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How Shakespeare dramatises Macbeths decision to commit regicide in the scenes preceding and immediately following Duncans murder.

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Introduction

How Shakespeare dramatises Macbeth's decision to commit regicide in the scenes preceding and immediately following Duncan's murder. The depths of the human mind are explored through Macbeth, the mental state of the protagonist fluctuates dramatically, and this is to provide a construct that symbolises greater truths about the human mind. He often has conflicting thoughts with which Shakespeare demonstrates his inner conflicts. As with many Shakespearian tragedies the central character has a fatal flaw, although Macbeth appears to have several. He is a man with a lot of desires but he lacks character to fully realise his ambitions. Macbeth may be irredeemably evil, but his human nature separates him from Shakespeare's other villains such as Iago in Othello or Edmund in King Lear who all have the strength to overcome guilt and insecurity. Even though he seems courageous in the battlefield, mentally cannot deal with the mental anguish of sin. This lack of character breeds a 'volatile cocktail' of personas: Macbeth becomes violent, paranoid and insecure. As the play opens we hear only of "Bellona's bridegroom" from a kinsman, deifying Macbeth as the archetypal war hero. Bellona was the goddess of war so therefore Macbeth was so immensely great in the battle that the kinsman must deem fit to compare him to a god. This makes Macbeth seem enigmatic as the kinsman only vaguely describes him and we know relatively nothing about his nature, anything can be distinguished from it. But this may not be that case we might also be hinted about his flaws in the same scene, since the protagonist is said to have "unseamed him from the knave to th'chaps" this may show his bloodthirstiness to come or being brutal enough to disembowel someone on a battlefield this may show some major psychological issues that Macbeth has, but while still keeping his disposition shrouded in secrecy. This saying may have been used by Shakespeare to shock the audience and to show how gory that time was; a tone setter for much more to come in the play. ...read more.

Middle

Every time the opportunity arises Lady Macbeth insists that he is less of a man for having emotional reservations over murder. Believing that "thy mettle should compose nothing but males" Macbeth is forced to "dare do all that may become a man." The alliteration of 'm' sounds adds to the forcefulness of her insults, provoking Macbeth's desire to do anything to attain the throne. In Macbeth's first soliloquy we see what Macbeth usually is thinking. He is mainly thinking about the consequences and that "this blow might be the be all and end all here". This could be perceived in many ways; suggesting that once he has done this, the fateful die would have been cast and he can never go retract his sin. It may also have religious connotations as Macbeth notes hopefully, "We'd jump the life to come." This suggests that he's thinking about the afterlife and that he fears God's judgement via "the deep damnation of his taking off". Also he thinks that redemption in his life would come to him and that somehow the universe would, "commend th'ingredience of our poisoned chalice to our own lips". The imagery of the chalice denotes his enoblement to thane of Cwardor, being a "poisoned chalice". It may even refer to the witches' revelation being like drinking poison. It definitely is showing his apprehension about killing the king and even his regret of committing so many sins. Then the second soliloquy is about him talking himself out of killing the king while exploring his inner conflict. By the end of the soliloquy he has effectively talked himself out of the murder. This shows how he lacks the 'mettle' to actually carry out the "deed". He is beginning to "lose it", contemplating doing it even though he is adamant about "proceeding no further in this business" and then completely talks himself out of it, this is typical of how two ideas in Macbeth's mind clash in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is showing that Macbeth now fully realises that he has committed murder of the highest treachery and sacrilege and because of this he wants to completely remove himself from his body. Possibly in order to become more inhuman to withstand trials like these and to become more suited to his upcoming tribulations. All of his uncertainties are revealed now because Lady Macbeth has no more reason to coerce her husband, and throughout his persona is collapsing. After all of this Shakespeare supplies some perspective for his audience in the form of the porter. His drunken ramblings relive the audience and lull them into a false sense of security, that because there is comedy, tragedy is avoided. His soliloquies still set a tone to the play and after the murder of the king he assumes the fa´┐Żade of a, "porter of hell-gate" this is adding to the effect of the murder by reminding the audience this is where Macbeth is headed once he is dead. The gate of hell is signifying the path of the storyline, the story has now descended into madness, and the porter's word seems to be the only ones that actually make sense. He says," Faith, here's an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven." This equivocator is an embodiment of the witches and how they speak in nuances to fool their visitors. Therefore, "could not equivocate to heaven" may mean that the witches could not fool someone untainted but, without god's divine protection, Macbeth is lead by the witches straight to the gates of hell. In the scenes leading up to and immediately following Duncan's murder we see a mental decay. Shakespeare is teaching the difference between kingship and tyranny, by showing that tyranny always ends in depression and anguish. A conversation between MacDuff and Malcolm clearly portrays this message that no matter how much power one desires a love for their people and country will always guard against tyranny. ...read more.

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