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'Discuss the view that the witches are solely responsible for Macbeth's descent into evil'.

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Introduction

English Coursework Macbeth Gopal Makwana 11MC 16/05/07 William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire on the on April 26 1564. He was eldest son in a family of eight children only two older sisters were older then him. Shakespeare was very well educated in a grammar school and as he was the eldest son he would have taken over his fathers business as this was the tradition of the time but instead he broke the tradition and became a school headmaster. He then moved to the British Capital City of London. William Shakespeare Shakespeare's professional life in London was marked by a number of financially advantageous arrangements that permitted him to share in the profits of his acting company, the Chamberlain's Men, later called the King's Men, and its two theatres, the Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars. His plays were given special presentation at the courts of Elizabeth I and James I more frequently than those of any other contemporary dramatists were. It is known that he risked losing royal favour only once, in 1599, when his company performed "the play of the deposing and killing of King Richard II" at the request of a group of conspirators against Elizabeth. They were led by Elizabeth's unsuccessful court favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and by the Earl of Southampton. In the subsequent inquiry, Shakespeare's company was absolved of complicity in the conspiracy. After about 1608, Shakespeare's dramatic production lessened and it seems that he spent more time in Stratford. There he had established his family in an imposing house called New Place, and had become a leading local citizen. He died on April 23, 1616, and was buried in the Stratford church. Shakespeare was not very famous when he lived but has become very famous after his death. His work has been appreciated more and for the millennium celebrations he was voted 'Man of the Millennium' for Britain. The society was very different in the middle ages when Shakespeare produced his plays. ...read more.

Middle

It is Macbeth who is connecting getting kingship and murder, he leaves the idea of murder only as a fantasy and decides to chance if he will become king or not. I think that the witches were not solely responsible for Macbeth's evil. The witches were merely used as a catalyst to trigger Macbeth's true identity that he was trying to conceal inside himself. This is because after returning victorious out of so many battles his pride and ego levels must have been running very high so he must have been aiming for the throne. The witches only inspired him to do as they told him his prophecy, which was correct. The witches only told him what was going to happen, he could have changed it so he would not be lowered into the evil but he sets out activity to try and make it happen although he knows it is wrong. It is also highly unlikely that a 'loyal solider' would have had his whole life plans changed with such a brief encounter with three witches as they were the lowest kind of life forms in the middle-ages. Macbeth is awarded the title The Thane of Cawder. Banquo as seen the evil because he knows that only evil witches can make true predications. This is unlike Macbeth who now cannot tell the difference between evil and good. Banquo says: What! can the devil speak true? Banquo has worked out that the destroy people the evil tells things which are true. Macbeth is now separated from the good into the devious. The fact that the Thane of Cawdor before Macbeth was executed because he tries to become King is quite ironic because Macbeth is quoted as saying 'The Thane of Cowdor lives: why do you dress me in borrowed robes?' Is meaning that he had had the idea that he should not that title because it will cause him problems in the future. ...read more.

Conclusion

They also say beware of Macduff but he is totally out of reality and so thinks that the witches are giving him warning about good things. Macbeth misunderstands all the predications and thinks that the land can never move so the witches are saying that he is invisible. He is only hearing what he wants to hear showing that he is now arrogant. He decides to kill Macduff and with a raid on Macduff's castle his family is slaughtered, Macduff is in England asking Malcolm to fight Macbeth. In the final act Lady Macbeth brakes down, as she is not clearly suited to a life of evil. The doctor realises that she is trying to confess in her mind the killings and he is frightened by what he has just heard. Macbeth was clearly unaffected with all the killings, as he is not showing any signs of 'cracking under the pressure' as his wife is. Macbeth sees that the forest is moving and he then remembers what the witches were trying to tell him. He releases that his end is near. The final prophecy is accomplished as Macbeth's head is removed from his body. Even though Macbeth knows that he will be killed in the fight with Macduff who is also after personal revenge, he still fights him because he was a very brave solider. Why should I play the Roman fool, and die On mine own sward? Whiles I see lives, the gashes Do better upon them This is meaning that he is very heroic, as he would rather be killed in a fight then commit suicide. He died in a very noble way, as he knew that he was going to be killed but still he went to Macduff to fight him. The play gives the impression that Lady Macbeth had committed suicide. Now her guilt is driving her to madness whilst sleep, which she herself called 'the season of all natures', is dined to her. This just show's how strong Macbeth's mind must be to be able to cope with all the guilt and fight at the end. ...read more.

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