• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11

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?

Extracts from this document...


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.


(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.


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.

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. Marked by a teacher

    Commentary on Macbeth soliloquy Act V scene V"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,Creeps in this ...

    4 star(s)

    Macbeth's failure to respond to Lady Macbeth's cry shows to the reader that Macbeth's sense and emotion have become numb, as Macbeth says himself he no longer feels the "taste of fear." The most probable cause that triggered the sudden outpour of grief and desolation by Macbeth can be attributed

  2. Lady Macbeth’s Diary.

    September X111-Sunrise Dear diary, As the ringing of the bell entered my head I knew there was no going back. I waited at the bottom of the stairs to meet with Macbeth, to confirm the deed was done. As Macbeth approached me I saw the blood of Duncan drip from his hand.

  1. Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil?

    She prepares quickly telling Macbeth to leave it all to her, also she rather cruelly remarks "O never shall sun that morrow see" referring to that fact that if all goes to plan, King Duncan shall never see another morning again.

  2. Was Macbeth a Hero or Villain?

    His actions show his conscience is playing up on him and that he is feeling guilty for what he has done. Macbeth is so deeply involved that he cannot risk getting out. Toward the end of the play Macbeth is very disturbed and upset. He cannot sleep peacefully at night.

  1. How and why does Macbeth change from hero to villain?

    Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like Valour's minion carved out his passage, Till he faced the slave; Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops, And fixed his head upon our battlements.'

  2. 'Macbeth' gives us a classic example of the literary definition of a 'tragic hero'. ...

    The 'suffering country' is Scotland, and it is under the cursed hand of Macbeth, whom it is felt must be disposed of. What Lennox says is representative of what many other characters think of Macbeth. Scotland has become the battleground for the fight of good versus evil.

  1. Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

    Banquo's reply is "can the devil speak true?" This indicates that Banquo has recognised that the "weird sisters" are not of good but evil. Macbeth however, is more willing to believe the witches. He asks Banquo if he does not want his children to be kings, just as they promised

  2. Macbeth - Hero or Villain

    At this point of the play the audience can note the change in Macbeth's character. Macbeth's first murder was a trying experience for him, however after the first murder; killing seemed to be the only solution to maintain his reign of the people of Scotland.

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