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Do you believe that Macbeth is a complete villain, or does he have some redeeming qualities?

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Introduction

Thomas Way 10:C - Macbeth English GCSE Coursework Do you believe that Macbeth is a complete villain, or does he have some redeeming qualities? Macbeth is a play, which was written by William Shakespeare, and first published in 1623 (during the reign of King James I of England). Macbeth was a hero and also a loyal subject and friend of the King, Duncan. He gave no quarter on the battlefield, due to his brutal courage, e.g. Macbeth "unseamed" a Norwegian "from the nave to the chaps" and "fixed his head" onto the Scottish battlements, during the battle at the beginning of the play. This proved his patriotism for his country, and his respect for the King. By fighting for his country, Scotland, he achieved in return the respect that he deserved from the King. Macbeth was plagued with conflicting qualities; for example, one was the humane and courteous way he treated his wife, i.e. Macbeth referred to his wife (in his letter to her - in Act 1, Scene 5) as "my dearest partner of greatness". Also in this scene, he addressed her as "My dearest love". On the other hand, this did not prevent him from acting in the opposite way in battle as a cruel warrior. Once the witches had prophesised that Macbeth would be king "hereafter" (Act 1, Scene 3), Macbeth seemed to have been drawn in by this advance information i.e. ...read more.

Middle

These mental images inside his own mind blatantly reflect that he is aware and stricken by them. Therefore, he is still able to discern between good and evil even after the foul deed has been accomplished. When Macbeth kills the two servant guards "in anger", he is seen to extend his evil deed and perhaps this can be considered as the point where he has become the "complete villain". In spite of a nagging conscience in killing Duncan, he had to continue his evil ways to silence the two innocent guards: "O, yet I do repent me of my fury, that I did kill them." Here is a further example of his commitment to evil in spite of conscience and so, his tendency towards malfeasance does not abate. In addition to this unfolding character change, he also deceives all others, including Duncan's two sons. He deceitfully assumes the role of the angry Thane, driven to lash out at the two guards, who, on the face of it, had killed the king. Once more, he shows duplicity in 'confessing' another lie, "Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man: the expedition of my violent love outran the pauser reason." So, his conscience is now being overtaken by his evil actions and reflects his weakness in becoming a pawn by acting out the will of his accomplice, Lady Macbeth, and exposes a diminishing personal integrity to the reader. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth came to realise his own corrupt ways when he faces Macduff on the battlefield, "Of all men else have I avoided thee: But get thee back, my soul is too much charged with blood of thine already." Macbeth reacts with Lady Macbeth's death Stoically but without any true compassion. "She should have died hereafter..." Towards the end of the play, Macbeth has come to accept his defeat, yet on a personal level he still superstitiously clings to the three hags words, that no man born of woman can harm him, "I bear a charmed life." Even after Macduff quotes the details of his caesarean birth, Macbeth is still courageously defiant: " I will not yield...and damned be him that first cries 'Hold, enough'." Macduff calls to Macbeth, "yield ye, coward," and "We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are, painted upon a pole, and underwrit, 'Here may you see the tyrant'." Here even Macduff labels Macbeth as a complete and utter 'tyrant'! In the end, Macbeth's only virtuous quality proved to be his courage and it was this undaunted approach to all danger in life, which somehow endeared him in death, in spite of his evil ways, as a black hero. However, his gradual change, after showing this virtue at the start of the play, does point to the truth of the adage, "power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely". How many of us can discern the shadow of Macbeth in our own lives? Thomas Way 10:C - Macbeth - English GCSE Coursework 1 ...read more.

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