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To what extent does Shakespeare portray the character of Macbeth as a war hero(TM) turned evil murderer(TM)?

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Introduction

To what extent does Shakespeare portray the character of Macbeth as a 'war hero' turned 'evil murderer'? In this essay I will examine how Shakespeare portrays the character of Macbeth as a 'war hero' turned 'evil murderer' and the factors which account for this transformation throughout the play. There are many factors that influence the change and transformation within Macbeth including his own drive and ambition, Lady Macbeth's influence and the witches predictions and equivocations. I will examine to what extent these factors are responsible for Macbeth's transformation and ascertain if they are equally to blame. The Captain describes how Macbeth was very valiant in battle and he calls him 'brave Macbeth' and 'valour's minion'. But he also describes how Macbeth dispatched some of his enemies, as Macbeth 'unseam'd' his opponent 'from the nave to the chaps'. This is a very violent and bloody image, where Macbeth cuts someone open from the neck down. Even though Macbeth is obviously a very brave and skilled solider, he also has an unhealthy taste for violence and bloodshed. We see here what Macbeth is capable of, and what he can do to another human being. This shows a more ominous and bloodthirsty side to Macbeth and this gives a hint of the murderous and bloody future Macbeth has to come. ...read more.

Middle

She wishes to be 'unsexed' and have the 'limitations' of a women taken away from her. She wants to be brave and in control and be able to shed blood. She wishes to become so inhuman she would be capable of killing a baby,' have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash'd the brains out,' This is quite a ruthless and violent image here and it shows how far Lady Macbeth will go to achieve their goal. When the murder is done Macbeth comes to her with the bloody daggers still in his hands, when he was supposed to leave them on the guard's bodies. This shows a more indecisive Macbeth now and how the murder has changed him. He cannot go back to the murder scene and plant the daggers. Macbeth was a ruthless and brave solider who had killed countless men but it is now that he can't look at a dead body. Macbeth also says that he has 'murdered sleep' and that he will be haunted by nightmares forever. Another quote to support this point would be, 'Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep in the affliction of these terrible dreams that shake us nightly.' ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end of the play Macbeth knows it's his end and he goes into battle anyway as a soldier and asks for his armour, 'I'll fight till from my bones my flesh b hack'd. Give me my armour.' This behaviour of a brave solider that we saw at the start of the play starts to remerge here, when Macbeth wants to die a soldier's death. He also shows some mercy towards Macduff, he could have easily killed him but Macbeth here has reached the limits of how evil he can be, he can't bear to spill any more blood, 'But get thee back, my soul is too much charg'd with blood of thine already.' In conclusion I think that the witches' equivocations acted as the initial stimulus to Macbeth. They were the ones who first planted those dark thoughts into Macbeth's head, but the witches didn't tell him to murder, they only told him that he would become king. Lady Macbeth then acted as a catalyst as she manipulated Macbeth into actually killing King Duncan, and used his ego against him. There are many factors that led to Macbeth's downfall, but Macbeth's fatal flaw was his ambition, and he would not have preformed any murder if he didn't have the drive and ambition to become king. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Adam Brown 12L ...read more.

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