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Macbeth - Evil Tyrant or Man of Conscience?

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Introduction

EVIL TYRANT or MAN OF CONSCIENCE?? In my opinion, Macbeth is presented as an evil tyrant in the Freeston version. We can see this through both his appearance - dark clothes, scruffy hair and focused eyes - and his expression - how he appears wracked by conscience as he kills Duncan and looks confused and worried after it. The scene that makes me think of Macbeth as totally evil most is at the dinner table when everyone is there, including Duncan himself, and Macbeth studies him hard, as Duncan laughs with warmth, and speaks in his mind about what he will do to this kind and loving man: "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intents, but only vaulting ambition". Freeston purposely makes Macbeth think about his mind at the table, where Duncan and Lady Macbeth are, to gain our contempt for him and to show the audience how ruthless he can be! However, although he seems evil at certain points in this version, Freeston does add scenes in to make us feel pity for Macbeth too, for example, before Macbeth kills Duncan, Freeston inserted a scene where he goes into a Church, which is lit dimly with few candles, and he starts walking towards a cross. But the dagger appears and Macbeth, once again, speaks his thoughts in his mind. However, this time, we feel sorry for Macbeth as he trembles slowly and whispers, as if he's scared, what he's thinking, but in his head. Macbeth looks worried and confused here and we can see the fear his is feeling. Another effect Freeston has added is thunder in the background as Macbeth talks. This gained my pity as it symbolises his madness and gave me a sense of foreboding. The end of the video appealed to me very much as Freeston added in Lady Macbeth's voice saying "High thee hither" as Macbeth died. ...read more.

Middle

"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash away this blood clean from my hand?" - Here, Macbeth says that he knows not even the ocean's water can clear the guilt off his bloody hands. Macbeth is fearful and regretful, and because of this, he has hallucinations of seeing Banquo covered in blood at the dinner table and of sleeping no more, as in Act 2 Scene 2 where he says, "Me thought I heard a voice cry 'sleep no more!' Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep..." In the play, Shakespeare uses sleep as a necessary healer, which is not allowed to those with a guilty conscience - Macbeth knows that he will never be able to rest in peace again as he has sinned. The imagery of sleep symbolises Macbeth's peace of mind. Macbeth also has obsessions with his own death and his citizens think of Scotland as 'diseased' ever since Macbeth has ruled. In Act 5 Scene 2, Caithness says, "He cannot buckle his dis-tempered cause within the belt of rule". He means here that Scotland is diseased because of Macbeth and in order to cure it, they need to win this battle! SECTION three Macbeth feels huge guilt after killing Duncan, but if he's so regretful, then why does he continue to kill? After Duncan's murder, Macbeth realises that he cannot stop now - he's done this to achieve his ambition and if that means killing more innocent people, the so be it! After all, he's only doing it to become king, and he wont let anything stand in the way of his kingship, for in Act 3 he says, "By the worst means, the worst, for mine own good, all causes shall give way." He will destroy all obstacles in the way! He also says, "I am in blood stepped so far, that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er." ...read more.

Conclusion

And in my opinion, he still is - he died a brave warrior in my eyes. I feel sorry for Macbeth, like most of the audience would - I don't blame him really for any of this. He's a good man deep down inside of him: "If thy speech be sooth, I care not if thou dost for me as much." This quotation, from Act shows us how he cannot be bothered - he doesn't care if he dies. And, as he loses confidence in himself, the speech intensifies our sympathy for him. Most people would agree with me when I say that the persuasion of Lady Macbeth and the witches' prophecies led Macbeth to actually commit the murder. Without the witches, Macbeth wouldn't have had any of these murderous thoughts in his head in the first place and if it hadn't been for Lady Macbeth's evil blackmail - "..have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed out the brains, had a so sworn as you have done to this.." - Macbeth wouldn't have killed Duncan. If Macbeth had been brave enough, he would have spoken up about how he felt to Lady Macbeth, which is why I think that it had more to do with her than the witches. However, throughout the play, Macbeth went through a numerous amount of feelings which sometimes made us hate him, because of the way he made it clear that he was innocent and anyone who thought otherwise, was wrong, when we, the audience, knew that it was him all along and that he was evil - "Thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory looks at me" - but at other times, we felt deep pity for him - "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player." In my final opinion, I don't think anyone has a straightforward view on Macbeth because he's such an impossible character to understand. ...read more.

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