• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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.

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. What impression do you get of Macbeth from the First Act?

    and he, worried asks 'hath he ask'd for me?' it seems as if he still hoped that if Duncan never found out what he was planning he could forget about the whole idea. Macbeth seems nervous and foolish; we pity him, as he seems to lack the courage to kill Duncan, yet is being mercilessly persuaded into doing so.

  2. How does Lady Macbeth Change During The Course Of The Play 'Macbeth'.

    She continues to try to use this technique, but it becomes apparent that it's not accomplishing anything and in desperation, she requests the guests leave before Macbeth makes even more of a spectacle of himself. This scene is the final scene in the play where Lady Macbeth displays her quick

  1. 'Macbeth' gives us a classic example of the literary definition of a 'tragic hero'. ...

    he is, but is loyal to him and lessens the embarrassment for him before his lords by remaining in control at all times. It appears at this stage that she is still the stronger of the two characters. Again, Shakespeare shows this as a direct contrast to later in the

  2. To what extent is Macbeth wholly responsible for his ruin, which destroys not only ...

    This once more adds to Macbeth's fear of capture and angst of unpopularity. Macbeth finds it suspicious that Macduff is returning home to Fife as opposed to staying for Macbeth's coronation and enhances his fear. In (III, I), when Banquo accuses Macbeth of winning but 'thou play'dst most foully for't',

  1. Kingship in Macbeth - In Act4 Scene3, Malcolm identifies "the King becoming graces", a ...

    Another of the 'king becoming graces' which Edward possessed was that of devotion or piety. Edward was deeply devoted to his religion: "Put on with the holy prayers and' tis spoken. To succeeding royalty he leaves the healing benediction..." This is an example of Edward's devotion to his religion, which he was respected for.

  2. How does the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change throughout the play?

    be saying that his hands are a sorry sight, because he has seen blood many times before in battle. Since Macbeth is feeling so guilty about the murder he begins to talk about how the guards woke each other up and his rambling irritates his wife, but it can be

  1. Macbeth - Women In The Play

    that in order to win over the kingship, he loses his pride and true personality. Again, we see that their next meeting will be at a desert, remote place, the heath, showing once again that they are hiding away from all attention.

  2. Behind every great man is a great woman. Discuss this in relation to Macbeth ...

    This shows us that in their relationship, Lady Macbeth is the dominant one, she always decides what?s going to happen and what?s going to be done, Macbeth is the weaker one and that listens the plans made by his wife.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work