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Shakespeare: Macbeth Act 4 scene 1

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Introduction

Shakespeare: Macbeth Act 4 scene 1 Macbeth is a dramatic play consisting of five long acts, written by Shakespeare. It is based on the career of King Macbeth. Possibly performed as early as 1606, the play was first printed in the edition of Shakespeare's works that was published in 1623 and is known as the First Folio. The principal source used by the author for this work was Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577) by the English chronicler Raphael Holinshed. The tragedy is a penetrating, concentrated, and harrowing study of ambition. In the characters of Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, the play provides two strong roles long regarded as attractive vehicles for the leading actors of the world. Shakespeare's tragedy also provided the basis for the libretto of the opera Macbeth (1847) by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Macbeth is set around the 11th century. During this period witches were believed to have special powers making it possible for them to speak to the devil and even the deceased. Supposedly some could even see into the future. People believed they could make people fall ill by using spells and potions, as well as killing from long distances. They could fly through the air and turn invisible at will. Cause bad weather and storms, powerful enough to effect ships and even spoil crops. They would also use animals such as cats and dogs as disguises for the evil spirits that serve them. This is where the stereotypical witch, which we use today gained her black cat from. The meeting between Macbeth and Banquo and the witches is the first signs of evil that the audience sees in Macbeth. The audience has just heard several glowing descriptions of Macbeth in battle. When he appears, he does not seem the bloodthirsty warrior that has just been described. After hearing the witches' prophecies, Macbeth is unsure whether to believe them, and whether they are good or bad: " This supernatural soliciting Cannot be good, cannot be ill. ...read more.

Middle

It is this conscience that throws up many objections to him killing the King - objections, which nearly stop him from doing the deed. This shows that he is not easily won over to evil. Lady Macbeth describes Macbeth as "full of the milk of human kindnesso, although ironically she is using this as a point of criticism. There are many forms of imagery in the world today. They usually take on two main forms, those being visual and mental. Word means different thing to different people. The Websters Dictionary defines it as, in rhetoric, representations in writing or speaking; lively descriptions which impress the images of things on the mind; figures in discourse. This once again goes back to the idea of mental imagery and the different ways people interpret things. In William Shakespeares Macbeth. Imagery is connected to both character development as well as theme and are patterned throughout the play. From the beginning of the play we are introduced to image of darkness. It was called upon by Banquo, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In his aside to Macbeth "But tis strange: And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray us In deepest consequence" Banquo shows that he is immediately aware that the witches are associated with darkness. He chooses not to act on the witches prophecies, but rather to be wary and reluctant. He is not ready to involve himself with the witches, as he sees them as a dark force. However Macbeth is on opportunist and the image of darkness reveals his deepest, darkest desires. This is shown in Macbeth's aside. "The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step On which I must fall down or else o'ver-leap, For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires" It becomes apparent that, it bothered Macbeth a great deal to hear that Malcolm was named successor to King Duncan, he then calls on darkness to hide his evil thoughts. ...read more.

Conclusion

("Banquo: ... why do you start, and seem to fear/Things that sound so fair?). This episode show that Macbeth is too eager to please other people - he needs Lady Macbeth to love him and cannot cope when she mentions "green and paleo and tells him that "such I account thy loveo if he cannot kill Duncan. One of the reasons that Macbeth gives himself for not killing Duncan is that he has recently bought "golden opinions [of him] from all sorts of peopleo. Of course, Macbeth is a traitor and is also disloyal. He gives an image of being a hypocrite: in public he behaves one way and in private with Lady Macbeth & the witches in another. This is perhaps best shown in I.4, when Macbeth is paying homage to the King and his son. In the court, Macbeth says to the King: " The service and the loyalty I owe, In doing it, pays itself..." Meanwhile, Macbeth is secretly thinking of how he can become the next King. Outside the court, on his own, he says, "Stars hide your fires/Let not light see my dark and deep desires...o. Another example of this decietfulness is seen in I.5, when Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to "...look like the innocent flower/but be the serpent under'to. Macbeth's determination to kill the king shows a reckless and greedy lust for power. It is possible that the King could have made him more directly in line of the throne as a reward, as Duncan told Macbeth that the Cawdor title was "in earnest of a greater honouro. To conclude, Macbeth is a character who could have achieved a lot of good, but sadly weaknesses in his character lead him to become evil, although this could partly have been down to the witches. It is too easy and not fully explanatory to call Macbeth good or bad: he is a complex and changing character with good and bad points within it. Paulo Richards 11W Tuesday, 27 November 2001 page 1 ...read more.

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