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How does Shakespeare use language and dramatic devices to present Macbeths changing character?

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How does Shakespeare use language and dramatic devices to present Macbeth's changing character? All of us are given moments in our lives in which we must choose between goodness and greed, and, when we choose poorly, our lives, our families and even our countries turn out to be just as fragile as the decision we make. Macbeth finds this out after killing Duncan in his obsessive quest for power; he goes from being a battle winning hero to a hated king hunted by his past followers and friends. The play keeps the audience guessing by constantly altering Macbeth's appearance; as his character changes no-one knows what he is going to do next. As it was written around 1606, Macbeth is regarded as a tribute to the king at the time, James I. Before he became James I of England; he was King James VI of Scotland. It is also appropriate that this play features witches and witchcraft since King James wrote a book about witchcraft and as at the time of writing, witches were feared and, if accused, were executed. People of the time believed that witches had certain powers that included creating storms, having demon 'followers,' the ability to transform into animals and the prediction of the future. Because of this, they were believed to be completely evil. However, today witches are much of a myth and as a result; modern viewers would question just how 'evil' these witches are. ...read more.


The King has presented him with a new title and as Macbeth says, "He hath honour'd me of late". The king is also universally admired as a virtuous ruler. Macbeth compiles the evidence and decides to face the fact that there is no reason to kill the king other than his own ambition. This gives the audience a temporary restoration of their faith in Macbeth; they would conclude he is doing the right thing, despite what the witches have said. But just as the audience readjust, Lady Macbeth enters and tells her husband that the king has dined and has been asking for him. Macbeth then boldly and expectantly declares that he no longer intends to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth, outraged at this remark, calls him a coward and proceeds to question his manhood: "When you durst do it, then you were a man" (Act 1, Scene 7, Line 49) she says. He asks her what will happen if they fail; she says that if he is courageous then they shall not fail. She then tells him her plan: while Duncan sleeps, she will give his guards wine to make them drunk, so that then Macbeth can slip in and murder Duncan. She will then smear the blood of Duncan on the sleeping guards to frame them and leave Macbeth seemingly innocent. ...read more.


Nearing the end of the play, Macbeth sends murderers to kill Banquo and Macduff's family, this shows the 'transformation' is complete, his conscience had been locked up and the key thrown away, nothing anyone says changes his perception of his own actions. The fact Macbeth has the brawl to send people to kill his former friends and comrades shows how brutal and perverted his thoughts are now. Lady Macbeth's suicide seems to do nothing to Macbeth, emotionally he is unchanged, he just shrugs it off. In a way he is to blame, if at the beginning of the play he had refused to kill the king, then she would have retained her sanity and not have been driven to kill herself. Macbeth's death at the end of the play fulfils the witches' prophecy. Burnham woods come to Dunsinane and 'no man born of a women' killed Macbeth, although Macduff did kill Macbeth, he was not 'born' by the literal meaning, he was born by caesarean section, he says Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb, untimely ripp'd (Act 5, Scene 8, Lines 16 and 17). Making him the only man in the play that can kill Macbeth. Personally I think the play exploits people's beliefs at the time personally and portrays the inner turmoil of a now deranged man perfectly, as the curtains close on Macbeth's life, the audience feel no remorse, Macbeth has finally got what he deserves, an end to his life. ...read more.

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