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Essay on The Character of Macbeth

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The Character of Macbeth

From noble Macbeth to this dead butcher.

People of Shakespear's time are often thought of as Elizabethans but in fact Macbeth was written when Queen Elizabeth was on her deathbed and had appointed James the VI of Scotland her successor.Shakespeare wrote the play with this new king in mind. The basic story of Macbeth follows that of the "Chronicles of Scotland" a history book of the time. The real-life Banquo was guilty but since he was an ancestor of James I Shakespeare makes him innocent.

At this point in history people believed in the devine right of kings -- that kings were appointed by God. Therefore killing the king was far worst than ordinary murder because you were committing a crime against God.

Macbeth is a tragic hero who has a fatal flaw his ambition, which ultimately leads to his demise.

The first impression we get of Macbeth in the play is from the "Captain" in Act1, scene2. He is brave Macbeth who has ripped Macdonwald open from navel to jaw. From this early indication we can see that Macbeth is a fierce and bloody man at this point his speech gives the impression of Macbeth as a hero but it foretells of decent of Macbeth from hero to butcher.

Macbeth can only be brave when he knows what he is doing and feels justified in doing it. He feels like this at the beginning of the play when he is prey to doubts and fears. We first see Macbeth afraid when he thinks of murdering Duncan it makes his hair stand on end and his heart pound. In Act2, scene 1 when Macbeth makes his "Is this a dagger…" speech he is horrified at the murder he is to commit, afraid that even the stones he walks on will give him away. In Act2 scene 2 after having committed the murder he is hysterical. I...


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... in blood. Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er."

In Act 5 we see Macbeth riding into battle still clinging to the witches' assurances that he cannot be beaten. When he realises that he has been tricked and when his wife dies he begins to despair. Disillusioned and friendless hid pride will not let him surrender so he fights fearlessly to the bitter end.

In this play we see the tragic hero go from loyal servant to becoming a devious murderer no longer with the conscience he shows before killing Duncan. Macbeth's belief in the supernatural, the ease which he is lead and his ambition are his main enemies all leading to a short period of success but ultimately to despair. We also see Macbeth go from brave warrior to coward and back to brave warrior in Act 7 the only one of his qualities to return by his death.



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