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A Critical Account of Macbeth Act 1 Scene VII

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Introduction

Stephanie Lever A Critical Account of Macbeth Act 1 Scene VII. Shakespeare is often considered to be one of the world's greatest playwrights, using his own style to back this up. He writes with poetic diction using eloquent words and phrases, he also uses lots of irony and drama to create and sustain suspense throughout his plays. Throughout this essay I am going to look very closely at Act 1 in his play Macbeth, paying particular attention to Act 1 Scene VII, I will be looking to see how Shakespeare's use of language enables the reader to become a part of the play. Macbeth was written in Shakespeare's usual formal manner, although while this play was meant to be performed and spoken, he wrote the dialogue in a poetic manner. Through reading this act closely I began to see how Shakespeare was using metaphors and imagery throughout the dialogue, this enabled me to see just how highly educated Shakespeare was in the English language. He carefully places each word to enable it to fit an iambic pentameter rhythm. This is very clear right at the beginning of Act 1 with the Witches first words: 'Witch 1: When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain? Witch 2: When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won. Witch 3: That will be ere the set of sun.' [1]. ...read more.

Middle

to do, although this all changes when Lady Macbeth returns home and once again convinces him, by the strength of her will to go ahead with the plot. This gives me the impression that Macbeth's image is to be heroic and warrior like, while Lady Macbeth invokes her supposed masculine 'virtues' for dark, cruel purposes. Unlike Macbeth, she seems solely concerned with immediate power. The plot of this play hinges on Macbeth's betrayal of Duncan and ultimately, of Scotland. Just as Lady Macbeth proves to be the antithesis of the ideal wife, Macbeth proves to be a completely disloyal subject. This first lengthy soliloquy allows the audience to have a look inside Macbeth's mind, with Lady Macbeth arriving like a hurricane just as Macbeth's mind is wavering, spurring Macbeth to treason by disregarding his rational, moral arguments and challenging his manhood. She basically dares Macbeth to commit the murder, using words that taunt rather than persuade. 'When you durst do it, then you were a man;/ And, to be more than what you were, you would/ Be so much more the man.' [4]. Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth's speech here more like a spell, Lady Macbeth is casting a spell on her husband, and from under this spell all Macbeth is left to say is; 'If we should fail'.[5]. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is this "concern" that she has for Macbeth that proves to the audience that she is not actually monstrous. Characters in Macbeth frequently dwell on issues of gender. Lady Macbeth does manipulate her husband, although she has his best intentions at heart, yet Macbeth is also rather manipulative when he provokes the murderers that he hires to kill Banquo, I believe that Shakespeare angled these two characters perfectly as they both equate masculinity with naked aggression, and whenever they converse about manhood, violence soon follows. Their understanding of manhood allows the political order depicted in the play to descend into chaos. However I also noticed that women are also sources of violence and evil. The witch's prophecies spark Macbeth's ambitions and then encourage his violent behaviour, Lady Macbeth provides the brains and the will behind her husbands plotting; and the only divine being to appear is Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. Arguably Macbeth traces the root of chaos and evil to women. While the male characters are just as violent and prone to evil as the women, the aggression of the female characters is more striking because it goes against prevailing expectations of how women ought to behave. Lady Macbeth's behaviour certainly shows that women can be just as cruel and ambitious as men. Whether it is because of the constraints within society or because she is not fearless enough to kill, she relies on deception rather than violence to achieve her ends. Assignment 1 Women In Shakespeare ...read more.

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