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In Macbeth we learn about the difference between a true and gracious king and an ambitious usurper

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Introduction

In Macbeth we learn about the difference between a true and gracious king and an ambitious usurper.' Discuss Shakespeare's Macbeth was set in the time of Edward the Confessor, shortly before the Battle of Hastings. It was wrote, however, when King James I was ruling, and was said that it was even written for him, as he had a fascination with witchcraft. What we now call as the 'Great Chain of Being' was a common belief back then, where God was the supreme ruler, aided by his angels, and that he chose who were to be his representatives on earth, starting with the kings and queens. The order then descended to thanes and nobles, barons and all the way down to peasants, and then on to animals. This was considered almost law, that everyone, no matter how rich or poor, had their place in the order and to try and move up or down would cause chaos, which was exactly what Macbeth tried to do. When Macbeth killed Duncan, he committed regicide and in doing so broke the chain, disrupting the 'Great Chain of Being'. ...read more.

Middle

Even after Duncan has been killed, he is still portrayed as "heavenly" as when Macbeth has murdered Duncan, he says '...wherefore could I not pronounce "Amen"'. I believe that this is a message that the murder was a crime against God himself as by not being able to pronounce "Amen" would show that God was angry with him. After the death of Duncan, Macbeth is the main focus of the play. Whereas Duncan is portrayed as the ideal, almost "angelic" king, Macbeth is described as the complete reverse. However he is starts off good towards at the beginning of the play where he has just fort hard to quell a rebellion against Duncan from the Thane of Cawdor. It is Lady Macbeth who is the one who corrupts Macbeth: 'That I may.../chastise with the valour of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round.' This is an ironical statement as she is using righteous language to describe the crude and blunt ambition she is asking of Macbeth. It is after Macbeth has killed Duncan that he begins to become psychotic and unstable, developing a paranoia that now he has the throne someone is going to take it from him. ...read more.

Conclusion

These points give us an effective view of what Scotland has become. 'New widows howl' and 'new orphans cry' tells us that people, both men and women have died as a result of Macbeth. 'new sorrows strike heaven on the face' means that no good has come from Macbeth replacing Duncan in power, only bad has come from it. Finally, when Malcolm, the rightful heir to the crown of Scotland is preparing to take back the crown with the help of Macduff, Malcolm says: 'Macbeth is ripe for shaking, And the powers above, Put on their instruments' This metaphor conveys that both people on earth and in the heavens want revenge as it says 'powers above' meaning that they are out for revenge. Even when Macbeth is on the brink of defeat, his army outnumbered and even the "trees" seem to be moving against him, Macbeth remains positive and continues fighting to the end. Even though Macbeth is described as a 'tyrant' throughout most of the play, this makes him a kind of "bad hero" as although he himself knows his cause is hopeless, he continues fighting until all is lost. ...read more.

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