• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Does Shakespeare portray Macbeth as a monster or a victim?

Extracts from this document...


Does Shakespeare portray Macbeth as a monster or a victim? Macbeth was written by Shakespeare between 1606-1611. The story takes place in Scotland, where a brave soldier 'Macbeth' is predicted to become king. After being urged on by his wife, Macbeth kills the king and claims his right to the throne. After a few days' people begin to become suspicious and eventually Macbeth has is comeuppance. Shakespeare wrote in a time where women were inferior to men, people lived in a patriarchal society. So many of his plays resulted in a young boy playing the part of what would have been a woman. Shakespeare gripped audiences with compelling plays such as Romeo and Juliet which combine the sad story of death, with the emotional portrayal of a first love. In many of Shakespeare's plays intriguing love stories become tangles up in violence, deceit and anger. Out of all his plays, 'Macbeth' captivated and still does huge audiences. The way Shakespeare gets the audience to sympathize with a cold blooded murdered is truly great. Reading through the first pages Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as a courageous warrior with huge respect from his fellow soldiers. However this image does not last long as Macbeth is introduced to the three evil witches. They convince him he will become King and Macbeths shift in character starts from there. ...read more.


But the witches only predicted that Macbeth will somehow become king, not how he will claim the throne. Lady Macbeth is unlike any other women of her time. Women were inferior to men, Lady Macbeth commanded and bullied here supposed superior. At the time of the play, a little boy would have taken the role of Lady Macbeth. You can tell this because when Lady Macbeth calls for the spirits to "Unsex me here" Act 1 scene 5 line 308 It makes the line more believable to the audience as she is already male. Lady Macbeth try's to persuade Macbeth to kill Duncan calling him a coward and saying he is weak. She is effectively saying to Macbeth that he doesn't have the courage to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth try's to calm Macbeth down by saying to him "Look the gentle flower, but be the serpent inert" Act 1 scene 5 line 316. This means that you should not look at the innocent hero on top but be the evil serpent underneath at heart. When describing Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare touches upon vast images of blood. This is a good technique as you can associate Lady Macbeth with all sorts of terrible things. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence of blood is a treacherous symbol, and knows it will deflect the guilt from her and Macbeth to the servants when she says "Smear the sleepy grooms withe blood.", and "If he do bleed, I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt." ...read more.


This sparks a hasty reaction from Macbeth as he has Macduffs family killed. "Give to th'edge o' th sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line" Act 4, scene 1, lines 86-90 Shakespeare really emphasizes the evil in Macbeth, having sympathized with him previously the reader now views Macbeth as a cold blooded murderer. I think this is what Shakespeare wanted, the reader to judge whether Macbeth can be forgiven for his cowardly acts. Overall I think that Shakespeare wants us to believe that Macbeth is a monster. I think this because the killing spree embarks on towards the end has no defence. The witches may have tricked him into doing certain things, but most men would be brave enough to stand up in the face of evil. This portrays Macbeth as being a cowardly man and performing things rather unlike himself. I think that Lady Macbeth is seen in a negative light due to the simple imagery Shakespeare used when talking about her "There is no light, thee one half world" Act 1, scene 5, line 33 Darkness here can be seen to represent evil, which usually ties in when Lady Macbeth is around. Overall Shakespeare's Macbeth combines an eloquent tale of portrayal, deceit and murder with the gripping inner story of one mans lust for power. It is a great tale which the leading character is show in two lights- a monster and a victim. I enjoyed reading this play, and I hope to continue reading Shakespeare other pieces. Sean Melody 10W ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is Macbeth a horrible monster of is he a sensitive man - a victim ...

    3 star(s)

    The witches then go onto say "All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor" followed by "All hail Macbeth that shalt be King hereafter." This instantly raises Macbeth's interest, and already his ambitious streak begins to show through, but he initially dismisses the witch's prophecies.

  2. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    She criticizes her husband for appearing on one hand determined and on the other hand fearful. She also refers to the fact that the prospect of killing the King under his own roof will make Macbeth look quite ill. "And wakes it now to look so green and pale" (I.7.37)

  1. Macbeth man or a monster?

    I believe Macbeth is a man and not a monster at this point of the play. In Act 1, Scene 3 Macbeth meets the witches upon a heath; Macbeth and Banquo are on their way to somewhere when they see the witches.

  2. What is the Significance of the Witches in Macbeth?

    He says that despite appearing truthful, the predictions are sinister and they are trying to trick him. However Macbeth chooses to ignore him and thinks to himself about the witches' third prediction. "The greatest is behind" he murmurs. This shows the audience how much ambition Macbeth has and shows what

  1. Is Lady Macbeth a monster?

    The Elizabethan audience would have found this very strange because in these times, women were not regarded to be as important as men. In Lady Macbeth's soliloquy we can see that she has no hesitation in what action to take as she expresses that Macbeth "shall be what thou art promised."

  2. What part does Lady Macbeth play in Macbeth's downfall?

    This quote shows this; 'Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done' t'. This shows that she is not capable of killing herself as she shows so much sentiment, so she cannot possibly be pure evil.

  1. How does Shakespeare portray the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth up to Act ...

    "All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawodor. All hail Macbeth, thou shall be king hereafter." Macbeth is already Thane of Glamis but he is not Thane of Cawdor, and he is certainly not the King.

  2. To what extent does Shakespeare portray the character of Macbeth as a war hero(TM) ...

    It almost seems Macbeth is under their influence already. At the end of Act 3 scene 1 Macbeth says to the murderers, who he hired to kill Banquo, 'It is concluded. Banquo, thy souls' flight, if it find heaven, must find it out tonight.'

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work