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Choose three minor characters from the list below and discuss their dramatic functions in the play. Ross, Old Man, Malcolm, Lady Macduff, Porter. There are numbers of minor characters in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth".

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Introduction

English Literature essay Christy Li 5B (23) 7) Choose three minor characters from the list below and discuss their dramatic functions in the play. Ross Old Man Malcolm Lady Macduff Porter There are numbers of minor characters in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". These minor characters each carry their dramatic functions, which contribute to the development of the play. I going to discuss the dramatic functions of three of the minor characters, they are Malcolm, Porter and Lady Macduff. Malcolm is the son of King Duncan, the rightful successor of the throne. He escapes to England after the murder of Duncan by Macbeth for the fear of his life. Later in the play, he is convinced by Macduff to be back to Scotland to lead the battle against Macbeth and claim the throne back. Being the rightful heir to the throne, the dramatic function of Malcolm is to make a contrast with Macbeth who sits in the position of king of Scotland like a "dwarfish thief in the giant robes". ...read more.

Middle

In Act 2 scene II, the Porter is drunken and speaking nonsense. However, the Porter contributes to the play quite importantly with his dramatic functions. First of all, the Porter, acting in a funny manner and speaking nonsense, is there to provide comic relief before the discovery of the murder of Duncan. At the same time the delay of the discovery of Duncan's dead body by the Porter's speech heightens the tension and sense of anticipation. On the other hand, the speech of the Porter can also reveals ironic truths. In II iii 1, "If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key." Here the Porter imagines himself to be the gatekeeper of the hell, it is ironically true, as the Porter is the gatekeeper of Macbeth's castle, where the bloody murder of Duncan took place. The castle is like hell also in the sense that the evil ones-Macbeth and Lady Macbeth live there, in another words, Macbeth who had and will be doing the bloody deeds, deserves to go to hell. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the conversation, Lady Macduff and her son also bring out irony. In IV ii 50-55 where they talk about honest man and traitors is ironically related to the situation of the play where traitors like Macbeth destroy honest men like Duncan and Banquo. The last speech of Lady Macduff before she is killed in IV ii 70-75, "...where to do harm is often laudable, to do good sometime accounted dangerous folly..." reveals the situation in Scotland. There is nothing but disorder in Scotland under the rule of Macbeth, like according to Lady Macduff, good is not rewarded but is punished. Thus, the dramatic function of Lady Macduff is to show innocence in Scotland is being destroyed under the rule of Macbeth. Malcolm, the Porter and Lady Macduff are the minor characters in the play "Macbeth". Each of them carries different dramatic function, however, there is one thing that all minor characters in the play does, that is, they all have an important role in the contribution to the development of the play. ...read more.

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