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

William Shakespeare's Macbeth is a play whose plot is propelled by various murders/deaths done out of greed, fear and revenge

Extracts from this document...


Andrew McKone 11TS 23.11.01 Macbeth Essay Hypothesis William Shakespeare's Macbeth is a play whose plot is propelled by various murders/deaths done out of greed, fear and revenge. It explores the nature of various types of murder and the results that each brings. This essay will look at two attempts to find meaning in a rather destructive play. The first look is at Alan Sinfield's essay, "Macbeth: History, Ideology and Intellectuals." Sinfield's Marxist approach to Macbeth, however, is a play, a story to be experienced, not to be merely read and examined. So, then, how are these multiple deaths interpreted when experienced in a more oral form? The second part of this essay addresses this, looking at reader response in a unique way, through the adaptation of Macbeth for children. The first adaptation is a traditional picture book, soliciting images to help interpret this tale. The second adaptation is for "stage" and has examples of children's actual responses to the play. What is revealed in both adaptations by the authors/illustrator in their portrayal of the various killings is their unconscious judgement of what is an appropriate murder. ...read more.


(WSM) Macduff zeros in on Macbeth as the guilty party and Donalbain and Malcolm are sided with Macduff. Teams are being drawn up. Burdett, however, keeps more closely to Shakespeare by shifting the focus off Macbeth through the action of Lady Macbeth's swooning. This event is followed by the escape of King Duncan's sons as merely an act of self-preservation. The illustrations for these scenes are also quite different. Kelly shows the body of the King almost as if he were sleeping, except for the blood trickling down his arm and the table tipped over. Donalbain and Malcolm are hardly discernible in the gathering on the stairs. Burdett's classroom children, however, go for the blood. It drips off the daggers (pp. 27,28) and down the King's chest and onto the bed (p33). Their letters are from characters tormented by the death of the King. Donalbain and Malcolm almost look as if they are shouting in fear to one another and their letters to one another convey a panic not found in the texts of Shakespeare, Burdett or Coville. It is very clear that the children are imaging what it would be like to lose a father and fear for their lives. ...read more.


This is the only murder that brings about this kind of reaction. And in both adaptations Macduff's revenge as the driving force behind his desire to fight Macbeth is avoided. Instead, they rely on the magic of the witches and the fable-like predictions of Macbeth's downfall and death. It isn't really Macduff that kills Macbeth, but Fate and magic. Macduff can only be represented as a good man with no blackness in his heart. While the Burdett and Coville adaptations present the multiple murders, they deal less with the realities of murder and it's many aspects, than with the morality of murder itself. Tied up in this morality is the idea of a soul, a core or foundation, that is bad through and through. Murder is presented as purely an evil act committed by a man with an evil soul so that finally, it is easier to present this story as having black and white issues with purely good and evil people. The book jacket of Coville's adaptation describes Macbeth as "a tormented man who is at once heroic and evil," but neither adaptation can allow Macbeth to be that complex. He must, in the end, be simply a "villainous tyrant" driven by greed. ...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. 'Macbeth' gives us a classic example of the literary definition of a 'tragic hero'. ...

    a spell and her language is black and witch-like as she calls on the spirits. Also what she is demanding - having her femininity and conscience removed - is completely unnatural and this is how the witches are seen by the audience.

  2. Macbeth was first performed in 1606 in front of King James I at Hampton ...

    This refers to a proverb, or adage, where a cat wants to catch a fish, but isn't willing to get his feet wet. Therefore the fish got away from the cat as the crown would get away from Macbeth. You can see from Lady Macbeth's actions that she is pushing Macbeth towards murder, showing herself to be a driving force.

  1. Macbeth - plot summary and review

    While persuading Macbeth to kill King Duncan she deceives him by making him believe that she has his best interests at heart, but she is only interested in becoming Queen. Lady Macbeth helps Macbeth to kill King Duncan by influencing him to commit the crime.

  2. Show How Shakespeare Makes Us Feel Horror, Pity and Fear by Examining Three of ...

    The horror of someone murdering the King is immense. At the time the monarch was seen as being chosen by God himself. This divine right as it was called raised their status above all others and the concept of a normal mortal killing the King would have been a horrifying prospect.

  1. Who was the driving force behind the murdur of duncan?

    the witches appearances: 'So wither'd and so wild' this makes them seem old, as they're described as 'wither'd' and they also appear to be naked so he describes them as 'wild', as they look very peculiar and extraordinary. 'Wild' could also be used to describe them as 'mad' in their appearance.

  2. The play 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare is possibly one of the most influential plays ...

    to shock the Jacobean audience who would have been very frightened of the supernatural and especially witchcraft. However the inclusion of the witches in the first scene of the play would also have informed the audience of how important the witches are in the plot of the play.

  1. Macbeth's Fear of Fear

    Where Macbeth says "but here," we would say "just here" or "only here." In other words, Macbeth knows that he can get away with murder only here on earth. In the afterlife he will certainly be punished. He also knows that the afterlife is very long; it's like a boundless

  2. In the play Macbeth it was fear that was the mainmotivating factor that influenced ...

    Next Macduff refuses to accept Macbeth as king and flees to England to join Malcom. And also the witches tell him to beware of Macduff, which angers Macbeth and drives him to kill Macduff's family.

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