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How does Macbeths portrayal change throughout the play?

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Introduction

2. How does Macbeth's portrayal change throughout the play? In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, Shakespeare cleverly develops the character Macbeth, and is able to express his theme of ambition and how this caused Macbeth's eventual downfall. Initially Macbeth is an honorable general, but was weak and unable to facilitate his power. By the end of the play Macbeth becomes intoxicated with power to the point where he is paranoid to lose it, causing him to ruthlessly kill any character who poses a threat towards Macbeth's position as king. Shakespeare is able shows the audience this transition of Macbeth through Macbeth's soliloquies, other characters perceptions, and Macbeth's interaction with other characters. The character Macbeth is first introduced in the play through a dialogue between Duncan and one of the Scottish Captains. Initially Macbeth is seen as a hero, who although is ruthless on the battlefield, is still honorable and carried out these violent actions for his country. Here the audience learns about the battle Macbeth just thought against the Norwegians, and how Macbeth and the Scottish are victorious. Duncan, who is the king of Scotland, expresses his satisfaction for Macbeth by exclaiming, "Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death,/And with his former title greet Macbeth."(I,ii,64-65)... "What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won." (I,ii,67). The King has now named Macbeth Thane of Cawdor. Shakespeare uses this in order to aid the audience in understanding the role and importance Macbeth has and the respect he has gained from his actions. ...read more.

Middle

She says that he is ambitious and wants this power, but is unable to obtain it by savage means. Lady Macbeth is able to recognize her husband's real abilities and through her comments the audience is able to better understand Macbeth. Act I scene v, further allows us to see this dominance that Lady Macbeth has over Macbeth, almost looking down upon her husband for being a coward, and dictating how he should act in front of the king to prevent his true intentions from being exposed. After Duncan has arrived and met Lady Macbeth, in Act I scene vii, Macbeth enters for a soliloquy where he undergoes a deep self-realization. Macbeth first states that if the murder guaranteed his position as king without having any repercussions in the afterlife, he would easily carry it out. However Macbeth feels as if he will reach the same fate as King Duncan did. "We still have judgment here, that we but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return To plague th' inventor: this even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice To our own lips."(I,vii,8-12) This soliloquy is key for the audiences understanding of Macbeth, as he admits his fatal flaw of ambition, "To prick the sides of my intent, but only/Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself/And falls on th' other."(I,vii,26-28). This is an important soliloquy where Macbeth reveals the thought process of his actions, but also helps the audience understand that ambition is driving him to make this decision, yet he is still willing to have the king killed by somebody else to gain the throne. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the death of Macbeth's wife in Act V, scene i, in Act V, scene ii, Macbeth's castle is being approached by the English army. The audience knows that because of the profit from the witches, that Macbeth cannot be killed by a mortal being born from the womb. In Act V, scene vi, the English troops are finally able to siege the caste walls. In Act V, scene vii, Macbeth finally puts his newly acquired 'power' to the test, taking on the army. At this point Macbeth is nearing his defeat, although he believes he is invincible. Finally in Act V, scene viii, Macbeth challenges Macduff to a duel, but then finds out that Macduff had been born via caesarian, which was not considered natural birth. Macduff defeats Macbeth, ending his reign and life. Throughout scene V, Macbeth does not feel intimidated by the approaching English army, but once he is faced with Macduff, he is defeated. Macbeth's ambition to stay in power ultimately led him to his demise. Through Macbeth's soliloquies, Lady Macbeth's perceptions, and the interactions Macbeth had with the other characters, ultimately lead to his greed to gain the throne and eventually his paranoia which ended his reign. Macbeth got to the stage where his friend became his enemy due to a struggle for power, and he was willing to take whatever action possible to maintain it. Shakespeare uses this character Macbeth to illustrate the power of ambition and how it can lead to one's downfall. ?? ?? ?? ?? English A1 SL Macbeth Essay ...read more.

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