C/W 6th March 2010 Macbeth Essay Shakespeare succeeds in making his audience understand and emphasise with a tyrant. He has many methods of executing this. For example, he makes Macbeth talk to the audience, explaining what he is feeling and what his true desires are. This is called a soliloquy; he uses many other techniques and I am going to clarify what they are. In the play Macbeth uses very dramatic language to emphasise his evil ways. ‘Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, and make my seated heart knock at my ribs, against the use of nature? Macbeth realises that thoughts of the deed, even before he does it, is against nature all together. The reflection of it seizes him in his step and makes his heart beat so furiously, like he is having a palpitation. This is the start of his evil ways and this provokes his thoughts into questioning whether he should do it or not. That quote before originates from his soliloquy and he explains his thought and feelings to the audience which makes them become aware of his true feelings. They can become more involved in his true feelings and can see the immense struggle that he is trying to come to terms with. The whole speech explains his exertion against his own mind. It seems that his bad thoughts are dominating his mind, and he can’t control them. Shakespeare uses this technique to show the personal progression of Macbeth and shows him gradually turning into a tyrant, that he becomes later in the play. However, in the early stages of the play, Macbeth is perceived as a very loyal and strong hearted man. The captain describes him as, ‘For brave Macbeth, — well he deserves that name, — disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, which smok’d with bloody execution. ’ They see Macbeth as a brave, loyal and bloody warrior. This makes him an unlikely victim for the king’s death later on in the play, because he seems very loyal to his king and country. No one would ever question his faithfulness after the heroic battle, were he risks his life for his people and country. Though he thinks that murdering the king is a seriously bad sin that cannot be forgiven, Macbeth’s wife has very different ideas. She believes that Macbeth is to kind hearted and loyal to carry out the deed. ‘Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great; art not without mbition; but without the illness should attend it. ’ She apprehends that it would be better to get the crown through truth and not doing the deed, but that could resort to taking years. She focuses on wanting to become Queen and experiencing the glory which comes of being royalty. This results in her trying to persuade Macbeth into doing the deed. Though she slightly changes his mind, Macbeth still has doubts about his decision and shows his feeling in the soliloquy before. The huge scene before Duncan’s murder, Macbeth considers everything that could happen. He starts questioning himself about what he believes and what he should do. He looks over his life and appreciates were he has gotten too. He would prefer to be crowned king through natural circumstances, but he believes that day may not ever come. Speeches leading up to the penultimate event outline his true feelings. He thinks of everything wrong with doing it. ‘Besides, this Duncan hath bourne, his faculties so meek, hath been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels. ’ This quote is Macbeth’s opinion on Duncan. He knows that Duncan is a very good king and is trying to think he would kill him. He shows that his mind is very disturbed and it seems that he doesn’t have control over it. Only determination is driving him forward, because his conscious mind knows that everything is wrong with doing the deed. The state he is in now is described and illusive and he is imagining everything he is witnessing. Also, at the start, Macbeth creates an image of a dagger with the handle towards his hand. ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee: — I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. This illusion states he true desires, because it seems he wants to clutch the dagger and wants to kill Duncan. He imagines, before the murder, the dagger coated in fresh blood, imitating the dagger in the future. Ultimately, he becomes quick witted and decides to murder the king. After the murder, Macbeth becomes aware of how horrible the deed was. It seems that the thought of becoming king subsided all other thoughts of consequences. His life becomes a misery after the murder with doubts whether his throne was safe. He says, ‘Than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy. This quote explains how he is coping. He seems to want to die instead of experiencing his badly affected conscience. Earlier on in the play the complete idea of killing Duncan originated from the witches of who he met before the news of him being given the title ‘Thane of Cawdor. ’ The witches tell him the news of what could be, but even though Macbeth is bemused by this news, his companion and friend, Banquo, reassures him that witches are wicked and their words are lies. Banquo and Macbeth are close friends in the play and that makes it even more horrific when Macbeth sends assassins to go and kill him. Macbeth knows that Banquo knows too much knowledge from the witches meeting, and he should not be trusted. Banquo could corrupt Macbeth. He describes the sensation as, ‘O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance lives. ’ He knows what the consequences could be if Banquo lives and comes to the conclusion of killing him. ‘Things bad begun made strong themselves by ill: so, pr’ythee, go with me. This quote shows how one bad deed links to another. This situation Macbeth is in makes the audience sympathise with him, because he can’t now stop himself from doing evil things. He has been so overwhelmed by evil that he has to kill one of his best friends. It has become so bad for him that the audience feels sorry that he has gotten himself into this position. However, the fact that he knew the consequences, before the murder of Duncan, makes Macbeth a complicated character. It seems that he knows what is right or wrong. He seems like a very noble, and truthful character, but as the story progresses, the image of him becoming king overwhelms his mind and he subsides all of his thoughts about what is right or wrong. Therefore, after he came to the conclusion of murdering God’s representative on earth he knows what he was becoming. When the night of the feast comes around, on the same day as the loss of Banquo, Macbeth is reduced to a guilty wreck when he witnesses Banquo’s ghost. This shows Macbeths struggle through the story. He quotes, during the feast, ‘I am in blood step’t in so far that, should wade no more. ’ This also shows that if he does so many positive deeds from then on, he can’t escape the horrible guilt he has. He almost gives away the truth, to the other guests, when he is imagining the ghost of Banquo. Lady Macbeth becomes the dominate character, when she covers for Macbeth’s disturbed state of mind. She comes up with many excuses and yet again, the couple have to cover up their deepest sins. Hence, this brings me onto the way Macbeth is affected by the bad deeds. The supernatural aspect in the play affects Macbeth the most. He witness’ a dagger when he goes to murder Duncan. At the feast he’s the only one who can see Banquo’s ghost. Some of this is mostly blamed on Macbeth’s imagination. When he goes and meets the witches for the first time, and hears their prophecies, he is very sceptical about them. However, after he hears that he has been promoted to Thane of Cawdor, he begins to believe the witches. Eventually, he thinks he can alter their prophecies, but in doing so they emerge to happen in a way he didn’t think they would. Consequently, this results in him falling to pieces and detaching from his conscience. Also, in the one of the most panicle scenes in the play, Macbeth is all alone and his wife is dead and yet he still is brave and fights to the death; though he knows that he is going to die by the mercy of Macduff’s sword. The great relationship that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have in the play, also shows the change in Macbeth when he doesn’t change state when his wife dies. ‘I have almost forgot the taste of fears: the time has been, my senses would have cool’d. ’ This makes the audience sympathise with him, because they have seen the struggle he has gone through. The fact that he has gone from the loyal soldier to this fearless murder makes Macbeth still seem a good man, because it has not been his entire fault this has happened and the audience understand his point of view. In conclusion, Shakespeare particularly uses Macbeth’s personality to show his true feelings and how he evolves into a tyrant. The language Shakespeare uses emphasises the quantity of all his feelings which shows the emotional struggle Macbeth goes through. Finally, ‘Macbeth’ was written for King James in his court. He was a descendant of Banquo and believed in witchcraft. The play was probably adjusted to please the King and tell him that his family was better than Macbeth’s. Though the play is false in history, Shakespeare has exaggerated Macbeth’s bad ways.
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