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Impressions of macbeth?

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Introduction

Impressions of macbeth? The first two acts of the play Macbeth are probably the most crucial; they set the scene, introduce the characters and, with the bloody murder of Duncan, give us a taste of the horror to come. For the person Macbeth, the first two acts are equally as important and significant. We, as the audience, gain many insights into his thoughts and feelings through his powerful soliloquies; we see his fear, excitement and temptation when the witches inform him of their prophecy, we see this initial reaction buckle under the strains of his anxiety. We see him bullied and eventually dominated by his manipulating wife, and then we witness him succumb to his all-consuming greed and ambition that will eventually lead to his ruin and death. Within the first two acts we see many different dimensions to Macbeth's character, and then we see these dimensions begin to alter and change. We gain three main impressions of Macbeth from the first two acts. The first is that he is portrayed as the ultimate fighting machine: noble, valiant, brave and worthy. He is almost a god- like hero, and it is impressed upon us the love, respect and admiration he consequently gains from his fellow soldiers, noblemen, and even the King. The second impression of him that we gain is of his greed, ambition and pride. These character traits are awakened when the witches herald their prophecy. At first he is prepared to do anything to get the crown, and he has dark thoughts about killing Duncan. But his resolve soon gives way to his inner fears, and this brings in the third impression we get of Macbeth. He is weak, which is ironic because his physical strength as a warrior is much celebrated. He is first weak when he gives in to his temptation and decides to murder the good King Duncan to further himself. ...read more.

Middle

From this speech we get the impression that Macbeth is over-compensating for his plans to kill Duncan by being overly humble, dutiful and good. Later Duncan reveals he has made his son Malcolm his heir to the throne and has given him the title Prince of Cumberland. Then he says that they should all go to Macbeth's castle at Inverness. The naming of Malcolm as heir is another obstacle for Macbeth in the way of the crown, as Macbeth himself owns during another soliloquy. Macbeth says to himself, 'The Prince of Cumberland- that is a step, on which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, for in my way it lies.' From this we understand that Macbeth has determined to try to get the crown and from what he says next, it is obvious that the apparent hindrance of Malcolm has awakened in Macbeth his evil longings, ambition and greed; 'Stars hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires.' This also shows that while he knows that the deed is evil and while he is ashamed of doing it, he will not be diverted from his purpose by anything. This shows a determination and strength of mind that we have not seen before and may not see again. At the beginning of scene five, Lady Macbeth is reading a letter sent to her by her husband. It is informing her of the prophecy of the witches, and how one element of it has come true. The fact that Macbeth has written his wife a letter informing her of these happenings shows how much he loves and respects her, and sees her as his equal. This is very unusual, because at this time the wife was greatly inferior to her husband and didn't have any power at all. Her husband was her lord and master. This unnatural equality has probably derived from Macbeth's mental weakness and his wife's dominating strength. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is significant because Macbeth does not sleep throughout the rest of the play. Then Lady Macbeth realises that Macbeth has bought the daggers with him when he was meant to leave them with the drugged guards. This gives us the impression that Macbeth is stupid as well as weak, and through him the plan might fail. Lady Macbeth orders him to take the daggers back, but Macbeth refuses. She scorns him and goes herself. After she leaves, the knocking continues, and Macbeth continues about the blood on his hands. The impression we get from all Macbeth's talking is that he is weak and dense, nearly costing them the plan by removing the daggers, and then refusing to take them back again: 'I'll go no more.I am afraid to think what I have done. Look on't again I dare not.' In scene three, Lennox and Macduff arrive to wake the king, but obviously find him dead. The over-the-top speeches that Macbeth comes out with indicate his poor acting skills, his inability to handle the stress of and behave appropriately during a difficult and awkward time, and his emotional and mental immaturity and ineptness, as well as his lack of fortitude. Lady Macbeth is forced to faint to draw the attention away from Macbeth, who is threatening to give it away. The whole of Macbeth's behaviour since he murdered Duncan seemed to be contrived to make people suspicious and Lady Macbeth furious. Macbeth is feeble and stupid, almost to the extent that his inappropriate ramblings are made comical. The impressions we get of Macbeth from the first two acts of the play are clear. As a soldier he is bold, brave, noble and heroic, and much loved and esteemed as a consequence. As a man who has been promised the crown, he is ambitious, greedy, insincere and insatiable, and as a husband and murderer, he is weak, feeble, and easily manipulated and influenced. You cannot fail to get these impressions of Macbeth, but through the succeeding three acts we see how this portrayal develops and eventually leads to his downfall. ...read more.

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