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Macbeth Comparison - the contrast between Macbeth and Banquo

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Introduction

Macbeth Comparison Essay ?Macbeth? by William Shakespeare is a play in which a central concern is clarified by the contrast between two characters, Macbeth and Banquo. They are noble and well respected soldiers who react very differently after receiving a prophecy regarding their futures. Through their actions, the dramatist explores the theme of the corrupting power of unchecked ambition, whose negative effects strongly emphasises the contrast between the characters. Prior to the prophecy, Macbeth and Banquo are introduced as admirable figures in Act 1, scene 2. After leading their men to victory in battle, they are described as ?As sparrow eagles, or the hare the lion.? A lion would never fear a hare, so too an eagle a sparrow. This suggests that Macbeth and Banquo are incredibly fearless warriors who can always fight their way to victory on the battlefront. Furthermore, Macbeth is also compared to ?Bellona?s bridegroom.? Bellona was the Roman goddess of War, emphasising that Macbeth is a godlike figure of war who is strong and mighty on the battlefield. We are introduced to the play?s central concern in Act 1, scene 3 when the two characters react very differently to the prophecies given by three witches. ...read more.

Middle

However, Macbeth betrays God in the direst way by committing regicide. As a consequence, in the immediate aftermath of killing Duncan in Act 2, scene 2, Macbeth claims ?I could not say ?Amen.?? Macbeth stated in the Act 1, scene 7 soliloquy that he was willing to sacrifice his place in the afterlife in order to be king in this world. After committing the murder, Macbeth attempted to pray but failed, suggesting he has lost all connections to God and religion. During the time in which the play is set, people believed the King was God?s chosen appointee. By murdering an important religious figure, Macbeth has been isolated from God from this point forth. This isolation from God portrays the theme of the corruptive powers of unchecked ambition as Macbeth is very lonely in such a religious world. Another clear point of contrast between Macbeth and Banquo is their ability to quell their inner dark thoughts. Banquo is tempted by the witches? prophecies like Macbeth, however, he is able to check his ambition in way that Macbeth cannot: ?Why on the verities on thee made good, May they not be my oracles as well And set me up in hope? ...read more.

Conclusion

In the Act 5, scene 3 soliloquy, Macbeth takes a moment to reflect on what he has lost after embarking on a course of evil crimes: ?that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have.? This strongly emphasises the central concern of the play. By choosing to follow his ambition, Macbeth has lost his friends, love and honour as well as becoming isolated from his wife and killing those he was once close to. Macbeth?s character is a tragic hero as he has now fully recognised the faults in his way. He recovers a shred of sympathy from the audience at this point as the audience lament what Macbeth could have been had he not chosen a path of evil. The theme of the corrupting powers of unchecked ambition is shown in full depth at the end of the play as Macbeth is ultimately killed in revenge for the evil crimes he has committed. ?Macbeth? by William Shakespeare is a play in which the central concern- the corruptive powers of unchecked ambition-is explored through the contrast between the characters Macbeth and Banquo. Macbeth?s unchecked ambition led him to commit heinous crimes and lose his nobility and morals. However, Banquo?s checked ambition allowed him to retain his nobility and morals till his death. ...read more.

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