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At the start of the play, King Duncan refers to Macbeth as 'worthy gentleman'. But at the end, he has become a 'dead butcher'. Who is to blame for this decline?

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Introduction

Macbeth Coursework James Birchall 11G At the start of the play, King Duncan refers to Macbeth as 'worthy gentleman'. But at the end, he has become a 'dead butcher'. Who is to blame for this decline? A) Witches B) Lady Macbeth C) The man himself Background Shakespeare is based in the early 17th century. There are many features of the play, which are different to the modern day. Lady Macbeth is a classic example as she is described as pure evil and the most villainess ever written in English literature. This view is totally opposite to present day as she is described as a very confident individual who many of the feminists of the modern day would admire and look up to. She is described as evil, then, because she is confident and knows her aims in life (Queen of Scotland) and she would do anything to get to where she wants to go. Another example is the witches, they are described as evil that possesses incredible powers, and the people feared them then, as they were very superstitious. The modern day witches don't exist as they are now only described in fairy tales. Witches The prophecies that were told by the witches were one of the factors, which contributed to this decline. Even though the witches were only in the play for 3 scenes they still play a major role in the decline of Macbeth. Witches during the 17th century were taken very seriously, unlike nowadays. They were seen as agents of the Devil, as they had an array of mysteriously powers, e.g. to curse and to levitate. However, they did not actually commit any murders in the play. In the modern day witches are recognised as old myths and many people have used this to benefit themselves, by putting them in movies and T.V shows etc., and they are viewed as fictional characters, much like vampires. ...read more.

Middle

This sudden change caused Lady Macbeth to faint. This would explain why Lady Macbeth could not tolerate Macbeth killing people after he was made king and why she could before (whilst she was still possessed). Once they left her, she was powerless. When Macbeth's marriage deteriorates and he no longer consults his wife before he does something, he puts his faith in the supernatural. He says, "...I will to-morrow (And betimes I will) to the Weird Sisters: More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know, by the worst means..." But, is it he who wishes to see the witches, or is it the witches who wish to see Macbeth? Hecate, Queen of the Witches, is angry with the witches for focusing their attention on someone whom is not devoted to evil, "...And, which is worse, all you have done Hath been but for a wayward son..." But, at the same time, Macbeth is beginning to put his faith in the supernatural. Hecate told the witches that she would make a spell to lure Macbeth into a false sense of security, "... And you all know, security Is mortals' cheifest enemy." It is this false sense of security, which makes Macbeth seek out the witches. Another reason for Hecate to be angry is that the witches did not tell her that they were going to deal with Macbeth. This is very similar to when Lady Macbeth is upset that Macbeth does not consult her before he does something. Lady Macbeth Lady Macbeth is described to be the most famous villainess in English literature, seen in Shakespeare's day as pure evil. If we described Lady Macbeth in the 21st century, she is totally the opposite, and can be described as a very confident and she knows her aims in life (wants the best for her and her husband). A typical woman in the 17th century can be described as a housewife and a very supportive to the husband i.e. ...read more.

Conclusion

Later on she says something which deeply shocks Macbeth, "From this time such I account thy love." This is so unexpected because of the intensity of Macbeth's relationship with his wife. She is telling him, that onwards from that point, she will be limiting their sexual activity with each other, unless Macbeth kills Duncan. By keeping herself as the prize for killing Duncan, Lady Macbeth knew her husband would give in to her demands. When it comes to murdering Duncan, their relationship becomes intense and almost sexual as they discuss who will actually kill him, "What cannot you and I perform upon Th'unguarded Duncan?" They turned a cold-blooded murder into an intimate event. Macbeth has won the prize of his sexual relationship with his wife, and the sense of doing wrong together gives them a sort of burst of sexual excitement and draws them close to each other. Here, their relationship is at its peak. The first signs of them growing apart become apparent when Macbeth kills the guards. Lady Macbeth was not prepared for more murders and she begins to realise that Macbeth is becoming more violent. After the banquet in which Banquo's ghost appears to Macbeth, he knows that he must go and see the witches. Lady Macbeth wishes to make him 'normal' again, but all she can do is watch as more people are killed. Macbeth plans without her and resorts to violence instead of consulting his wife for advice, which pressurises their relationship, "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, Till thou applaud the deed". Eventually, the isolation lead to her becoming insane. When Macbeth discovered that his wife had died, he suddenly lost all his motivation and will to carry on, "It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." He doesn't really know why he wanted to become king in the first place and he doesn't want to be king without his wife. Perhaps he feels this way because he thought being king would make Lady Macbeth content, but now she no longer exists, there is no point in being king. ...read more.

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