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Examine the many sides to Macbeth's Character which are revealed in the play.

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Introduction

Matthew McGuire 10L Macbeth: Man or Monster? Examine the many sides to Macbeth's Character which are revealed in the play. Throughout the play we see several different sides of Macbeth's character. At the beginning we hear of Macbeth, a valiant war hero who, after defeating the traitor Macdonwald, fearlessly charged into battle a second time against the Norwegian King. Yet by the end of the play we will can see an evil side to Macbeth who overthrows the king he had fought to protect and destroys the balance of nature and the meaning of friendship in his country. Macbeth has a multi-faceted character. He has evil sides and he has honourable sides. During the first two acts we see Macbeth as "brave Macbeth" who has crushed the enemies of the king. He is also the Macbeth who is loyal to Duncan King of Scotland and who, when approached by three witches that say: "All Hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!/ All hail Macbeth, hail thee, Thane of Cawdor/ All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!" Three witches Act 1 Scene 3 Ll. 48-50 Reacts with Shock and disgust. We find this out through Banquo who asks him "Good sir why do you start, and seem to fear/ Things that sound so fair?". Macbeth cannot believe that anyone would say that he could be king because it just wasn't a possibility without murder. And to murder a king was an unforgivable sin in the time this play was written. The king was believed to have been appointed by God, so a crime against him was a crime against God. ...read more.

Middle

As the act progresses we discover that Macbeth is at least considering the possibility of murdering the king. He first shows us this in his soliloquies in which he is talking directly to the audience. They are an insight into Macbeth's mind. They first appear at the end of Act 1 Scene 3 when he begins to tell the audience that he is considering to plot and carry out the murder of the king: "Two Truths are told/ As happy prologues to the swelling act/ Of the imperial theme." Macbeth Act1 Scene3 Ll.127 - 129 Macbeth is saying that the first two prophecies of the witches have come true so perhaps the third might as well. When Macbeth is in the court with the king and he pronounces that his son Malcolm is to become the Prince of Cumberland, and so the heir to the throne Macbeth begins to think that Malcolm may now be in the way: "The Prince of Cumberland - that is a step,/ On which I must fall down, or o'erleap" Macbeth Act 1 Scene 4 Ll.48 and 49 Macbeth is saying that he must either remove Malcolm from the equation or forget his hopes of becoming king forever. This shows that he is ruthless and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals, it shows that Macbeth has become more monster than man. By Act 3 Scene 2 Macbeth has killed Duncan and has begun his descent into total evil and anarchy. He talks of a plan that he has devolped to get rid of Banquo and his son Fleance, as the witches prophesied that Banquo's line would take the throne and not Macbeths. ...read more.

Conclusion

Loyalty to the true king and the state is shown as good, rebellion against it as bad. Sleep becomes a much discussed theme in the play, it is described as a gift from nature and the ability to sleep well is connected with innocence. After he has murdered Duncan, Macbeth says that he has "murdered sleep" through what he has done and he is tortured by nightmares. Lady Macbeth walks in her sleep and repeatedly acts out the murder of Duncan. Macbeth is continually aware of time. Before Duncan's murder he speaks of being "upon this banked shoal of time" - between the past and the future - "jumping the life to come" and escaping retribution. The midnight bell is the cue for Duncan's death. The future, with the question of the royal succession, obsesses him. He plots the murder of Lady Macduff with "time thou anticipat'st my dread exploits." When Lady Macbeth dies, he says: She should have died hereafter" and contemplates the empty future stretching away with "tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..." Throughout the play Macbeth is both Man and Monster. At the beginning he is a great and honoured man, respected by the king and all others. Yet as the plot progresses Macbeth recedes further into the depths of becoming a Monster. He plots and executes a plan to murder the king, and then he kills his best friend. He also savagely murders a women and her child. Macbeth is clearly not a man but a monster who is not to be trusted. In life Macbeth was a Monster who devoured all in his way, but in death he became a man dying as valiantly as his story had begun, on the battle field. ...read more.

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