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Macbeth Essay

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Gary Thompson Thursday 27th March 2008 Macbeth Essay William Shakespeare is one of Britain's most famous playwrights. He was born in 1569 in Stratford-Upon-Avon. He made his plays available for everyone and wrote them from 1590s to 1600s. His most popular subjects in plays were romance, comedy, murder and historical stories. Shakespeare built his own theatre and named it "The Globe Theatre", which had no scenery, few props and some costumes. The audience had to use their imagination most of the time. One of Shakespeare's most famous plays was "Macbeth" and was based on the real king in the Middle Ages, taking facts from the life recorded by Holinshed. He kept most of Holinshed's story but changed some of it for good drama. In the 1600s Queen Elizabeth 1st enjoyed Shakespeare's plays, and if anything is popular with royalty then it's popular with the public, but she later died in 1603. Shakespeare then had to impress the new king, James 1st. He wrote about witchcraft because it interested the king, James 1st had written a book on the supernatural called "Demonologie". Rumours have been spread that Shakespeare used real spells on the play so it was cursed, that is why most people always referred to it as "The Scottish Play" when on stage to avoid tragic events. ...read more.


It's very shocking because the witches believe all goodness is bad, which is the reversal or inversion of Christian moral values. The witches seem to cast a spell not only over Macbeth but also on the audience as well because they are speaking in countless rhyming couplets in an uncanny hypnotic tone. Immediately, when Macbeth meets with the witches, the scene is once again associated with thunder, which adds a massive effect to the drama. This is when there is a first mention of killing in the play when the witches are killing pigs, probably for spells. This is a small hint to prepare the audience for Macbeth killing the king later on in the play. One of the witches tells him about a spell she had put on a sailor's wife as proof of the power she possesses. The sailor suffered a "tempest tost", which takes us to James I, the newly appointed king in Shakespeare's time, who had survived a storm at sea. The witches were very stereotypical, they had the cauldrons, they could control storms, and they had black cats and could cast spells. Like the number 13 is apparently unlucky to us now, at the time people thought that the number 3 and multiples of 3 had a kind of supernatural characteristic to it. ...read more.


Lady Macbeth is like the fourth witch in this play but she is worse than the others because she is continuously by Macbeth's side, leading him towards his "future". She says "I fear thy nature; it is too full of the milk of human kindness", she recognises the goodness and innocence in him but she sees it as a weakness. She believes that he is not filled with the evil that comes with his ambition, the audience see her as a threat to his goodness. She says "chastise with the valour of tongue", which means that she will persuade him to murder by nagging him about it so much that he will have to do it to shut her up. She is very excited and begins to think about her evil plans when the messenger comes to say that the king is on his way to be their host, she says "he brings great news" only because she cannot wait to see the king dead. The most shocking part of the scene is when she says "Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty" because that means that she is giving her body over to the evil forces of darkness. She wants the Devil to take away any gentle, feminine side from her so that she can be truly inhuman. ...read more.

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