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

Macbeth - How Shakespeare presents the characters in Act 3 Scene 1

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine how Shakespeare presents the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act 3 Scene 1. How do their words thoughts and actions make the scene such a dramatic and important scene in the play? In the majority of Shakespeare's compositions, Act 3 usually consists, in terms of context, the most important scenes in the play. Macbeth is no different; Act 3 and in particular Act 3 Scene 1 is the point in the play where events are rapidly building to a dramatic and tragic climax. In the previous scenes the audience witnessed the violent assassination of the much loved King Duncan by Macbeth followed by the (said / mentioned) murderer's inevitable election as king. In a historical context, the general public at the time of the production's release would have understood the significance and seriousness of Macbeth's actions more so than modern day audiences. Regicide was not only seen as an evil act against king and country but also against God. The Divine Right of King's was widely believed; which stated every monarch is selected by God and has sole right to the throne (usurper). More notably, genuine threats such as the Gunpowder Plot against the ruler at the time, King James I, made the murder of King Duncan not only more believable but something audiences could actually relate to. Act 3 Scene 1 commences with a condemning soliloquy by Banquo. He shares with the audience his strong accusations regarding the manner in which Macbeth has become King Speaking dangerously of deceit and treason, 'Thou played'st most foully for't', Shakespeare cleverly aligns Banquo with the audience and in doing so emphasizes the shocking nature of King Duncan's murder. ...read more.

Middle

However, Macbeth has other hamartias which are explored further on. If I was directing this scene, I would strive to get the key point across. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have just been crowned king and Queen of their beloved nation. The 'honeymoon' period has just begun and they both absolutely adore their new roles, 'Thou hast it now King, Cawdor, Glamis, all.' Therefore, I would endeavour to make sure this comes across to the audience by ensuring the actors were dressed accordingly; royal robes and jewellery etc. Also, the actors should portray a relieved and joyful persona to illustrate the fact that Macbeth and his wife's efforts have finally been rewarded. During Macbeth's soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 1, Shakespeare reveals the character's true colours. Macbeth explains that despite Banquo being his best friend, he understands that Banquo must be murdered in order for him to remain in power; 'to be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus.' This extract would confirm the audiences' earlier thoughts and feelings about Macbeth's intentions with Banquo. It also proves that the compassion and sincerity he showed towards Banquo in their last conversation was just an act. Shakespeare compares Macbeth's feelings about Banquo to an actual event in the past, 'as it is said Mark Antony's was by Caesar.' Macbeth acknowledges Banquo's integrity but cannot help feeling that perhaps he is the Achilles heel to making him last upon the throne. Just as in Ancient Rome, Mark Antony was said to be in fear of Octavius Caesar. ...read more.

Conclusion

Several supernatural hallucinations throughout the play profoundly affect Macbeth; culminating with the evil forces overpowering Macbeth and his morals. For example, the prophecies of the three witches and the appearance of Banquo's ghost. These two points in the play would have been very significant for the audience at the time. Witches were associated with using uncompromising potions, flying, becoming invisible at will and using disguises for the evil spirits in control of them. In Shakespeare's time, a large proportion of people believed in witches. Hundreds of thousands of women were accused of employing the mentioned familiars to cause misfortunes and disasters. As a result, many were either executed or tortured. Even King James I was personally frightened of witches, passing a law that condemned anyone connected with witchcraft. In hindsight, it is now clear that witches were just innocent people used as scapegoats for mistakes made by others. Macbeth is a prime example of Shakespeare's use of the tragic pattern. The play begins with the rise and fall of a man of high estate. This is followed by a flaw in character, Duncan's trust in Macbeth for example, 'a gentleman on whom I built absolute trust.' Then murder, exile and alienation of enemies and allies; King Duncan's Murder, the Princes' flee, murder of Banquo and dismissal of Lady Macbeth. All leading to the gradual isolation of the tragic hero, tragic recognition of the flaw by the tragic hero; 'and now a wood comes toward Dunsinane' and eventually the death of the tragic hero. Macbeth is slain by Macduff. Tragic patterns similar to this one are used in every one of Shakespeare's renowned tragedies. ...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. Discuss how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth and how her character develops during the play

    It seems that still in this relationship it is actually Lady Macbeth who carries the "manly" quality of leadership and not Macbeth. It is the pressure of this dual role that will lead to her demise. Throughout the play the Macbeths' relationship has been that of a team but when

  2. Macbeth - Imagine you are the director of Act One, Scene Seven - Write ...

    Macbeth on the other hand has a slightly contrasting downfall, as he changes from a well-regarded and loyal soldier of the Scottish king to a murderous tyrant. At the start of the play Macbeth is courageous, ambitious, superstitious and devoted to his wife.

  1. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    believing that, by cleaning their hands of blood, they are cleaning their hands of the deed: "A little water clears us of this deed." (II.ii.67). The wine she has drunk has made her brave, and she fixes Macbeth's mistake by placing the bloodied daggers near the guards so that they are blamed for the murder.

  2. 'Macbeth' gives us a classic example of the literary definition of a 'tragic hero'. ...

    However I do not believe that this is the case. Although Lady Macbeth persuaded Macbeth to kill Duncan on the evening he came to Inverness, the ambition to become king was inside him. Once the witches prophesy that he will be king, the thought of it begins to take over

  1. Show How Shakespear Presents Dramatically the Process By Which Macbeth Comes To the Decision ...

    In Act 1, Scene 3, The three Witches describe themselves as fore-tellers of destiny, and they all introduce themselves to Macbeth and Banquo as "The weird sisters, hand in hand". The expression "weird sisters", used from the 1400's, means "Fatal sisters" and the word "weird" was a noun meaning Fate.

  2. How would you direct act 1 scene 3 of Macbeth?

    This meant that women couldn't stand out in any way, leaving the responsibilities of gaining honour and power to the men. Through the play I want to show this clearly. I will do so by having LM aggressive while it is only she and M.

  1. Macbeth Essay Focusing on key scenes, discuss how Shakespeare presents the change in ...

    He speaks using an imperative tone, belittling their abilities, almost attempting to act with an antagonistic attitude as he taunts them, saying 'if you can.' Also, he blatantly scoffs at their identity, calling them 'what' rather than 'who.' After they do speak, he personally insults them for their mistaken visions, entitling them 'imperfect speakers.'

  2. Macbeth Act 1 Scene 1 Analysis

    In other words, resting feels more like labor if not done to help his King in any way. Duncan, naïve and trusting, calls him ‘worthy Cawdor’, not suspecting a thing. With the King’s decisions in mind (crowning of Malcolm and the decision to stay at his castle), Macbeth is now more determined than ever in his evil purpose.

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