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

How does Shakespeare manipulate the audience’s view of Macbeth?

Extracts from this document...


Alex Cresswell 10-01 How does Shakespeare manipulate the audience's view of Macbeth? This depends on the audience, and their interpretation of a hero. Exactly what constitutes a hero has no doubt changed since 1600, although some of the core elements have remained the same. For example, in Shakespeare's time, a hero had to be - without exception - male. This, although perhaps not strictly true today - due to sexism issues - is usually the case with fictional modern day heroes. Macbeth's character can be interpreted in different ways, giving directors complete freedom when deciding how to portray the character. Shakespeare attempts to manipulate the audience into seeing Macbeth as a Machiavellian hero, although Macbeth's character sometimes echoes a Greek tragic hero - his ambition being his downfall. Shakespeare has used imagery to get across the true feelings or personality of the characters or setting that it relates to. In Act 1 Sc 2, the Captain makes many references to nature, such as "Yes, as sparrows eagles; or the hare the lion." He is comparing the relationships between different animals to the present situation on the battlefield, to hammer the true meaning of the scene across to the audience. ...read more.


Shakespeare deliberately creates a contrast between the nature of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth himself. At the beginning of the play, she is the strong-willed, ambitious person. It is Macbeth who is weak and uncertain. Shakespeare shows us throughout the play how her character is affected by the murders of Duncan and Banquo so that she goes mad and commits suicide. This helps to humanise her slightly, as up to now she has shown little emotion, as well as distracting the audience from the fact that she is even more evil than Macbeth. Another way in which Shakespeare highlights the fact that Macbeth was driven to evil through his ambitions, is by the use of other characters in the play, such as Banquo. Banquo is much like Macbeth at the start of the play - a brave and loyal soldier, and he too is given a prophecy by the witches. Unlike Macbeth, he recognises that the witches are evil, and manages to resist these temptations. Shakespeare is showing us, through the use of Banquo, how Macbeth should have reacted, in order for the audience to compare the two characters, Banquo and Macbeth. ...read more.


A hero today is someone who rescues a child from a burning building, not a merciless soldier who slices people from the groin upwards. Society was generally more brutal in 1600 than today, so what we might consider to be evil nowadays was most likely overlooked back then. Shakespeare simply looked at how society then pictured a hero, and gave them a hero, in the form of Macbeth. Society may have changed, as well as our personal views, but our basic human morals will always remain the same and that is what Shakespeare has taken into account when writing Macbeth. He knows that we know 'it is wrong to kill the King', and has twisted this idea to such an extent, that even the most moral-driven audience can sympathise with Macbeth. The aim of Macbeth is to portray the idea that a good man can be driven to evil by his ambitions, and, due to Shakespeare's clever manipulation techniques, it succeeds, in the sense that we can identify with Macbeth, even though he is a cold-blooded killer. Macbeth can be approached from many different angles, depending on your viewpoint, and that is what has contributed to its success as a play, as well as a piece of expertly crafted moralistic storytelling. ...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
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work