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Is Macbeth evil, weak or a captive of supernatural forces? Analyse Shakespeare's portrayal of Macbeth in Act 1, Scenes 2, 3 and 6, Act 2, Scenes 1 and 2, and Act 4, Scene 1.

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Introduction

Is Macbeth evil, weak or a captive of supernatural forces? Analyse Shakespeare's portrayal of Macbeth in Act 1, Scenes 2, 3 and 6, Act 2, Scenes 1 and 2, and Act 4, Scene 1. In Act 1 Scene 2, Shakespeare's Macbeth is described as a valiant and brave man whom "disdaines Fortune" with his sword that smokes with "bloody execution". These words describe Macbeth as a fierce and courageous man who will kill anyone in his way to get the solution he wants. In the battlefield, Macbeth has "unseamed" a man "from the nave to th' chaps" meaning cutting a man from the naval to the jaws. This shows him as a ferocious, maybe uncontrollable character and may hint at what acts he is capable of later in the play. Earlier in the play, in Act 1 Scene 1, the witches use antithesis to create a mood of good and evil, such as "battle's lost and won", and words such as thunder and lightening create an image of chaos and disorder. Act 1 Scene 3 contains dramatic irony; Macbeth echoes the witches' chant upon his entrance, "So fair and foul a day I have not seen". ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth, "We will proceed no further in this business", and when she accuses him of cowardice he replies, "I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none." By saying that, I think Macbeth is trying to get his wife's full support. Macbeth's next line "If we should fail?" suggests that Macbeth is still full of doubt and is being influenced by his wife. Macbeth thinks he can effectively conceal his intentions, "Away, and mock the time with the fairest show, false face must hide what the false heart doth know." Macbeth also says he will "bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat", meaning he will get every part of himself ready for the murder. This also suggests that Macbeth is fully in command of his reason; his heart is false. In Act 2 Scene 2, after the murder of Duncan, Macbeth meets Lady Macbeth with two bloody daggers and confirms to her that he has "done the deed." Then Lady Macbeth uses the words "owl" and "crickets" which are both associated with death. Following that, there is a quick exchange between them. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is Macduff as a baby who has been ripped from his mother's womb. Macbeth then swears to kill Macduff, "I'll make assurance double sure and take a bond of fate : thou shalt not live". The third apparition from the witches is a "child crowned, with a tree in his hand". This is young Malcolm, Duncan's son, showing that he will become king and that he must beware the trees of Birnam Wood. The witches then present Banquo's descendants as kings and vanish, to Macbeth's anger. Then Lennox enters and has a quick exchange with Macbeth. The quick questions show Macbeth to be an obsessive, paranoid dictator. It also creates a feeling of suspicion between the characters and the idea that there is no going back. Lady Macbeth's evil is shown in her soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 5, "Come to my woman's breasts and take my milk for gall", "and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell". I have sympathy with Macbeth in Act 2 Scene 2, after the murder, and I think Macbeth would not have ever committed such an act if Lady Macbeth were not influencing his actions. His ambition is his flaw and Lady Macbeth exploits that weakness. Gary Smith 10H English Coursework ...read more.

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