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Analysis of Macbeth - Mad or Bad

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Analysis of Macbeth - Mad or Bad Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most famous plays; the story is based on a warrior named Macbeth that has to make his decision on whether to choose evil or good. Through out the play Macbeth is influenced by the witches, his wife, Banquo and also pure ambition. The character of Macbeth shows different thoughts, emotions and relationships through the play - each of these giving clues as to whether Macbeth is simply mentally unstable or evil. Macbeth finally decides to choose evil and commits the murder of the King: Duncan; as of this point Macbeth's life begins a downward spiral ending with the death of him and his wife. The play uses common ideas and themes of the time. Such as "the divine right of kings" - this idea was a strongly Christian belief that God had chosen the king himself to look after the world for him. Therefore the "natural" king was seen almost like a god on earth. Linking with this influence and key idea behind Macbeth is the chain of being; this was what was perceived as being the "natural order" of people. Mainly divided by class and wealth (whilst in the human section) people believe that you should only associate with others in your "class" therefore keeping the poor, poor and the rich, rich. However Shakespeare submerges into the realms of what would happen if these ways of society are broken, thus creating the main character of Macbeth and introducing a complex debate on ...read more.


All these points together suggest that Macbeth has planned from the start to kill the king and quench his thirst for power. In contrast with this is when Macbeth writes a letter to his wife where he uses natural imagery and speaks in what appears to be full honesty. This to me suggests that Macbeth can not be insane as, it is impossible for insanity to turn on and off, how can a man change from something so brutal to something so at peace without there being a flicker of evil somewhere within him? We see this in the quotation As the character of Lady Macbeth progresses it is shown how in fact she is an influence on Macbeth's behaviour. There are hidden depths to her personality and she has streaks of pure evil. At times Macbeth seems afraid of her, this may suggest that Lady Macbeth is the influence that released Macbeth's own evil - introducing the idea of nature vs. nurture. A thought of if you are born with a certain feature/s or if they are picked up from the environment and influences around. Afterwards in the scene we see how Lady Macbeth wants Macbeth to be king just as much, if not more so than Macbeth she strategizes, plots and urges Macbeth to kill Duncan. Although some may say she pushed him to the edge and she is the reason Macbeth performed murder however surely there must be a depth of evil and lust for blood in someone who is a solider and can be persuaded so easily. ...read more.


And champion me to the utterance! Who's there!" This shows Macbeth it beginning to think of murder again proving that the murder of Duncan did not phase him at all. As if this is not bad enough the suicide of his own wife does not phase him just triggers thoughts of his own death - he has an inkling that this could be the end however holds onto what the witches said about him not been able to be killed by anyone woman born. "SEYTON The queen, my lord, is dead. MACBETH ...Signifying nothing." This part of the play holds it's significance because referring to near the beginning of the play when Macbeth's language is the language of someone who is besotted with his love. However his evil and thirst for blood drove that out of him and he is left feeling empty, like a shell. "Nothing" suggests that Macbeth doesn't care anymore; that love is irrelevant and greed had been thrust through him. Therefore with all the above points I believe I have proved my point that Macbeth's own evil has drove him to a point of insanity - however a point of insanity that makes him empty and not being able to see past what he wants. His influences are made clear and they help develop his evil as the play progresses. His own thirst for power and blood leads not only to his own death but his wife's, his best friend's and the king's. His arrogance prevails him throughout the play and in certain spots his Christian side shines through however is not strong enough to win over evil. ...read more.

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