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

Macbeth’s crimes are blood, appalling and pitiless. Does Shakespeare present this “butcher”, “hell-kite” and “fiend” as a monster or as someone with whom it is possible to feel sympathy?

Extracts from this document...


Macbeth's crimes are blood, appalling and pitiless. Does Shakespeare present this "butcher", "hell-kite" and "fiend" as a monster or as someone with whom it is possible to feel sympathy? The play Macbeth was written by William Shakespeare. It was written for the successor of Elizabeth I, James I of England. James I of England, who was James VI of Scotland, was a descendent of Banquo, and for this reason Shakespeare changed his play from the way this event actually took place in history. In history Banquo actually aided Macbeth in the killing of Duncan, this would have upset the king and may have got Shakespeare in a lot of trouble. Therefore Shakespeare changed it so that Banquo was not part of the plan to murder the king and was against the idea totally. Shakespeare added the witches into the play, as James was deeply interested in witchcraft. This would make the play more appealing to the king. James was a firm believe of "The Divine Right Of Kings", this was a way of thinking that kings were hand picked by God and that they were, second in the hierarchy of the whole universe underneath God. As James believed in this way of thinking it made the murder of Duncan a lot more dramatic. When Duncan was murdered there was dramatic affects on Scotland. Shakespeare showed this unnatural affect over Scotland by things happening that would not happen normally. Such as horses eating each other and earthquakes happening. In the play Macbeth is shown as a tradgic hero. A tradgic hero is when a great heroic man has a weakness in his character, for Macbeth the flaw in his character is his great ambition. His flaw has come from the witches telling him the 3 prophecies. This turned his whole perspective around and that was when his ambition took over. As the play starts we see do not see Macbeth but we hear of how great a man he is and how much of ...read more.


This really got to Macbeth, he didn't know where the voice came from and it really startled him. Lady Macbeth just told him to take no notice of what the voices had said. "But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'? I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen' stuck in my throat." (Act 2, scene II) This also scared Macbeth has when he was about to kill Duncan he wanted to say a prayer but the word 'Amen' was stuck in his throat. These two affects were the first few consequences of killing Duncan. "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous sea incarnadine, Make the green one red" (Act 2, scene II) This quote shows Macbeth is starting to feel guilty about his actions. When Macbeth says will great Neptune's oceans wash this blood clean from my hands he is conveying that it is such a bad thing that he has done nothing in the universe can clear him of his sins. Macbeth shows regret for him killing Duncan when he says "Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!" (Act 2, scene II) Macbeth is becoming unstable mentally and is regretting killing Duncan. In act 3 Scene 4 Macbeth is having a banquet. At the start Macbeth is called away to see on of the murderers who gave him a report. Macbeth wanted Banquo and his son Fleance to be killed, the murderers only killed Banquo but Fleance got away. "Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect; Whole as the marble, founded as the rock, As broad and general as the casing air: But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in To saucy doubts and fears." (Act 3, scene IV) Macbeth is very frustrated that the killers did not kill Fleance as it has ruined his plan but he believes he can get around this hiccup. ...read more.


(Act 1, scene VII) She is so determined she would kill her own baby while she was feeding it, this shows that she is a very strong women. Lady Macbeth wants to become purely evil she shows this when she says "Come spirits that tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty; make thick my blood." (Act 1, scene V) Lady Macbeth also says "TH' effect and it! Come to my women's breasts, and take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, wherever in your sightless substances" Lady Macbeth wants very thing that is feminine about her taken away from her so she can be purely evil. Lady Macbeth shows she isn't purely evil in Act 2 scene II when Macbeth asks her why she didn't kill Duncan she says "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't." (Act 2, scene II) As the play goes on lady Macbeth and Macbeths relationship starts to fall apart. At the beginning of the play Macbeth tells his wife every thing as the play digresses they lose faith and trust in each other. They do not tell each other anything. Lady Macbeth was not told by Macbeth that he was planning to kill Banquo or the Macduff's he simply just didn't communicate with her anymore. I believe that Shakespeare has presented Macbeth as some one who you can feel sympathy for, as he seems to be pushed in to killing Duncan by Lady Macbeth. I think that he never had any intentions of killing Duncan it was because his wife drove him so that he could gain power. He was not as strong as he seems, his wife bullies him into killing Duncan but he is a hero on the battlefield. Also if he had not seen the witches then I do not think that he would have any thoughts of killing the king. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Commentary on Macbeth soliloquy Act V scene V"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,Creeps in this ...

    4 star(s)

    to the sudden departure of Lady Macbeth, as Macbeth finds himself all alone in this world. The vocabularies used in this soliloquy express deep depression and desperation: "creeps", "to the last," "fools," and "dusty death."

  2. What impression do you get of Macbeth from the First Act?

    We get the impression of a unintentional hypocrite, he is so blood-thirsty in the previous scene where he 'unseam'd' a man 'from the nave to the chaps' yet here even the mere thought of killing Duncan 'doth unfix' his hair and make his 'seated heart' 'knock' at his ribs.

  1. How does Shakespeare present the character of Lady Macbeth in 'Macbeth'?

    genuinely glad to see him or wants him to know that he is fond of him should the murder go awry and the blame falls upon him. The fact that Lady Macbeth is so capable of lying does not seem to register with Macbeth, nor does the fact that if

  2. To what extent do we feel any sympathy for Macbeth?

    Lady Macbeth herself realises that Macbeth "is too full o'th' milk of human kindness" to kill king Duncan. Nothing can stop her determined ambition to kill Duncan "that I may pour my spirits in thine ear". It is clear that virtuous Macbeth is being lead to evil by his ambitious wife and the supernatural witches.

  1. Analyse the Macbeth's marriage during the play, and explain why and how it changed

    Lady Macbeth tries to reassure him by telling him- "I only heard the owl scream and crickets cries." Macbeth does not believe her and is getting paranoid about the noises he heard. He claims- "One did laugh in's sleep, and one cried 'Murder!'"

  2. Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil?

    She also uses the words "under my battlements" to describe her home making her seem ruthless as she is talking as if she is at war with Duncan which she is not. She then invites the spirits "that tend on mortal thoughts" to "unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe topfull of direst cruelty".

  1. What influences Macbeth to make the decision to kill Duncan in Act 1?

    She then goes on to stay 'stop up the access and passage to remorse, she wishes to remain removed from the perils of guilt and her consciences. The image of darkness has show similarities between Lady Macbeth behaviour like the witches (evil).

  2. How does Shakespeare present Macbeths character before the murder of Duncan?

    Speaking to himself, Macbeth questions the motive of the prophecy with the line, 'if ill, why hath it given me earnest of success'. The audience would identify with Macbeth's confusion as usually, ambition is a virtue to be proud of so Macbeth is querying how something, 'ill', can produce something good.

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