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

Trace the Development of Macbeth's Character in Act One

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Trace the Development of Macbeth's Character in Act One Macbeth is a tragic hero, comfortable in the role of a warrior. Act One of this play shows us the decline of Macbeth's character as it develops from a heroic warrior to a ruthless murderer. His ambitious nature is exposed when his destiny is revealed. Shakespeare examines the boundaries of Human Nature and allows the audience to visualise the destructive force of ambition. The audience is allowed inside of Macbeth's conflicting mind and the imagery allows us to sense the conflict. There is a clear conflict between good and evil, and this makes the audience feel uneasy. The witches symbolise the force of evil and establish the atmosphere of conflict in the first scene, by using the oxymoron, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair,". The impact of this gives an initial outlook of the play, and the audience can see that conflict will be a major theme. In the rest of "Macbeth" we have seen this conflict in the form of light and darkness. These symbolise good and evil, and helps the audience to visualise the conflict between these two beings. This conflict is shown very well in the 1977 RSC version of "Macbeth". The producer had set the opening scene in darkness, with bright spotlights. This is to show us the good light surrounded by the dark evil. With good and evil together, we are shown conflict, but the evil appears to be winning. To mention Macbeth and conflict together also tells us the probability that Macbeth will be involved in this conflict. ...read more.

Middle

His thoughts are again on murder. This is shown in the lexical field of the passage. The lexical field includes words such as "horrid image", "horrible imaginings", "murder", "suggestion" and "Surmise". All these words show that he is considering murder, but at this stage his conscience is fighting these thoughts. This fight is shown again in Banquo's repetitive description of Macbeth being "rapt", but also in Macbeth saying: "If chance will have me king, why chance will crown me king Without my stir." Here the audience can notice that deep down he wants to leave his future in the hands of chance, which is personified as a person who would crown the king. We know that this is true, but we also can identify that deeper down ambition and impatience are strong. They would want his destiny to come faster. What is also worrying is the fact that Macbeth seems to see kingship just as a crown. We know that there is more to being a king than wearing a crown, as there are other qualities a king needs to have. The audience can also observe in this extract another clothing image. They can see that maybe the crown of a king might fit Macbeth, but not the other garments. Another clothing image is used in Banquo's speech as well: "New honours come upon him Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould But with aid of use." Here the viewers can distinguish that Banquo can see Macbeth is uncomfortable. With the use of the clothing image he helps the audience to visualise this. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore he does not totally agree with it. As he doesn't agree with it he knows that he must become deceitful, and he must hide his guilt: "False face must hide what the false heart doth know." He is convinced that he must become deceitful, and he must hide it. The audience can again see the irony of this relating back to Duncan's line where he says: "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face." In conclusion I can see that in Act One of "Macbeth", the character of Macbeth had declined greatly. He started out as a brave and heroic warrior, who was noble and comfortable in his role. Through the influence of many evil beings his comfort diminished, and his state of mind declined. The influences that conspired to bring out this change were the witches and their predictions. They were intent on causing disruption in Macbeth's life, by giving power to his ambition and impatience. The other main influence that conspired to bring out his change was Lady Macbeth. This woman of evil desired the power of a queen. To get this power she used dark spirits and the valour of her tongue to manipulate Macbeth's mind. This pushed him towards murder. The effect of these influences on Macbeth had great power over him. They unleashed an ambition and impatience that was within him, which gave him a great desire to become king. The once comfortable, heroic character has become a totally irredeemable man, with little good still within him. He wants to become king as soon as possible so I believe he will embrace the evil, and use it to gain power. 1 Holly Phillips ...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)

    His reign of terror is all over within a matter of weeks, but within that time he has caused a wave of destruction, terror and misery throughout the whole of Scotland, 'Alas, poor country! Almost afraid to know itself.' (Again, personification here emphasises the scale of the problem within the country.)

  2. Character Analysis of Macbeth

    slightly in the audiences perspective and shows them he has not completely transformed in this remorseless ''tyrant'' but is still just a man that has performed a monstrous act. The first example of these redeeming qualities is in Act 1 scene 7 where he says he ''will proceed no further

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

    During the course of the play, it can be seen that Macbeth has changed. His mood and personality change. It seems as though he is a totally different person. At the start of the play, Macbeth can be seen as a loyal, calm, controlled and truthful soldier, who fights for the right reasons and for his king during battle.

  2. What prevents Macbeth from being nothing more than the story of a ruthless and ...

    Already when Macbeth meets the king, the witches have unraveled his future to him and Banquo. Their prophecies are targeted directly at his strong ambitions and the witches, belonging to a higher power, know this. At first, Macbeth naturally believes they are not telling the truth and Banquo rightly sees

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

    prediction for the future or whether they were merely evil witches whose words meant nothing. Macbeth is attempting to find out if what they told him was irrelevant to him and they were simply attempting to scare and provoke him.

  2. Early in the play, the other characters portray Macbeth as a hero and a ...

    This is also another chance for Macbeth to be manipulated into killing the king and also now we start to see a weakness in his character. Lady Macbeth fears that he is a too good of a person to kill King Duncan so Lady Macbeth asks spirits to come and

  1. Will of Macbeth

    From this scene we determine that Lady Macbeth is a dark hearted person with strong determination. She has already concluded that her husband will kill King Duncan and become the ruler of Scotland. Yet at this time, Macbeth is currently a good-hearted, loyal human being.

  2. What is the role of the witches in Macbeth?

    Then in thunder comes the first apparition, which is a head of someone. Macbeth then says tell me of you're unknown power and then the apparition says "Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me enough".

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