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'Is Macbeth more acting or acted upon?'

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Mohammed Bandali GCSE English Language - Shakespeare 'Is Macbeth more acting or acted upon?' Macbeth first appears to the audience to be a susceptible victim who is swayed by outside forces rather then an evil protagonist from the start. Macbeth is initially portrayed as a brave and loyal knight who is good at heart, and this initial perception would lead one to believe that he could not fulfil his acts of treason without some heavyweight persuasion. However, coming to the end of the play we see his character change into something more of an evil protagonist. We are first introduced to Macbeth when he was returning from a battle in which he was victorious. He is accompanied by Banquo. The impression you are given is that Macbeth is very brave "Speak if you can" Saying this, when approached by the witches, which would have startled any normal man at the time, suggests bravery. We can also see that Macbeth is a modest person after his reaction to being named Thane of Cawdor by the witches, "I know I am Thane of Glamis, but how of Cawdor?" ...read more.


He also tries to back out by saying that he is his "Kingman and subject" and that Duncan is a good king, this shows Macbeths unwillingness to commit any evil. Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth by trying to make him feel guilty, "From this time, such I account thy love" Saying that if he doesn't do it then he obviously doesn't love her showing that Macbeth was acted by an outside force to guilt him into committing evil. She also tries to convince him to fulfil his dream by calling him a "coward" which at the time period 'Macbeth' is set in would be a blow to the his pride and would of pushed him into killing Duncan. After Macbeth kills Duncan he feels guilty and scared, he hears a voice in his head saying "Sleep no more, Macbeth murder sleep" He is hearing voices and feels he has destroyed his own sleep showing that he is scared of what he has done, "I am afraid to think what I have done - look on't again, I dare not" He regrets doing it and puts what he has done out of his head he's weak ...read more.


The witches then deliver their second set of prophecies which state that no man born of a woman can kill him and not to be afraid until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane. The effect this has on Macbeth is to make him feel over confident which would make his downfall. The prophecy makes him feels immortal and untouchable. This proves that Macbeth actions are mainly pushed by the witches' prophecies and that he is acted upon by outside forces. Overall, upon examining the evidence, I found that his actions were pushed by the prophecies of the witches and the malicious intent of his wife to be queen. I've come to the conclusion that Macbeths life would not have prematurely ended if the witches had not told him of the prophesies. He would have let his future go on with no temptations to gain the title of king, nor would he have killed Duncan without the persuasion of his wife. Though one could argue that some decisions, such as the murder of Banquo, could be a result of Macbeth's greed for maintaining the crown ...read more.

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