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Shakespeare's Macbeth - a breif account

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Macbeth Recently in class we have read and studied one of Shakespeare's most famous plays: Macbeth. I found the language a bit difficult to understand and rather archaic but the themes as relevant as they were when the play was written and set. The play was an intriguing one. Whilst studying the play we were focusing on the main character whom the play was based upon and named after, Macbeth. Having finished the play, I felt a sense of pride and achievement that I have read a Shakespearean play. In this evaluation I wish to consider the accuracy of Malcolm's comment that Macbeth died a "butcher" Macbeth towards the end of the play appeared extremely cold and heartless yet at the beginning was a hero who did have good qualities which is why it was such a tragedy that he turned evil. Macbeth is a very complex character and Shakespeare began by highlighting his good points, portraying him as a decent person thus making us care what happens to him. Macbeth being hailed a hero,(in Act1Sc2) was a well-deserved title. He was a brave and gallant soldier, ironically fighting against traitorous behaviour to the king. We are told in gory detail that he "unseamed" one traitor by ripping him apart with his sword from his navel to his mouth showing his military capability Described ...read more.


Macbeth changes his mind six times about what he is away to do- showing the decision to kill king Duncan was given a lot of contemplation. Certainly not at this stage does this appear the action of a butcher which would be cold and unthinking. Despite these positive qualities of Macbeth's character that I have mentioned his nobility, kindness etc. he has crucial weaknesses in his character which lead him to end up as the butcher he was branded. The biggest of all his weaknesses is this very ambition. He wants too much to be king. " I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition which o'erleaps itself and falls on the other" This shows Macbeth's ambition is out of control, which he is aware of. Once that weakness is there, other things come in to exploit it . The second weakness I noticed in Macbeth was that he is too easily led. He is very easily persuaded to do things that were always well within his capabilities but the evil thoughts or motive would never have beforehand crossed his mind. Macbeth could have became king much sooner if he had thought that killing the king was an answer. ...read more.


When he went to grasp it, it disintegrated before his eyes. Does this suggest a mental instability? At a later time when he knew that Banquo was indeed dead he swore to see his ghost sitting at the banquet table. This suggests how unstable Macbeth has become, a pattern of behaviour that only increases as he becomes more deeply involved in the destroying of opposition. The guilt in his conscience made him so paranoid that someone may betray him that he had anyone who may have known it was him who killed the king- including his loyal friend Banquo and all Banquo's family killed. Although, Macbeth's conscience is still alive in some senses as he refused to fight Macduff at first, because he knows he is guilty of killing his family, his conscience does not prevent him slipping into treacherous behaviour, destroying Scotland. But it is still active enough to give him no peace of mind. Macbeth in a desperate attempt to control the future by erasing all opposition becomes simply a butcher, proving the truth of the statement of Malcolm- Macbeth's successor. In conclusion, I think that Malcolm was correct in judging Macbeth when he said he had become a "butcher. However, Macbeth did have many good qualities and great potential to be a virtuous person and likely a good king. Therefore it is the greater tragedy that tempted and pressurised he succumbed and has become remembered for evil rather than good. ...read more.

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