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The Character of Macbeth.

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The Character of Macbeth The play 'Macbeth' is a portrait of one man, Macbeth, showing how he changes. Although we are presented with his deterioration from good to evil, we can see his human side throughout the play, which makes it a tragedy. It is the shortest of Shakespeare's tragedies, and has a very fast pace. Once Macbeth's ambition has 'set the ball rolling', events happen quickly in the play as it gathers momentum. The themes of 'Macbeth' are ambition, effects of evil, and violence, shown mainly by the language of the play, as in Shakespeare's time plays were performed in daylight with very few props. Ambition is something that everyone can identify with, and 'Macbeth' is a compelling study of how ambition can destroy you, so the audience are interested in Macbeth's character. Our first impression of Macbeth is of a heroic, famous, popular man who is well liked by the king - Duncan refers to Macbeth as 'noble Macbeth' .Macbeth is tempted by two sources of external evil - the witches and his wife, but he was already ambitious, and they only increased this by making his ambitions seem like they could be reality. ...read more.


However, his language becomes more and more to do with evil as is shown by a large part of his soliloquy - 'Now o'er the one half-world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep. Witchcraft celebrates pale Hecate's off'rings, and withered murderer alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf, whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, with Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design moves like a ghost.'. At the beginning of this quote, Macbeth thinks that the world seems unnatural, and everything belonging to nature is dead, and nightmares are left to disturb sleep. He then goes on to think about the supernatural - Hecate was a goddess of witchcraft - and he thinks of murder as being an actual being, and describes it as creeping like a ghost towards its design with Tarquin's ravishing strides (Tarquin was a Roman prince who raped a woman). Although this speech is all connected with evil, it shows that Macbeth is thinking deeply, and has a sensitive side. When Macbeth has actually committed the deed, he is still imagining things, such as 'Methought I heard a voice cry, "sleep no more: Macbeth does murder sleep"'. ...read more.


Macbeth feels guilty because he ordered the murders of MacDuff's family already, and he knows that if he fights with MacDuff, he will win because he has a 'charmed life'. There are traces of nobility in this - Macbeth does not want to use his unfair advantage unless he has to - he would rather not fight. When Macbeth learns that MacDuff is not 'of woman born', he does not want to fight, but MacDuff says that he is a coward and he will exhibit him in captivity. Macbeth says 'I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet and to be baited with the rabble's curse. Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane and though opposed being of no woman born, yet I will try the last. Before my body, I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, MacDufff, and damned be him that first cries, "Hold, enough!"' There is nobility in the way that Macbeth chooses to die fighting, and his remnants of dignity and pride make the thought of being subservient to Malcolm and being exhibited as a tyrant unbearable. Although Macbeth was hated as an 'abhorred tyrant', by all, his pride and nobility were preserved by his decision to die rather than be captive. ...read more.

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