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The play 'Macbeth' was written for a performance which included King Christian IV of Denmark and King James I of England. The play includes themes that would have flattered the monarchs, for example, the Divine Right of Kings.

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Introduction

The play 'Macbeth' was written for a performance which included King Christian IV of Denmark and King James I of England. The play includes themes that would have flattered the monarchs, for example, the Divine Right of Kings. The witches may have been included as flattery to James I who was knowledgeable on the subject (he had written about the trials of the witches at Berwick in 1597, in a treatise entitled 'Demonology'). In Macbeth's tragedy, we see how one flaw in the central character leads to his downfall, even when he has many good qualities, which without provocation would have saved him. However, in 'Macbeth', there are three factors which also bring Macbeth to tragedy. The first of these factors is Macbeth's own ambition. Secretly he has a great desire to be king; this is the character's flaw. Macbeth knows he could never be king, but this is the thing he wants most. With the contribution of the witches, the second factor, Macbeth begins to change his thinking - maybe he could be king. The witches plant the seed in his mind that becoming king is not a pipe-dream and could be a reality if he did something about it. With the encouragement of his wife, the third factor, Macbeth does the deed which leads to his kingship - and ultimately his downfall. In the first scene of the play we meet the witches, who are formulating their plans for Macbeth. ...read more.

Middle

When you durst do it, then you were a man" (Act one, scene seven, lines forty to end). Eventually, Macbeth defies his fear and agrees to go ahead with the murder. Macbeth is now stronger in the relationship, though Lady Macbeth still controls him. The next scene shows Macbeth's standing in the relationship fall again. He denies to Banquo that he thinks of the weird sisters, when in fact they occupy his every thought. Once Banquo and the servants have left, Macbeth becomes victim to his thoughts again, having visions of the daggers he will use to commit the crime: "Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?" (Act two, scene one, lines thirty-three to thirty-five) Macbeth decides that he will commit the murder and prays that nothing (including his own fears and doubts) will get in his way. At the beginning of act two, scene two, Lady Macbeth is portrayed in a different light. She has used the alcohol she used to drug the guards to give herself courage. She reveals that she would have killed Duncan herself, but he resembled her own father: "Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done't." At this point, the pair become almost equal again, but Lady Macbeth stays calm while her husband panics. Lady Macbeth tells him to "consider it not so deeply," as she knows it will drive them mad. When Macbeth says "Sleep no more!" ...read more.

Conclusion

Slowly, the noblemen of Scotland become aware of Macbeth's plans, and they plan a rebellion against the tyrant. The next time we see Lady Macbeth is in act five, scene one. She has become insane with guilt, fear, pressure and worry after enduring her unhappy reign. She also reveals in her sleep-talking that she knew about Banquo's murder: "The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?" (Act five, scene one, line thrity-eight) Lady Macbeth has only her doctor and her gentlewoman at her bedside. Her husband is absent. He is now hell-bent securing his position as monarch. This has cost him, among other things, the love and companionship of his wife. In act five, scene five, we see Macbeth's reaction to the news of Lady Macbeth's death. He despairs; he is pre-occupied with the battle ahead: "She should have died hereafter..." This is a sorry end for both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Without Lady Macbeth, Duncan's murder may never have taken place; if Macbeth had not trusted his wife so much, if their relationship had not been so strong, they may never have become king and queen. Ultimately, both sacrificed their friends, their greatness, and themselves to get what they each wanted. They loved each other passionately at first; but when Macbeth fell foul to the witches and his ambition, his death was already written. Their relationship could have saved them if it had been strong; yet its extreme strength - or perhaps it was its small weaknesses - left them in ruins. Teresa Alcroft 4003 "Examine the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Show how it contributes to the tragedy." ...read more.

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