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Discuss the changes in Macbeth's character throughout the play.

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Macbeth Discuss the changes in Macbeth's character throughout the play. Throughout this play we can see significant changes in the character of Macbeth. In Act One he is described as a brave war hero, but by Act Four he has become a brutal murderer. These changes are influenced by his ambition and conscience, the prophecies of the Witches and pressure to act on the prophecies from Lady Macbeth. In Act One we are aware of Macbeth's bravery because of the way in which the Captain speaks about him, "...his brandished steel smoked with bloody execution." (Act i scii) Macbeth's bravery in battle shows us that he is being loyal to his king (God's representitive on Earth). Macbeth earned the respect of many people, including Duncan, by fulfilling his duty to fight for king and country, "He hath honour'd me of late, and I have brought golden opinions from all sorts of people." (Act i sc ii) All seems to be going well for Macbeth untill he encounters the Witches on the way back from battle. It is there that the idea of becoming king himself is first planted in his mind. At first he does not think it is possible to become king himself, "...and to be King, stands not within the prospect of belief," (Act i sc iii) ...read more.


In the time 'Macbeth' was written Guy Fawkes and other conspiritors had decided to plot against King James I and kill him by blowing up Parliament during his speech on November 5th. As a result of this, many plays were written that favoured plotters against the monarchy coming to a bad end. Also, it was believed that disturbing the social hierachy (by, for example, killing a king)everything would be thrown into chaos. This was something else Shakespeare picked up on so he wrote about such chaos in Act Two Scene Four, "Thou seest the Heavens, as troubled with man's act...by th' clock 'tis day, and yet the dark Night strangles the travelling lamp." In this scene the sun has been obscued and Duncan's horses had eaten each other. Scenes describing happenings such as these would have been totally acceptable to the Jacobean audiences because it agreed with James I's beliefs. After killing Duncan, Macbeth is crowned the knew king because the original heir (Malcolm) had fled on hearing his father had been murdered. In order to keep his throne, Macbeth has to kill many other people such as Banquo, Fleance and Macduff's family. The other murders are actually commited by hired murderers rather than Macbeth himself. ...read more.


This is also another turning point in his character, it shows us that he is willing to do anything to get peace of mind and keep the crown and does not care what sacrifices he makes to get there. He feels that having chosen an evil path he cannot turn back, "I am in blood, stepped in so far that should I wade no more." When he hears of his wife's death he feels his life has lost meaning and what he desired so much had no point because he had lost the woman he loved, "There would have been a time for such a word: to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow." At this point more and more things start to go wrong. Birnam Wood is sighted marching towards Dunsinane Castle which was, as the Apparitions said, the sign that he would be vanquished. Then, the last of his certainties disappears when he is told Macduff was not born of woman but by Caesarean section. This is where Macbeth's character changes for the last time. He is, in a sense, returning to the person he was at the beginning of the play. He refuses to surrender even when there was no way he could win the battle. In desparation he fights bravely with Macduff untill he meets his unfortunate end, "Yet I will try the last. Before my body, I throw my warlike shield. Lay on Macduff." (Act v sc vii) ...read more.

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