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Through this essay I am hoping that I will be able to comment upon many things about the story of Macbeth, for example the actions of the characters.

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Thomas Beech 10H Macbeth essay Introduction For this English assignment I am going to write about William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth". Through this essay I am hoping that I will be able to comment upon many things about the story of Macbeth, for example the actions of the characters. I will only be monitoring two of the scenes, these are Act 1 scene 3 and Act 4 Scene 1 as I see these as the most influential scenes in the play and they each show how the play is progressing and the changes in the characters as the story is unfolding. They are also the scenes which feature the witches. Macbeth was first performed in 1606, early in the reign of king James I, who had succeeded queen Elizabeth, and during the time the theatre was becoming more popular between all the different 'classes'. The play would be performed in front of a crowd who, if they did not like the play, would walk out and leave. The play was performed by men only because of the Elizabethan beliefs of women's roles in society. Elizabethan Beliefs The Elizabethans believed that witches were evil and they were seen as being the devil on earth, all Elizabethans that would see this play thought this and would, when they saw the witches, automatically dislike the witches. In the play Shakespeare presents the witches as evil, unpleasant characters throughout the whole play. It is ultimately they who are responsible for the killing spree that Macbeth embarks upon, as it was they who planted the idea that he may one day become king. ...read more.


When Macbeth and Banquo enter they see the witches and Macbeth asks "what are these" asking who and/or what "that look not like the inhabitants o' the earth" are. Macbeth continues to describe the creatures whose first speeches are those that shape the rest of the play: First Witch-"all hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of glamis" The first of the proclamations is one that is already true and the one that Macbeth is least surprised about. Second Witch- "All hail, Macbeth, hail to the, thane of cawdor!" The second proclamation stuns Macbeth because he does not know that the thane of cawdor had betrayed King Duncan during the war. Macbeth also states that the thane of cawdor is "a prosperous gentleman and does not believe the witches claims at first. Third Witch-"all hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!" This is the third and final proclamation of the witches and ultimately the biggest of the three. Macbeth is shown to fear this claim because when he was told that he shall be king he began to think about killing king Duncan. Banquo questions why Macbeth is afraid of these claims stating that he believes they "sound so fair". Banquo then asks the witches if they could tell him his future to be told that he shall be "lesser than Macbeth, and greater", "not so happy, yet much happier" and that "thou shalt get kings, though thou be none". The things said by the witches about banquo show clearly that he shall be the father of kings but will not be one himself. ...read more.


Macbeth appears to become more afraid of what will happen to him in the future and finally begins to doubt that he is invincible. Lennox enters bringing the news that Macduff has fled to England, this scares Macbeth and he sends his army to kill all that remains in Scotland of Macduffs family, and again Macbeth begins to wonder about how much longer his reign as the king will last and doubt begins to settle upon his mind that he will live until he is old. Conclusion To conclude this essay I am going to say that this play is a prime example of how to use people's foolish beliefs against them to make a successful story line. The story is an old classic play and to this day is still used often by groups of people to act out and because of the betrayal, evil witches and death I feel that this play will never become overused and un-interesting. The beliefs of the Elizabethan people are shown immensely all through the play, all of which are now believed to be stupid folk stories used to scare the people of the time into using the church. The play was first performed in 1606 when King James the first was crowned king and at the time there was the same belief that James had taken the thrown in the same way as Macbeth did in the play which kept the audiences interested. So to conclude this essay, this play shows Elizabethan beliefs about witches and shows just how strongly they felt regarding witches powers amongst other things. ...read more.

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