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I will be writing about the way I feel towards the character of Macbeth throughout the play and the way in which he changes.

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Introduction

"Macbeth" is one of Shakespeare's four great tragedies, which contain witchcraft, treason, and bloody murder. In the following essay, I will be writing about the way I feel towards the character of Macbeth throughout the play and the way in which he changes. Does Shakespeare present him in such a way that we can to some extent understand, even feel for this "disloyal, self seeking murderer" or can we relate to Malcolm's description of him as "the dead butcher?" Our views on Macbeth change throughout the play because Shakespeare portrays him in many different ways. At the beginning of the play he is seen as a brave soldier, at the top of his profession and rewarded by King Duncan of Scotland. He is spoken about as "Brave Macbeth" and "Worthy gentlemen" after his heroism in battle, only to later become cruel and unjust. He had defeated the Norwegians and on his way home meets three witches. The audience in Shakespeare's time believed in witches and their sinister side, leaving the audience sceptical when Macbeth communicates with them, leading us to believe he is connected with evil. The witches then give Macbeth three predictions: "All hail Macbeth! Hail to the thane of Glamis! All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee thane of Cawdor! All hail Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter." Macbeth is already thane of Glamis but chooses not to believe the witches because he feels that the Thane of Cawdor is alive. Soon after some messengers come and deliver, the news to Macbeth that he has been granted the thaneship of due to a treasonous crime committed on the Thane of Cawdor's behalf. ...read more.

Middle

This is also the wrong step because it raises Macbeth above all the other lords. Duncan praises Macbeth for his bravery at war, consequently making the other lords envious of Macbeth, and raising Macbeth's ego. These three influences, the witches, Lady Macbeth and Duncan contribute significantly to Macbeth's change in character throughout the play. The story unfolds as follows: The first time we hear about Macbeth is when the witches mention his name. This would make the audience feel uneasy and they would wonder why Macbeth is associated with evil. Their minds are then put at rest when the captain refers to him as "Brave Macbeth". Macbeth is portrayed as a hero. He defeats the Norwegians and is rewarded with the thaneship of Cawdor so the audience admires him. They think that he is a loyal and worthy subject to the king. Then the witches meet with Macbeth; the audience would begin to have doubts about his loyalty when he starts contemplating about murdering the king. Macbeth then admits " If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir." This emphasises that he is still unsure about having to murder King Duncan and at this point feels that if the witches have predicted it then fate will make him king without him having to do anything. King Duncan then names his son Malcolm as heir with Macbeth realising that he cannot become king unless he does something about it, "That is a step On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap." Macbeth thinks a great deal about murdering the king and reasons for it and in his soliloquies the audience would see his thoughts and begin to feel sorry for him because his ambition is so strong that it is having a psychological effect on him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macduff confronts Macbeth and Macbeth is not very fearful of him because of the witches' apparition. He says to Macduff: " With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed: Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests, I bear a charmed life, which must not yield To one of woman born." Macduff then replies saying that he was not of woman born; he was from his mother's womb " Untimely ripped" Macbeth now knows that Macduff is going to kill him but he shows a last bit of courage and he fights on. The audience cannot feel admiration for Macbeth because of what he has done only sympathy because he has noting left, and he knows it. Macduff then kills Macbeth and hails Malcolm as King. At the end of the play, we see Macbeth a respected hero turned into a vengeful villain through unreasonable ambition, with the influences of people around him. He commits regicide, murder, and vengeful slaughter. After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth is horrified to think of what he has done. Shakespeare contrasts Macbeth and his wife in their attitudes of the murder. Lady Macbeth is bold and confident, because she does, not understand that the deed is morally wrong: he only concern is to destroy the evidence. Macbeth, on the other hand, awakens to a consciousness of guilt that will remain with him until his death. At times, Shakespeare encourages the audience to feel sympathy and understanding for Macbeth but at times all that the audience can feel for Macbeth is horror, anger, disgust, and contempt, although at the end of the play he shows tremendous character when facing certain death. ...read more.

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