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Personal Response to Macbeth as a Character.

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Introduction

Personal Response to Macbeth as a Character Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's great tragedies and universally recognized as one of his finest works. What makes 'Macbeth' so successful is the way Shakespeare is skilfully able to enthral and grip the audience by manipulating their view of the main character. Throughout the play Shakespeare continuously changes the audiences feelings about Macbeth by portraying him to be a noble soldier, a merciless murderer, a loving husband or a coward. Thus, the audience's feelings vary from great admiration to detestation as more and more of Macbeth's character is delved into. Shakespeare deliberately creates an atmosphere of the supernatural and unearthly evil as the first mention of Macbeth. The thunder and lightning, together with the witches talking about how they will "meet with Macbeth", immediately entwines him with evil and foreshadows him to be sinister character. However, Shakespeare directs the audience's view of Macbeth to one of great gallantry. In Act 1 Scene 2, although Macbeth himself does not speak, it is clear from the Captain's report that he is highly respected and is described as "Brave Macbeth" and "Valour's minion." However, he is also portrayed as a ruthless soldier in the horrendous account of how he "unseamed" Macdonald "from the nave to the chaps." ...read more.

Middle

After the murder Macbeth clearly feels regret for what he has done and believes that when he was murdering Duncan and he could not say amen, it was a sign that God had abandoned him "amen stuck in my throat". He speaks of how he can no longer sleep - "voices cry in the house that he shall sleep no more". Macbeth speaks metaphorically about how he cannot wash away the guilt or cleanse him - "will all great Neptune's ocean will wash the blood clean from my hand?". The enormity of Macbeth's crime has awakened in him a powerful sense of guilt that will haunt him throughout the play. Blood, specifically Duncan's blood, serves as the symbol of that guilt, and Macbeth's sense that there is enough blood on his hands to turn the entire sea red will stay with him until his death. Lady Macbeth's response to this speech will be her mundane remark, "A little water clears us of this deed". We can see that Macbeth is being driven by the seemingly heartless Lady Macbeth. There is a clear reversal in character between Macbeth and his wife. Before, it was Macbeth doing what Lady Macbeth commanded even though his conscience told him otherwise. But now Macbeth's head is filled with maliciousness and evil plots -"Full of scorpions is my mind". ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the witches prophecies are seen to be 'half-truths' and Macbeth is killed by the caesarean Macduff. Malcolm's victory and assumption of the crown of Scotland signifies that play itself is finally saved from the chaos engendered by the tyrannous Macbeth. Throughout the play, we find Macbeth's character changes. At first he appears to be a brave and honourable soldier. However, his character proves to be more complex. There is a darker side to him; his weakness, his greed and ambition lead him to murder the king. The weak side of his nature lays him open to manipulation by his wife and his thirst for power drives him on. However, the remorse he primarily feels upon murdering the king is short lived. Indeed the darker side of his nature overtakes his fears of God forsaking him: "amen stuck in his throat". He is eclipsed by the ruthless side of his nature and is enthused to commit more atrocious murders to further his ambitions. Macbeth ceased to be a sympathetic hero once he made the decision to kill Duncan. His wife may have started him on his killing streak, but he was the one to finish himself off, but by the end of the play he degenerates into such a morally repulsive man that his death comes as a powerful reprieve. Jef Shah 5S GCSE English Literature Coursework ...read more.

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