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How does the character of Macbeth develop throughout the play?

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Introduction

How does the character of Macbeth develop throughout the play? Use the timelines to remind yourself about the key events of the play. We focus first on Macbeth's changing thoughts and feelings up till the banquet and then move on to the aftermath. We have chosen quotations to support the points made, but try to find other examples yourself to use in your essays. 1. The witches (Act 1, Scene 3) - Why do the witches' prophecies have so much power over Macbeth? 2. Before the murder (Act 1, Scene 7) - Did Macbeth really want to kill Duncan? 3. The morning after the murder (Act 2, Scene 3)-What state of mind is Macbeth in after the murder? 4. The banquet (Act 3, Scene 4)- Why is Macbeth so tense and anxious as he enters the banquet? ...read more.

Middle

(I, iii) Macbeth is excited by the witches' words, but when he receives news that he is now Thane of Cawdor, he has proof that they know the future and he begins to believe them. Macbeth is essentially a vulnerable person: '...why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature?' (I, iii) The witches choose the right time and place to approach him. He is full of the glory of the recent battle and fresh from fighting and killing. Before the murder (Act 1, Scene 7) - Did Macbeth really want to kill Duncan? Look at these pieces of evidence to show that Macbeth was acting of his own free will. His excuses show that he does still really want the crown. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fear and shock: 'Twas a rough night.' (II, iii) At the start of the scene, Macbeth is tense and edgy. He is trapped between the door and Lennox's speech, and seems unable to say more than brief, formal statements. Guilt and regret for the murder: 'Had I but died an hour before this chance I had lived a blessed time.' (II, iii) Some of his words suggest he is feeling these emotions. How does the character of Macbeth develop throughout the play? Use the timeline to remind yourself about the key events of the play and Macbeth's changing thoughts and feelings, before working through some important questions about Macbeth's character. We have chosen quotations to support the points made, but try to find other examples yourself to use in your essays. Look at how quickly Macbeth goes from being a loyal, faithful subject and husband to a vicious, desperate tyrant. ...read more.

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