morals as he orders the killing of Banquo on his own but is still upset about it, we can see that because of his hallucinations (seeing the ghost). Then he orders the killing of lady Macduff and her children showing he has gone of the scale and is totally evil. Whilst fighting Macduff he is arrogant and spares his life at one point in the fight. So when Macbeth is told that Macduff is not born of women he is shocked and dies a wicked fool. So we see the down fall of such a brave character we saw at the start because of a few predictions and the ambition. For if he saw what being king would do to him I doubt he would have wanted to be king and would have been contented but was tricked by the evil of the witches.