• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Looking in detail at the character of Macbeth, analyse his descent from noble Macbeth to dead butcher. In your answer you should consider:  The character/theme in question  Shakespeares use of language, imagery and

Extracts from this document...


Looking in detail at the character of Macbeth, analyse his descent from 'noble Macbeth' to 'dead butcher'. In your answer you should consider: * The character/theme in question * Shakespeare's use of language, imagery and other dramatic techniques * Social, cultural and historical context * Personal response Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies. The play presents Macbeth as the epitome of a megalomaniac and his dramatic descent from 'noble Macbeth' to 'dead butcher' may also suggest that the supernatural cannot be trusted and any attempt to change society's natural order can have disastrous consequences. This message ties in with the general Jacobean belief that witches were associated with evil and the king had divine power given by God to rule. This is particularly significant as the Gunpowder Plot had failed to kill James I and Shakespeare may be using the play to warn any ambitious plotters that regicide was against nature and the traitor,like Macbeth, will forever suffer for his crime. It also comments on the general belief that females were the lesser of the two sexes by portraying the manipulative and domineering side of women through the character of Lady Macbeth, who plays an influential part in all of Macbeth's deeds. ...read more.


The witches are mainly responsible for starting the growth of ambition within Macbeth, but Lady Macbeth can be seen as the main driving force for his power hungry desire. We see how Macbeth is subject to her control from the very beginning as he is referred to as 'Bellona's bridegroom'. This immediately implies that she plays the dominant role within their relationship and is able to control him. Shakespeare emphasizes their close bond by often putting their dialogues together to form the same iambic pentameter. By using words such as '...then you were a man', Lady Macbeth constantly taunts him and challenges his masculinity, subsequently manipulating his actions and causing him to do things he did not originally plan. Macbeth was very reluctant to act against Duncan and showed regret after the deed, but she not only persuades him to agree to the crime in the first place, then orders him to think nothing of it. However she cannot be the only reason for all of Macbeth's deeds, as the killing of Duncan is the only one she plays a direct role in. All the murders to follow were according to Macbeth's own free will and she had little to do with them. ...read more.


let the earth hide thee!'. The short abrupt sentences suggest the panic he is feeling and imply that his mind is slowly becoming more and more plagued with his crimes. Shakespeare deliberately makes all his victims innocent of committing anything against him, thus creating pathos for them and at the same time highlighting how he is viewing everything as a threat and killing is becoming the only way he can feel safe. This makes him more brutal and inhumane as his actions turn from regicide to killing his best friend, and then to infanticide. His reactions to killing also change, from the regretful tone in 'Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!' to the longing tone in '...in his death were perfect', we can see how he is feeling less guilt and gaining more satisfaction from his crimes. Ultimately Macbeth's tragic descent is not only due to himself, but instead when the many catalysts like the witches and his own wife combine to encourage his thirst for power, his own ambition becomes his fatal flaw and leads to his downfall. What began as one murder simply to gain royalty quickly gets out of hand as murder becomes a necessity for him to feel safe and I believe his transformation from 'noble Macbeth' to 'dead butcher' though unfortunate, was inevitable. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chuer Zhang ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. How is the character Macbeth presented in Shakespeares' play Macbeth

    He is often shown having dilemmas with himself and disputing with other people. this could be to show him as a vulnerable person as he cannot decide right from wrong. A good example is when Macbeth sees the dagger in front of him in act 2 scene 1.

  2. Discuss the importance of the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's

    He has the affront to dare mention Banquo's name, after the treachery and disloyalty that Macbeth has showed to Banquo. In Act 3 scene 1, Macbeth says to Banquo: "Fail not our feast." AQA (syllabus B) GCSE English/Literature: Pre-1900 Drama- 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare Coursework assignment: Discuss the importance of

  1. With reference to two major scenes, taken from two different Acts of the play, ...

    He recognises that he should "against the murderer shut the door", and certainly "Not bear the knife himself". He also shows a bit of admiration towards Duncan, saying that Duncan "Hath borne his faculties so meek". These lines show that Macbeth has a conscience and looks up to Duncan.

  2. Explore and evaluate Shakespeare's use of the supernatural in Macbeth, supporting your answer with ...

    This notion was also memorably and hilariously in the famous debate scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Most importantly, though, the use of witchcraft in Macbeth would have appealed greatly to King James I. James I always had a fascination with witches.

  1. William Shakespeare's use of dramatic techniques in the play Macbeth.

    If you were involved in witchcraft the maximum penalty was death and judgement was passed quickly. During the reign of king James God's natural order was upheld at high cost to those who transgressed. When the witches mention a meeting with Macbeth this has a number of effects upon the audience.

  2. "This Dead Butcher and his fiend-like queen." With close reference to the play discuss ...

    His description of Macbeth however, shows that he carried out random, indiscriminate, cold-blooded, butcher-like killings. Although this is slightly true, Macbeth's killings were not totally irrational, he killed anyone who stood in his way of power. The witches were what influenced Macbeth's killings, they influenced whom Macbeth was to kill next, they turned him into the butcher that he was.

  1. Why does a man praised as "Brave Macbeth" in Act 1 end with an ...

    [Act 1 Scene 7 line 31 Macbeth]. This quote is to Lady Macbeth, saying that he cannot go through with it. She quickly replies by asking him if he was drunk when he said he was going to murder Duncan, and then mocks Macbeth for his fears.

  2. Discuss the role of the witches in Macbeth your essay refer to Shakespeare's use ...

    The first witch recalls her encounter with a sailor's wife, who would not give her any chestnuts. She threatens he will be "tempest tossed" The three witches execute a spell using revolting ingredients "pilots thumb" and chanting out what they were going to do.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work