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Macbeth changes from loyal subject to King Killer. Explore how Shakespeare presents this change to the audience.

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Introduction

Macbeth changes from loyal subject to King Killer. Explore how Shakespeare presents this change to the audience. Act 1 Scene 1 is a very short scene, long enough to awaken curiosity, yet not long enough to fulfil it. The first thing we notice is that we are introduced to a meeting amongst three witches that is coming to a close. This has a very important impact on the audience because in Elizabethan/Jacobean times witchcraft was believed to be a practice that caused harm and injury associated with black or evil magic. They were believed to be in league with the Devil, who gave them supernatural powers, and thus became the obvious opponent of the Christian Church, which was the common belief of that time. Shakespeare has done this to set the mood of the play, and to create irony within the audience because we are not introduced to Macbeth, who happens to be the main character and also we are presented with evil from the off, which implies to them that something is not right; however, they do not know what this is yet. We infer through the witch's prologue that they are arranging their next meeting before their familiar spirits; devils in animal shapes. 'Scene 1 On the moor Thunder and lightning.' This description further entices our suspicion that something is not correct because of the eerie scene that is painted. Again Shakespeare has done this so the audience get an inclination to evil. Moreover, when we look at the witch's speech, they prophesise about events to come; Second Witch "When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won." ...read more.

Middle

The way the audience thinks about Macbeth via Shakespeare's way of writing further intensifies in Scene 4. This is were Macbeth's profound soliloquy takes place; "[Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap, For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires; The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see." (Iiv 48-53) Throughout the play so far, Shakespeare has chosen to write in pros, but now he changes his style to poetry. He uses rhyming couplets, that is the end word of every second line rhymes. He has done this perhaps to imply to the audience about Macbeth's dual personality; the good and evil. Moreover, he communicates with the audience the sense of irony because Duncan is also present at this point. Also, they learn through this soliloquy that Macbeth's thoughts scare him, and that evil seems to possess his mind. In addition, also that he knows it is wrong, but he desperately wants to hide his feelings from himself. In Act1 Scene5 Shakespeare informs the audience to the shadow partner behind the murder that will later be committed; "Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, Stop up the access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visiting of nature..."(Iv 43-4) This is a fundamental point conveyed to the audience through Shakespeare's writing as to why Macbeth will do what he does. ...read more.

Conclusion

He does this by showing the audience that Macbeth speaks few words in his replies to Banquo; "Who's there? A friend." (IIi 10-11) Again Shakespeare is revealing to the audience here the company of evil is present. Finally, Shakespeare reveals all in Macbeth's final soliloquy before Duncan's murder. He discloses that Macbeth is living in a nightmare. He is distressed by the dagger that his imagination creates, yet later he seems to enjoy the horror of the moment - "Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses, Or else worth all the rest: I see thee still..." (IIi 44-5) Again this conforms to the audience that Shakespeare is trying to inform them of the fact Macbeth seems to be in a transition period of reality and a dream, thus making them nervous and apprehensive. Yet on the contrary, he shows them that Macbeth believes he will take pleasure in the terror of murdering Duncan; "...the bell invites me. Hear it not Duncan; for it is a knell..." (IIi 62-3) Here, Shakespeare finalises to the audience the change in Macbeth. He shows them that Macbeth is now to caught up in his fascination with murder and that there is no going back for him; he will become a king killer. To conclude, I believe that Shakespeare presents the change in Macbeth from loyal subject to king killer very effectively. He works on the knowledge of the audience at that time, i.e. he uses the witches' magic to show the evil influence on Macbeth and the power of Lady Macbeth's thoughts over him. He reveals to them in a shrewdly way Macbeth's thoughts, and how the lust for power has greatly blinded his loyalty and his debt to Duncan. ...read more.

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