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Is Macbeth portrayed as a hero or villain in the play?

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Introduction

Is Macbeth portrayed as a hero or villain in the play? 1) Most people believe that Shakespeare wrote 'Macbeth' to impress James 1st who was at this time the patron of Shakespeare's theatre group. This is probably true, and James most likely would have enjoyed this play because there was an attempt on James's own life which we know as the "Gunpowder Plot." In 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of catholic men tried to kill James by blowing up the Houses of Parliament but Guy Fawkes was caught and subsequently executed. This might show that James would have enjoyed watching Macbeth die for killing his own king. James was also very interested in witchcraft; and this is thought to be the reason why Shakespeare put witches in the play. The witches play a major part in the play, they affected the way Macbeth thought and they influenced him to kill King Duncan. This is also linked to James because he had three witches killed because they were accused of making a storm to try and kill him. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth: "We will not proceed no further in this business" His guilt is shown twice, after murdering Banquo and King Duncan. After King Duncan is dead he tells Lady Macbeth that he will never be able to pray or sleep again because of what he did. And after murdering Banquo he sees Banquo's ghost at the banquet. Which makes us question, could he have regretted what he did? 5) The witches started the whole murder sequence off by planting the ideas in Macbeths head. They work on Macbeth by equivocation, that is, by vague promises of his improved state and position. After seeing the witches Macbeth receives news that he is going to be Thane of Cawdor, he then started acting on the other witches prophecies to make them come true. However, the witches do not tell him what to do in order to achieve what they prophesise. They say nothing about killing Duncan or anyone else. So in that sense, they cannot be the instigators of the idea of the murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly however, that if he should try to act to bring about that favourable event, he will compromise his honour. Therefore, it would appear that the royal line of descendants does not grip Banquo's imagination as it does to Macbeth who cannot put from his mind so easily the vision of himself as king. He freely chooses to kill Duncan in response to his own deepest desires. Neither his wife nor the witches compel him to do what he does, and he is free at any time to refuse to carry out the murder. Or, after having carried it out seek out different courses of action. Finally, when he does goes out to commit the murder, he is hallucinating that there is a dagger leading him towards the deed and he is filled with a sense of horror at what he is about to do. He is it seems in the grip of his imagination and not following some conscious rational decision. In the very act of letting his imagination lead him on, he is aware that what he is doing is wrong and this is villainies. ...read more.

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