• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analyse the rise and fall of Macbeth

Extracts from this document...


'This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues, Was once thought honest.' 'Macbeth' IV. Iii 12-13 Analyse the rise and fall of Macbeth William Shakespeare wrote 'Macbeth' between the years of 1603 and 1606. This coincides with the ascension of James the Sixth of Scotland to the English throne whereby he became known as James I. James I believed himself to have special powers because he was king and he also had an interest in witchcraft, apparitions and ghosts. The use of witchcraft in 'Macbeth' relates to the topicality of these issues as Shakespeare's audience would have been aware of these. The play also explores the issues of kingship and loyalty. These were of importance to James as his life had his life threatened by a group of witches in Scotland in 1591 and in 1605 Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up his government. During Shakespeare's life there had been much turmoil in Britain regarding the throne and religion. The country, therefore, knew only too well the dire implications of insurrection and anarchy. This is reflected in 'Macbeth.' 'Macbeth' opens with an overwhelming sense of unease, the atmosphere is tense and the weather reflects this with thunder and lightning. The three witches symbolise supernatural happenings which adds to the dramatic tension and foreboding. ...read more.


He has achieved all the power he is ever going to achieve; we have witnessed the rise of Macbeth. All except Macduff, who discovers the body, are willing to accept him as king. However, in a soliloquy, Macbeth thinks - 'To be thus is nothing.' III.i, 47 He means to make his position safe and also reveals that the witches' prediction that Banquo's offspring should become king is entirely unacceptable to him. He hires two murderers to perform the murder of Banquo and Fleance. Lady Macbeth, who has been his 'dearest partner of greatness', is not privy to his plans- 'Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest Chuck,' III.ii, 45 Macbeth has detached himself from his reliance on his wife. Banquo's murder results in disaster for Macbeth. At a feast soon after his death, his chair is occupied by a ghost. This ghost can be viewed as Macbeth's guilt, invisible to others, but a terrifying reality to Macbeth himself. When the ghost and guests have gone, Macbeth's mind is still in turmoil, he can see no way out of his dilemma but to crush everyone around him who questions his will. He decides to revisit the witches, his reliance on them increases as reliance on his wife decreases, his decline in power begins and his depravity increases. ...read more.


The concentration of the play is on the character of Macbeth. The audience gets a wide context to Macbeth's character and behaviour by Shakespeare's use of what may be referred to in cinematic terms as 'close up' and 'longer range shots'. He uses minor characters to comment on the main action in order to give the audience details to Macbeth's behaviour. The imaginative use of language and symbolism by Shakespeare gives 'Macbeth' a new dimension between the contrasts of good and evil. Although it is a short and simple plot which is easily held in the mind of the reader and has few main characters, it highlights moral dilemmas. The plot is set in a specific historical period but in spite of this, the themes are of universal interest and relevance to today. It is a play about morality, using themes such as loyalty, ambition, conscience, delusion and social and psychological order to explore the human condition. These characteristics, which are resonant throughout make 'Macbeth' Shakespeare's most widely read, memorable and adaptable play. Many of Shakespeare's plays examine situations of political ambitions and power in settings such as Rome, Egypt, Denmark and Scotland. 'Macbeth' offers a penetrating analysis of personal aspiration and political ambition. It shows that even noble men - as Macbeth was at the beginning, are vulnerable to the destructive possibilities of power. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nikhil Sehmi 10PJM Shakespeare Coursework Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Macbeth essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Villain or victim? Is Macbeth a victim of external circumstances or a man solely ...

    4 star(s)

    It was not part of any plan, and he did not set out to kill them, yet he did. And he, through elaborate lies, pardons his actions, '...,my violent love Outran the pauser reason,'. This shows that from the very first stages, Macbeth does not think of murder as taking

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the soliloquy in Act III, i. How does Shakespeare convey the change in ...

    3 star(s)

    Unlike Macbeth, Richard is morally corrupt from the beginning, and we can blame little for his wrongdoings, as he does not have any control over his actions. In conjunction with Macbeth's contemplative mind, he is also ambivalent. He admires Duncan's prestige as King ("so clear in his office"), but subsequently,

  1. Character Analysis of Macbeth

    These attacks on her husband manhood is the device she uses to influence him because she knows that Macbeth and most warriors of his time put most of their effort into being the greater man and such insults drive Macbeth to act without question especially when he feels his manhood is in question.

  2. How does Shakespeare Create Sympathy for Macbeth?

    hard to act surprised and shocked (probably because he is still coming to terms with doing it himself) and so she faints to draw attention away. Macbeth has a soliloquy in which he hallucinates and sees an imaginary dagger in front of him: "Is this a dagger which I see before me...

  1. By considering the soliloquies, analyse how Macbeth's character changes as the play progresses.

    At this point in the play he is undecided. It is also apparent that towards the end of the first speech the language used by Macbeth is very negative: "and nothing is But what is not." (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 139)

  2. Is Macbeth A Traditional Tragic Hereo

    From this I can only conclude that Macbeth must have had a good character before he was under the witches' influence and before he became consumed by ambition. In this case he matches this point in the definition of a tragic hero because his greatness must have been wasted through

  1. Many students have trouble following the events in Macbeth and interpreting Shakespeares complex language. ...

    It is entertaining to parallel the events of the play with those on the screen. On the one hand, some details are cut out or diminished. For instance, instead of the commander's acclaim of Macbeth's performance on the frontline, the viewers see a scene in which Joe throws two troublemakers out of the restaurant.

  2. 'Macbeth is full of highly dramatic scenes. Choose two scenes and explore how Shakespeare ...

    he doesn't become insecure after the witches promise his great things unlike Macbeth. He seems more morally directed. It is with the two characters very different reactions that Shakespeare introduces an exciting force to the play. From here on soliloquy is used to express Macbeth's inner thoughts.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work