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Macbeth- war hero gone evil murderer

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How Shakespeare portrays the character of Macbeth as 'war hero' turned 'evil murderer' This essay is in the purpose of exploring the transformation in the character of Macbeth from "war hero" to "evil murderer" not only through his own ambition, but the influence of the witches and Lady Macbeth. Initially we see Macbeth as a valiant, heroic, and powerful solider, his conduct on the battlefield described vividly by a wounded captain returning from the battle. "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name." However Macbeth's actions on the battlefield show us another side to his character, we see a ruthless, cold-blooded man that shows no mercy towards the victims of his sword. His sword is described as, "brandished steel which smoked with bloody execution," this imagery gives us the gruesome impression of Macbeth slaying so many soldiers that his sword was hot with the work he had done. Barbarity is also portrayed in the description given by the captain, as he tells of the precise undertakings of Macbeth's killings, "He unseamed him from the nave to th'chaps and fixed his head upon the battlements." Duncan then describes Macbeth as," valiant cousin, worthy gentleman." He is being praised by the King of Scotland for his actions as a loyal and brave servant of war. Macbeth's barbarism is yet again portrayed when we are told of how he treats his victims, "fixed his head upon our battlements." ...read more.


This shows not only Lady Macbeths ability to manipulate through her persuasive use of language but also Macbeth's arrogance and failure to see it. He prefers to commit a sin before heaven than be seen as a coward in the eyes of his wife, "I dare do all that may become a man." In the next scene, Shakespeare places Macbeth in a soliloquy (onstage solely), giving a deeper insight to his real feelings, Macbeth visualises lifting a dagger, Shakespeare allows him to perceive the object in great detail, as he describes his bidding and his weapon, "it is the bloody business which uniforms thus to mine eyes" he goes on to say "hear it not Duncan, for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell." This is possibly a resurrected trail of emotions running through Macbeths head that could possibly have come from his days of fighting on the battlefield; he is once again ruthless and barbaric, at one with his weapon. After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth suddenly changes faces again. "I'll go no more. I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on't again, I dare not" Once Duncan has been killed Macbeth immediately regrets it, "Wake Duncan with thy knocking, I would'st thou could'st." When the inquest into Duncan's murder has begun and it is announced that Macbeth will become the new King we start to see a change in him. ...read more.


Lady Macbeth soon feels the need to take her own life, which does not seem to affect Macbeth at all showing his darker side. He is more concerned about the attack Malcolm has organised on his castle. Macbeth at first nobly makes the decision to reject Macduff's offer to fight as he states that his sword carries enough of his family's blood as it is. In response to this, Macduff explains to Macbeth of how he was born by caesarean, "...Macduff was from his mothers womb untimely ripp'd" as the witches' stated that no man born of woman could harm him, this placed Macduff out of this rank and eligible to kill Macbeth. . Macduff then states "then yield be a coward..." Macbeth falls once again for a manipulative attempt to reverse his own decision, ending in his death as Macduff goes on to end his reign over Scotland. Although Macbeth died nobly fighting a battle he knew he could not win, through; ambition, and manipulation from others, it is possible to say that he drove himself to his own death... At the start of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a tactful and intelligent soldier and in his final battle some of these heroic traits re-emerge. In his final battle, he fights on bravely, despite his lack of hope. He doesn't kill Macduff when he gets the chance to, instead, he shows mercy. It is through fear of humiliation and ambition, which leads Macbeth to a path of self destruction. ...read more.

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