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Macbeth is a study of how a central character degrades from, "Bellona's Bridegroom" to "this dead butcher." How far do you agree with this assesment?

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Introduction

Macbeth is a study of how a central character degrades from " Bellona's bridegroom" (Act 1 scene 2) to " this dead butcher." (Act 5 scene 7). How far do you agree with this assessment? Use quotes to support your answer. The play of Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's Tragedies and it certainly lives up to this title. Macbeth himself was a good and noble man trusted by the King. However amongst other factors his own greed and ambition brings about his demise. The very start of the play describes the weather as thunder and lightning. This uses pathetic fallacy to create a mood, filled with darkness and menace. This beginning establishes a theme that runs throughout the play. Throughout the play Macbeth's character changes dramatically. He starts off being referred to as loyal and brave and is given the title of Thane of Cawdor. Yet as the play progresses and as a result of what the witches tell him, he becomes blood thirsty and is willing to do anything in order to make sure he gets what he wants. Originally he was a loving man with a good heart, except the witches prophecies enthral him and he becomes overcome with desire. In order to feed his desire he finds himself committing murder after murder. He falls into the evil witches traps, the apparition that "no man of woman born can harm him" is the exploit of words that leads to Macbeth believing no-one can harm him, he is unstoppable. ...read more.

Middle

However he changes his mind, "I have no spur; to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition." This proves his ambition brings him to do things he wouldn't have considered otherwise. "False face must hide what false heart doth know" This statement of Macbeth's indicates the end of his noble and loyal characteristics. It also signifies the start of his merciless and murderous side. Act 2 is the beginning of Macbeth's deceit. He lies to Banquo when he says, "I think not of them." when asked about the witches. As Act 2 continues Macbeth starts to hallucinate and killing Duncan starts to haunt him before he has even done it. "Is this a dagger I see before me, the handle toward my hand? He sees a dagger pointing to Duncan's room with blood on it! "Macbeth shall sleep no more," This shows that Macbeth still has a conscience and feels guilty after killing Duncan. He thinks he won't be able to sleep again because he killed it. He also refuses to return to the scene with the daggers to frame the bodyguards. He remains in a very jumpy, paranoid mood and even a slight noise scares him. "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hands?" Neptune was the god of the sea and cleaning your hands of something is used as a phrase meaning to take away the guilt or to forget. Macbeth fears he will never be able to forget the crime he has committed and will forever feel the guilt lying heavy upon him. ...read more.

Conclusion

He has transformed from brave, trusted and noble to bloodthirsty, paranoid, demanding and selfish. When he is told that Lady Macbeth, his wife, is dead he doesn't show much sign of humanity. "She should have died hereafter; there would have been a time for such a word. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day." He thinks Macbeth should have lived longer and that life is very tedious and each day passes extremely slowly amounting to nothing but death. All of this included, you would still expect a man to grieve, even slightly for their dead wife, not Macbeth. Throughout all of these events Macbeth has been a puppet for his own outrageous ambition. Being driven by this to kill and kill again in order to get what he desires. However Macbeth isn't the only one to blame. Lady Macbeth also played a huge role in prompting him and reminding him of what he wanted to achieve. She encouraged him to murder Duncan when he was having doubts. She was a very manipulative and pushy wife and had a lot of control over Macbeth. Therefore we mustn't forget that Macbeth was given a firm helping hand as he created the path to his own destruction. Overall I think it is clear to see that Macbeth was a butcher by the end of the play. I agree with the opening statement because there is no other word to describe Macbeth after he has been involved in the murders of the King and bodyguards, his close friend Banquo, and the helpless innocent family of Macduff's. ...read more.

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