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How and why does Macbeth change from hero to villain?

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Introduction

How and why does Macbeth change from hero to villain? Shakespeare wrote 'Macbeth' in the 1600s during the reign of King James I .James became patron of the Lord Chamberlains men renaming those 'The King's men'. Macbeth was probably first performed in August 1606 at the kings court to mark the visit of James's brother-in-law King Christian of Denmark. The material for Macbeth was drawn from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577), based on writings on an earlier historian, Hector Boece. Shakespeare made a number of alterations to Holinshed, for example, he changed the time scale and also he reversed the characters of Macbeth and Duncan, he also took inspirations from other periods of Scottish history such as the drugging of the guards.. We can see that numerous aspects of the play were intended to gratify the King. For example, the character of Banquo, the root of the Stuart family tree, is shown positively, conceivably to please the king who was in fact a Stuart. Also the supernatural in the form of the witches is included as the king had recently published a book on witches called Demonology in 1597 which included how to detect them. Furthermore Shakespeare made a number of exceptions from the historical story in order to please the noble audience such as Banquos knows nothing of the plot to kill Duncan also no mention is made of the Danes who reinforce Sweno's army. ...read more.

Middle

4.136-138. At the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth appears as a kind wife of Macbeth's but underneath lies a scheming and treacherous woman. Lady Macbeth who as in turn been overwhelmed with greed and ambition makes an attack on Macbeth's manhood, 'What beast was' then That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man;' 1.7.47-49 Macbeth still has a conscience at this stage because he is very hesitant about killing the King but his weak nature over comes him. This shows us that it is also Lady Macbeth's ambition that is causing Macbeths character to transform. He has a conscience throughout the entire play as this is seen by the hallucinations of the dagger and the ghost of Banquo and his vivid imagination and his constant worry also provokes him. This is also evident in his terrible dreams which give the solid theme that he has indeed "murdered sleep". 2.2.33 Although these factors may influence him Macbeth also shows his cold-heartedness by setting up the murder of Banquo he ensures the death of Lady Macduff 'It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul's flight, if it find in heaven, must find it out tonight.' 3.1.141-142. Throughout the play there are a number of ideas and themes most notably these include nemesis, evil and blood, ambition, sleep, love, loyalty, courage, order and manhood. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth is also haunted in his sleep as he has 'terrible dreams that shake us nightly' which shows although he is trying to forget through his sleep he cannot for his evil deeds are coming back to haunt him. Through the play Macbeth and his wife's love for each other deteriorate at the start they greet each other 'Great Galmis, worthy Cawdor.....' 'My dearest love...' Which show their love for each other but near to Lady Macbeth's death they are hardly speaking in this tone. Disloyalty and treachery are also a theme because after Macbeth was disloyal to the king he got what he deserved through the forces of good. Because Macbeth an Lady Macbeth are haunted by the fact that treachery may dethrone them Macbeth orders the death of Banquo here again is deceit and disloyalty and because of this Macbeths subjects flee leaving him with untrustworthy subjects. The language used by Shakespeare in the character of Macbeth or to describe him is In conclusion Macbeths change from hero to villain encapsulated in his first act of murder, King Duncan. There are a number of factors which urge Macbeth to become a traitor, murderer and liar. The witches, Lady Macbeth, his own greed and ambition are all factors as it is the witches that make Macbeth feel that he can be king and it is also Lady Macbeth who convinces him to murder the king but after this it his won greed and ambition that make him kill his friends and their families. ...read more.

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