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

How does Macbeth's character develop up to the murder of King Duncan?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Macbeth's character develop up to the murder of King Duncan? The story of Macbeth is one of the tragedies written by William Shakespeare. A tragedy was a category of play written by Shakespeare, where by a character of noble birth or a highly regarded figure has a 'fatal flaw', which ultimately results in their own downfall, leading to a catastrophic end. Character development is very important towards the progression of any story, as it helps to absorb the reader, making them want to keep reading, or watching, in the case of Shakespeare's plays. Good character development is shown in the opening act, right at the beginning of the play, during the Witches meeting. Shakespeare shows his craft as a writer, in the way he contrasts our feelings towards Macbeth, even before we have encountered him. At one point, the audience can see Macbeth with great admiration, due to the praise given to him by King Duncan. This, however, contradicts with his reaction to the witches, which makes the spectators feel suspicious of him. In Act 1, Scene 1, the witches talk to each other, upon an open wasteland in Scotland. Shakespeare explains the setting using dialogue to show the current weather, thunder and lightning. In the second line of dialogue, the witches discuss when they will next meet up. The first witch asks "In thunder, lightning or in rain?" By the use of pathetic fallacy, I think that the witches are evil, and corrupt; They want to meet when nature reflects their own personalities. By meeting at this time, the weather's turmoil and chaos relates strengthens their feelings, making them more supernatural, and mysterious. Shakespeare foreshadows events of the future by doing this. The use of the phrase, "When the Hurly-burly's done," shows how the witches aim to create a violent disturbance in the natural law. The equivocation of the paradoxical phrases, "When the battle's lost or won" and "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" makes the reader and Macbeth question the intentions and mind sets of the witches at the time. ...read more.

Middle

This triggers one of the main questions of the play; Do the witches predict the future, or do they change it? Do they suggest possible outcomes to the future, which Macbeth then decides to act on? His leadership qualities are shown in the way he demands to know what the creatures are, instead of being afraid. This is shown by the use of multiple imperative verbs, such as "Speak". As the Scene progresses, we can see that Macbeth's thought process develops, as his aspirations become more obvious. He plans to kill King Duncan, to claim the title of King, which the third witch predicted. This ambition, in the end, leads to his death. Whereas at the beginning of the play he would think on own accord, he no longer does, accepting the prophecies and doing whatever is necessary to fulfil them; Macbeths initial impetus of standing on his own two feet gradually fades, driving him to murder Duncan for the title of King of Scotland. Confusion arises at the fact that the current Thane of Cawdor lives. This is shown through the use of rhetorical questions by Macbeth. The witches leave Banquo and Macbeth alone. As soon as the witches had left, the king's messengers, Ross and Angus, enter. They praise him on his courage and tell him how valiant he is; "Came post to post, and everyone did bear thy praises in his kingdom's great defence, and poured them down before him.", "His wonders and his praises do contend." The messengers then move on to deliver the news that Macbeth has been made Thane of Cawdor, by the wish of the king, as a pledge of his honour; This fulfils the first prophesy. This has elements of dramatic irony included, as the king is adding to the universal praise of Macbeth, even though the Thane of Glamis is plotting to kill him, to take his title as king. ...read more.

Conclusion

This imagery, coupled with the use of enjambment throughout some lines , and monosyllabic words within lines also helps enhance the soliloquy's poetic rhetoric, which makes the speed the lines are read at increase, building tension. Macbeth's morality is lost throughout the lines, and he becomes rationalized. Throughout the scene, he starts to talk about the supernatural, relating to Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. We can also see that Macbeth becomes paranoid. The quotation of, " Thy very stones prate of my whereabouts", shows that he thinks that the stones will betray him, and talk about his intentions, denying him the killing of Duncan. He feels this way, because if he kills the king, Fate will come back to haunt him in the afterlife. Macbeth blames the dagger, and it's purposes for him wanting to kill the king. He takes responsibility away from himself, saying that he has had no choice in the matter; "The bell invites me." In conclusion, I feel that Macbeth goes through lots of different character changes throughout the play, which start of quite simple, but becomes much more complex as the story unfolds. At the start, he is highly regarded, and is known for the brave and loyal feats that he had provided for the king. However, after the meeting with the witch, we immediately notice that the character is not what he seems, as the viewers thoughts about him clash. This is confirmed with the introduction of Lady Macbeth. She is used as a writing tool, which Shakespeare uses to unlock more information about Macbeth, all of which contradict with our initial thoughts and feelings about the character. Coming to the end of Act 1, Scene 2, the audience finally sees what has become of Macbeth; He has turned paranoid, and doesn't trust anyone, even his senses. This play is a good example of how power, greed, and ruthless ambition can corrupt anyone, even the people most trusted and loyal to you. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. macbeth- appearance vs reality

    allowed to say 'Macbeth' or something might happen to the characters on stage. I will now identify and explain the general theme of appearance and reality, which is portrayed throughout the play, Macbeth. There are many people who are not what they seem in reality and can trick the audience into thinking a different way.

  2. Discuss how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth and how her character develops during the play

    'If we should fail?' Both Lady Macbeth and the audience immediately recognise that Macbeth's deepest fear is getting caught: the humiliation and the consequences. She throws back his words 'We fail?'. Her tone is one of incredulity, it wins him over.

  1. How do the Witches in Macbeth Reflect contemporary ideas of witchcraft? Are the Witches ...

    With further analysis you could say that this control implies that Macbeth is a higher 'demonic class' than the witches because he can control them. This makes him even more terrible. "Say, if thou'dst...hear it from our mouthes, Or from our masters'?

  2. How does Shakespeare develop the character of Lady Macbeth?

    "Shalt be" is a command; this shocks the audience because women were not seen to be commanding. Shakespeare does this because at the time it would alarm the audience to see a demanding woman. Lady Macbeth is worried that Macbeth won't kill King Duncan, "yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o' the milk of human kindness."

  1. Imagery Of Appearance and Reality in Macbeth

    Macbeth has given up on life to him it is meaningless. "The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!" Macbeth sees life as just being something to fill the gaps in and that everything leads to death. Life is short and at this moment in time he can see

  2. Explain how Shakespeare uses soliloquies to develop the character of Macbeth.

    He knows that the next prediction is inevitable because of what the witches have said, this scene shows that Macbeth truly has potential for greatness, he is unsure whether the predictions are good or bad, and this is portrayed in his thinking as he questions himself.

  1. How does Shakespeare present Macbeths character before the murder of Duncan?

    The use of this subtlety reminds the reader of scene one, and the negativity thrown over Macbeth's name for being referred to by the witches. Thus resulting in the audience linking Macbeth with the witches. Though Macbeth's character seems to alter after the witches prophecy.

  2. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    The killing of Duncan starts an unstoppable chain of events in the play that ends with the murder of Macbeth and the suicide of Lady Macbeth. Macbeth chooses to murder Duncan. Macbeth, in the beginning had all of the qualities of an honourable gentleman who could become anything.

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