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How has Shakespeare used key speeches to show Macbeth’s flawed and changing character? Is it possible to class him as a villain or a hero?

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Introduction

How has Shakespeare used key speeches to show Macbeth's flawed and changing character? Is it possible to class him as a villain or a hero? Targets: 1. Character: To show insight into the play and its characters. In particular, to show that you can analyse the motivation of a character. 2. Historical Context: To show insight into the beliefs of the time and how they affected the way that characters were viewed by an Elizabethan audience. 3. Language: To show understanding of how language can be used by a playwright to reveal a character and create a mood. Macbeth is a character in the play that turns from a hero to a villain. He is seen as a hero as he is winning battles for Scotland. He is then seen as a villain later in the play as firstly he murders the king, then he finds it easy to get others he dislikes murdered. The definition of a villain is a person who is evil and does offensive things including murdering. The definition of a hero is a man who has done courageous actions. Also, it can mean that you are the main character in a play or a novel. At the start of the play, Macbeth fits both of these descriptions. This play is made a tragedy as the main character, Macbeth, turns from good to evil and kills the king. Also because he gets murdered himself at the end. As this is a play to be seen on stage, the soliloquies are essential. This is because if the character is imaging things, the audience cannot see, and would probably not understand what is going on. This is why the character has to say them out aloud. In a film, for example, you would not need to do that because of the special effects you can do with the cameras. In a novel, the author would put the speech in speech marks and then write 'he thought.' ...read more.

Middle

(Lines 7-8) He uses 'we' instead of 'I' in the speech. This suggests that may be he is referring to Lady Macbeth as well as himself. This could also show that, as he is including Lady Macbeth, he must be under a lot of pressure from her. She could be the one who gives him the last little push to commit the murder. The audience would feel that Macbeth is weak as he cannot control himself and is giving in to his wife's commands. Macbeth realises that after going through his reasons for the murder, that his only real reason is "vaulting ambition" which will make him jump too far and fall on the other side. His ambition is more likely to do him bad instead of good. In Act 2 Scene 1, Macbeth is not talking to himself, but to a dagger, which he is hallucinating. This shows that he has changed in his personality as well as in his mind. He imagines that the dagger is leading him towards Duncan's room; "Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?" (Lines 33-34) The first sentence of this soliloquy and Macbeth is already asking questions. He goes on to ask another question; "Or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?" (Lines 37-39) Macbeth can again be seen as inquisitive but also confused as he was in Act 1 Scene 3. But he has changed from then, as he is aware that he is under stress and that he is possibly talking to an invisible object. The audience would feel sorry for Macbeth as they can see he is under pressure from the witches' prophecy, his wife persuading him and his own state of mind. The audience of that time would probably see it as a flaw as even though witchcraft was greatly practised, everyone knew that it was evil and only caused trouble. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth can be seen flawed as early as Act 1 Scene 3 as he is afraid and asking himself questions but has no answers. This can also make Macbeth inquisitive but he becomes agitated and cannot stay calm. The audience goes through different feelings for Macbeth as firstly they feel sympathy for him because he is confused and fearful at the beginning. They then progress to feel less sorry for him as he allows the witches' predictions to over rule his mind by the end of Act 2. Also because Macbeth kills King Duncan and then goes on to kill his closest and loyal friend, Banquo. The audience hardly feels any sympathy for Macbeth by the end of the play as they have seen how easy he finds it to murder and do evil instead of becoming an admirable and trustworthy king like Duncan was. I feel that Shakespeare has been quite successful in creating a character that changes from being a hero to being a villain. He used different lengths of sentences, alliteration and commonly used personification to describe Macbeth changing. Different tones are used throughout the play to show this as well. I think that Macbeth can no longer be called a hero by the end of Act 2 as he has killed the King so he can become king instead of Duncan's son. His main turning point into a villain, I would say is when Macbeth hallucinates a dagger in Act 2 Scene 1, pointing to the king's room. I think the witches', Lady Macbeth and his own mind has caused Macbeth to change. The witches' gave him the first idea by giving the predictions that he would become King. Lady Macbeth, I think, is the main cause for Macbeth's downfall as she pressurises him to go ahead with the murder and helps him to blame the guards. When Lady Macbeth dies, Macbeth just gives up and this is when we can definitely see that Macbeth is flawed and can be classed as a villain. Sofia Tahir. ...read more.

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