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Consider how Shakespeare explores the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act One.

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Consider how Shakespeare explores the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act One. At the beginning of Act One Shakespeare introduces the character of Macbeth to the audience. He is described as a brave and strong, victorious soldier in a conversation between the captain and Duncan. This is significant because the King has a higher status than the Macbeth and they admire his bravery in the battle. "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - disdaining fortune with his brandished steel." ... "Till he and Samantha came from the naive to the chaps And fix his head upon the battlements." This complements Macbeth on his ability to overcome powers greater than himself so by using his skill, cunning and strategy. The second part of the conversation is significant as this shows Macbeth's bravery in more detail, as it says he never gave up until he had won, showing great determination. This is important because it tells the audience about Macbeth before he appears on the stage, the audience have positive expectations of him, Shakespeare uses this idea to shock the audience when they see Macbeth "fall". ...read more.


Banquo who was with Macbeth at the time of the witches prophecies, seemed a little surprised to make progress fear when he asks: "Good Sir, why do you start and seem to fear things that sound so fair?"..."Of noble having and Royal hope" Banquo is questioning why Macbeth fears the witches even though they predict him to a new title of nobility and hope of becoming King, but Macbeth believes that something that seems so good must be bad. Banquo shows Macbeth has a choice - he points out that he doesn't have to listen to the witches, but still thinks it may be an option. Although Macbeth is scared, Banquo remains calm, Shakespeare uses the idea to contrast the two characters to show that completely different characters in personality can react and work well with each other in a strong friendly relationship. In Act One Shakespeare introduces the character of Lady Macbeth. As he does with the relationship of Macbeth and Banquo, he tries to contrast the personalities and relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. ...read more.


Macbeth does this to get Lady Macbeth involved in the murder of Duncan. He uses the strength of the conversation to lure Lady Macbeth in so that he can share the blame with someone. Using short questions and short answers Shakespeare gives us the idea that Lady Macbeth is plotting something evil inside her head. "Macbeth: Duncan comes here tonight. Lady Macbeth: And when he goes hence? Macbeth: Tomorrow as he purposes." Lady Macbeth is finding out information about Duncan's staying, such as how long he is staying and even more importantly - how long she has to kill him! Shakespeare is trying to tell us that Lady Macbeth is either impatient or a fast thinker because she asks brief questions with neither detailed questions nor answers she receives. The 'impatientness' also shows the strength of her greed, as she wants to get to work with the plan immediately! In 'Macbeth' the witches add complexity to the play, they add responsibility, they don't seem to have any real power over anyone at all, it is all in the mind! They don't force anyone into anything - they show people the door, they don't make people walk through it! James Swetman ...read more.

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