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Macbeth by William Shakespeare coursework piece:

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Introduction

Archie Mustafa 13th February 2007 Macbeth by William Shakespeare coursework piece: Who is to blame for the tragedy? The play, Macbeth, is the last of Shakespeare's four great tragedies. The Scottish play raises many questions, however, I am going to focus on what made Macbeth commit some of the most terrible deeds in Scottish history. In the play, Shakespeare adds a sense of the supernatural that conspires against Macbeth and Scotland. The play is set in Scotland where Macbeth is a triumphant, brave soldier who is the co-leader of the Scottish army and is a national hero. His loyal reputation increases due to further victories against the Norwegians but all of this soon changes as a prophecy leads him to believe that he will be King of Scotland. This takes Macbeth on a bloody rise to power and, on the way, he ends up committing the horrible deed of regicide. Is this prophecy the beginning of a guilt ridden path of evil, generating still more cowardly, evil actions which results in his death and downfall? Macbeth's rise to power and his reign over Scotland is very corrupt and during this time the natural order of the country is overturned causing everyone to live in an atmosphere of suspicion and fear. ...read more.

Middle

His ambition and greed led him into this disarray by becoming dependant on prophecies that seemed to grant him everything he desired. I am now going to focus on Lady Macbeth who I felt played a big part in persuading and encouraging Macbeth to kill the King of Scotland so that he could rule quicker and therefore fulfil the witch's final prophecy. Once Macbeth is granted the title Thane of Cawdor, which leads him to believe he could be king, he writes to Lady Macbeth to excite her interest. Once she receives the letter, she is very quick thinking, ambitious and precise about her actions making the decision that her husband will soon become king, 'Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou are promised.' When Macbeth bring further news to Lady Macbeth that King Duncan is actually coming to stay for a night at their castle, she sees the opportunity to kill him. At this part in the play Lady Macbeth has her greatest influence as she is determined to now persuade Macbeth and encourage him to actually kill his own king, who is also his cousin. She doesn't believe that he is capable of committing this horrible deed as she thinks he is too kind; 'Yet I do fear thy nature, it is too full o 'th' milk of human kindness.' ...read more.

Conclusion

We now realise that Macbeth's rise to power will end in his death as the witches tell him that, 'The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth,' he believes that he will be safe but we know that Macduff is 'from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd.' Macbeth's blind belief in the witches prophecies are his undoing. However, in conclusion I think that the witch's equivocation, Lady Macbeth's ambition and Macbeth's greed are all to blame for his downfall but one character stands out more from the others. After consideration I think that Macbeth was more to blame because even though the witches made him believe things which were equivocal and Lady Macbeth persuaded him, it was Macbeth's own choice to act upon what he was told. Further proof of this point is that Banquo was also there when the witches first made their prophecies and he could have, like Macbeth, manipulated them to come true but it was his own decision to chose not to and let the future occur naturally. Shakespeare is telling us in this play that it was a weakness or flaw in Macbeth's character that allowed him to be greedy and dishonest. His ambition led to his downfall whereas an honest and brave character like Macduff wins in the end and the natural order is returned to Scotland when Malcolm is crowned King. ...read more.

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