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What did Macbeth's character, words and actions show about changes in his character? Why are these scenes important to the plot and structure of the play and how the themes are presented?

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Debbie Branford 9014 Shakespeare Language and Literature Harry Cheshire Community High School 24195 In Macbeth, look at the following scenes: Act one, scenes one, two and three, Act two, scene two, Act four, scene one and Act five, scenes three, six and seven. What did Macbeth's character, words and actions show about changes in his character? Why are these scenes important to the plot and structure of the play and how the themes are presented? The play Macbeth is about a man whose rise to power and fall are influenced by his own ambitions, with help from the supernatural. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth started off as a brave man, because he fought well in battles, even the King praised him for his courage. This is shown when the sergeant was explaining what was going on the battle. He explained that Macbeth had fought well "For brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name" They know that he is brave and loyal. However, in the scene before, three withes were planning to use him to do evil. They must have known that there was something else to Macbeth than bravery and loyalty; there was a strong ambitious side that they could prey off. Those two sides of Macbeth were shown together, the witches' scene (scene one) was hinting Macbeth's dark ambitious side and his vulnerability. Straight after that scene was the scene with King Duncan saying how brave he was. The audience would get mixed messages there and wouldn't know what to think about Macbeth. The audience learn more about Macbeth in scene three because he actually appears in the scene. It started with the witches telling each other about how they are going to kill someone's husband because she didn't give her any food. This shows that the witches are evil beings and shouldn't be trusted, yet Macbeth trusts them. This shows that Macbeth actually has got a dark side. ...read more.


That means something like 'can you want the crown, the thing you want more than anything else, yet be a self-confessed coward saying I'd like to, but I daren't, like the cat in the proverb that wanted fish but wouldn't get its feet wet?' Before she said this, Macbeth had told her that he doesn't want to kill the king because he had been honoured and got respect from other people. He wanted to enjoy the praise instead of casting it aside, but Lady Macbeth soon persuaded him to forget about that and aim for the big things like being king. In act two scene three, Macbeth killed the guards so that it looked like they had killed Duncan. When Macduff asked why Macbeth said something like 'I couldn't control myself, I saw Duncan lying dead covered in blood, I knew the guards had done it because they were covered in blood and holding the daggers that killed him. Who could hold back, that had a loving heart and the courage to show it?' Macbeth was being two faced and a liar then because he was pretending to still be loyal to the king when he was the one who killed him. Also, Lady Macbeth pretended to faint, that is very unlikely considering she smeared blood on the guards and thought nothing of washing it off, unlike her husband, who said that there isn't enough water to wash the blood from his hands. 'Act 2 scene2: Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.' That could mean even though the blood will be washed away with a bit of water, nothing will be able to rid him of his guilt. Macbeth might have killed the king, but I don't think that makes him a bad person, because he did feel guilty about killing the king. ...read more.


At that point, I think Macbeth knew that he was going to be killed, but he wanted to die because he knew that nobody really like or respected him. This was shown when he said 'As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but, in their stead, curses, not loud but deep'. This could mean that he knew that people were plotting behind his back, hence 'curses, not loud but deep.' In scene seven, the audience would see Macbeth being brave again, like he was in act one scene two. In act one, he was fighting because he was being loyal to King Duncan, in act five, and he was fighting because he would prefer to die. This shows that he was originally a brave man when he was loyal to the king because he was willing to die for him. When Macbeth became king, he was always worried about people plotting behind his back so he became less brave. In the end of the play, Macduff kills Macbeth, in most stories, the 'baddy' always gets their comeuppance, and Macbeth gets his. Shakespeare might have been showing the audience that if they meddle with witches they will get killed, because in Elizabethan times witches were blamed for all the bad things in the world, like famine and illness. There was also a moral to the story. I think it was 'Don't have ideas above your status' or something like that, or 'don't trust the devil because bad things will happen'. The play 'Macbeth' is believed to be cursed. They might think this because if the theme of the play happened in real life, it would be very bad and shocking. They might want to stop the play from being performed so they don't give any psychotic nutters any ideas to kill the king (I know that has nothing to do with the essay question, but I thought I would add it anyway...sorry) Shakespeare was a brilliant play writer and I thoroughly enjoyed Macbeth. The End ...read more.

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