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How does the audiences sympathy for Macbeth change during the course of the play? How might a director influence the audiences response?

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Introduction

How does the audiences sympathy for Macbeth change during the course of the play? How might a director influence the audiences response? With Macbeth being a tragic character 'Macbeth' the play tries to show however great and honoured a person is they can still be corrupted by evil and the greater the person the bigger the tragedy because it effects more people. In the case of Macbeth it is power and riches that persuade him to become evil because he thinks that to be a King would be great and magnificent without consequence. Macbeth is turned evil in the play because he allows himself to be corrupted. Banquo although promised heirs to the throne by the witches and also most probably wants to believe them would never act because he would be acting how evil would want him to. During the play we see that Macbeth and Banquo are entirely different because once Macbeth has embraced evil he can't go back but Banquo has nothing to hide because he is an honest and true man. The witches are despised and feared in the play because they are made by Shakespeare to be unnatural and out of God's order which to a Jacobean audience would make them evil. Lady Macbeth is also seen as evil, certainly at the start of the play because she plots to kill the King and steal the Throne. She also persuades Macbeth to commit the murder. She calls upon darkness to hide her womanly feelings, "fill me from crown to the toe top - full // Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, // stop up th'access and passage to remorse." Lady Macbeth is shown to be an evil person at this moment in fact more of a witch but Macbeth isn't which is a great skill used by Shakespeare. Macbeth is a tragic character. We can see that he is greatly influenced by the witches and his wife in choosing his path but ultimately he makes his own decisions and what makes him decide to kill Duncan is his own great and burning ambition. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth looks down on the murderers as if they are dogs, one of the murderers says to Macbeth, "We are men my Liege." Macbeth replies, "Ay in the catalogue you go for men, // As hounds, and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, // Sloughs, water rugs and demi - wolves are clept // all by the name of dogs." We have now seen a more malicious side to Macbeth which is wild and uncaring and we can't see that he has any need for it, except out of spite. Macbeth is gradually changing colder and harder and doesn't seem to care about anybody but himself, not even his wife. Once Macbeth realises that Banquo has been killed but Fleance hasn't, he feels the fear again that he isn't safe, he believes that he will lose the throne and he will have taken it for nothing. He says upon hearing the news, " now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in // To saucy doubts and fears." Shakespeare now makes it clear that Macbeth is suffering from his actions, his fear has led to him having a lack of sleep and he is going mad although he appears to be hardened to his feelings before the murder. Macbeth sees Banquo sat in his chair and he is clearly a hallucination because we all know that her is dead and not present at the feast. We are made to feel sympathetic to Macbeth because we realise that he isn't getting enjoyment out of committing murderers and organising them, and the worry of being found out is taxing him greatly. He has run out of options except to fight for his throne and but at the same time can't stop the guilt. Whatever he does he can't win making us feel the tragedy in his life. The ghost was very important to the Jacobean audience because they were supernatural and evil and therefore feared more than anything else other than the devil. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth confident in himself tells Macduff he can't kill him because he was born naturally by a woman. It is important however that Macduff was born through a caesarean operation. This disheartens Macbeth so greatly that he refuses to fight. Macduff calls him a coward and tells Macbeth that he will be preserved as a tyrant and used as a fair - ground attraction. Macbeth would never accept to this and would rather die with his dignity in tact. He fights on and is killed. At the end we should think that Macbeth deserved all that he got after all the crimes he has committed and all the suffering that he has inflicted on Scotland. Shakespeare doesn't make us feel like this however because he allows us into the head and feelings that Macbeth has. Through this we can see that at his heart he had the potential to be a great man. Not only this but he always held onto his dignity throughout 'Macbeth' and didn't try to blame or discredit anybody else but himself. This is important because we realise that Macbeth new that he had only his own ambitious self to blame for his down - fall. Also at the beginning he hadn't known that killing Duncan would effect all of Scotland so badly and didn't know that he would have to commit other murders to try and secure the throne. He would not have taken the opportunity either if he had known the consequences, especially because he didn't get any enjoyment out of the murders and all that they brought him was sleeplessness and discomfort. This was apparent from the first murder when Macbeth thought one of the King's guards had shouted in his sleep, "Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor // Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more." We therefore can't help but understand the situation Macbeth was in but he had taken his own choices which made such tragic consequences for everybody in the play. It is only because we understand and can sympathise with Macbeth's actions that 'Macbeth' works as a tragedy. ...read more.

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