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Macbetth - What factors contribute to his change in character and which dramatic devices help the audience become aware of his descent into evil?

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Introduction

In committing Duncan's murder and organising the murder of other influential characters, Macbeth's character changes from good to evil. What factors contribute to his change in character and which dramatic devices help the audience become aware of his descent into evil? The play 'Macbeth' gives the audience plenty of opportunities to consider the reasons for the main characters actions. In this essay I will consider the four main factors that contributed to Macbeth's descent into evil. In Act 1 Scene 2 (line 16) we find out that Macbeth is a brave warrior, "For brave Macbeth- well he deserves that name". By saying this, the Captain is saying how brave he is and that he deserves to be called brave because of his acts during the battle. When the captain reports back the latest news from the battle we find that Macbeth and Banquo fought an assault of fresh Norwegian troops undauntedly. They showed no fear towards them; this backs up the captain's statement telling of Macbeth's bravery. In this Scene we also find out that Macbeth is cousin to the King (Duncan). This becomes apparent in line 24 when Duncan replies to the Captains report with, "O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman". With this remark Duncan is congratulating his cousin and agreeing that he deserves to be called brave, he thinks he is a good man to battle like he did. ...read more.

Middle

* Flashbacks from the battle, which gained Macbeth the title 'Brave'. All of these reasons are acceptable and could each of caused Macbeth to hallucinate about the dagger; alternatively they could have all played a part in Macbeth hallucinating. This hallucination is causing Macbeth such fear and insecurity because he feels like he is falling apart at the thought of committing a murder. But without murdering the King he feels that he will never become King, because of what Duncan said about his descendants gaining the throne. Macbeth feels like this is his one and only chance to become King. In Act 2 Scene2 Macbeth is obsessed by the murder and seems to be falling apart. The dramatic devices that help Macbeth to show his fear and insecurity are his constant asking of questions. At the start of the scene whilst Macbeth talks to Lady Macbeth after committing the murder he asks questions that indicate just how tense he is; * "Who's there? What ho?" (Line 8) * "Didst thou hear a noise?" (Line 14) * "When?" (Line 17) * "As I descended?" (Line 19) * "Hark, who lies i'th'second chamber?" (Line 21) Lady Macbeth also answers these questions with a manner that adds tension to the scene, she answers them very quickly with only one or two word answers rather than trying to calm Macbeth, she must be able to see how tense he has become. ...read more.

Conclusion

I don't think that this is the main reason for Macbeth behaving the way he did, if anything I think that Macbeth's feelings of fear and insecurity put him off killing Duncan. I don't think that this is the main reason for Macbeth behaving the way that he did. The third possible reason for Macbeth's behaviour is how he was dominated by his wife, Lady Macbeth. I think that this is the main reason for Macbeth behaving in the way he did. His wife played a huge part in getting him to commit the murder on King Duncan, without her numerous methods of persuasion I don't think that Macbeth would of gone through with the Murder. Lady Macbeth planned the murder and made up an alibi, she also stopped Macbeth from falling apart, without her Macbeth would have been found guilty of murdering King Duncan, he would have been Executed. I think that this is definitely the main reason for Macbeth behaving the way that he did. The last possible reason for Macbeth behaving the way he did is the influence of the Witches. I think that this has a big part to play in the way that Macbeth acted, but I don't think that it is the main reason. Without the Witches predictions Macbeth may never have realised that he could be King, but Lady Macbeth Probably would have! Overall I think that Lady Macbeth's domination over Macbeth's decisions and actions played the biggest part in Macbeth behaving the way that he did. Stephen Holloway ...read more.

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