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

Macbeth Comparison - the contrast between Macbeth and Banquo

Extracts from this document...

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.

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. Character Analysis of Macbeth

    This ghost Macbeth is seeing in my opinion is not real but a complete manifestation of his guilt and regret and his better side subconsciously is trying to give himself up an attempt to save his 'damned' soul, with regards to the quote where he states he would ''jump the

  2. Macbeth - Act 4 Scene 1: Discuss the Dramatic Potential in this scene.

    As the apparitions seem impossible, Macbeth feels confident that nothing will harm his throne. However, Macbeth's anger is once more unleashed, at the site of future kings, all related to Banquo. Macbeth's, weakness is exposed. The thought of losing his throne frightens him.

  1. Ambition in Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth then helps Macbeth by inserting ill thoughts into his mind, and provided suggestions as to how to become King. At first, Macbeth rejects the horror in his mind but eventually he succumbs to evil for his ambition is far too great.

  2. Macbeth as a fallen hero. Two paths lay in front of Macbeth, two choices, ...

    his own wife and most prominently by the prophecies of the three witches. This is first seen when the witches prophecy proves to be true. That he had become "thane of Cawdor", and that if such is true, even possible, then king is also within reach.

  1. Analyse the rise and fall of Macbeth

    The title quote by one of the king's sons, Malcolm, to Macduff, the thane of Fife, refers to Macbeth as a 'tyrant'. Thus, the other characters in the play see Macbeth as ruthless, cruel and a traitor.

  2. Will of Macbeth

    Although she has faith that the task can be completed, she considers Macbeth for a moment, by contemplating his innate nature, and coming to the realization that she fears it. She believes "It is too full o' the milk of human kindness...Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it" (1.5.16-20).

  1. However Macbeth tries to escape the Witch's wicked, but truthful words, he may also ...

    So of course he does and the plot thickens. But what the Witch's tell him seems to come at a price, he then starts on a chain of events by killing, Banquo and then murdering Macduff's wife and child. Now Macbeth worries, because people are starting to see him for the tyrant he is, and begin to plot against him.

  2. Macbeth's transformation from a respected leader to a despised and isolated tyrant

    However, Lady Macbeth fears that he is too good a man to do anything wrong. He is ?too full o? the milk of human kindness?. Macbeth is a reluctant criminal and we see this with his killing of Duncan, where he hesitates beforehand, making a powerful case against what he

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