Macbeth William Shakespear Essay
The tragedy “Macbeth” written by William Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as a man who was once a great hero, that falls victim of his ambition for power. This ambition is induced by factors including Lady Macbeth, the witches prophecies and the guilt and remorse felt by Macbeth in regards to the deed he was to commit. These are the factors that contribute to the downfall of Macbeth.
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Lady Macbeth is characterized as an ambitious woman who can manipulate Macbeth easily. This is shown in (Act 1 Scene 5 line 25) when she says “That I may pour my spirits in thine ear”. She manipulates his self esteem by playing with his masculinity and his bravery.
Lady Macbeth feels she does not have the strength to commit the deed herself and therefore becomes successful in altering Macbeths ambitions. She says ‘unsex me here’ (Act 1 Scene 4; line 39) meaning that she could never have to position of power and rank that she pushes Macbeth to strive for. Through the laguage technique of Euphemisms, Shakespeare shows that Lady Macbeth has difficulty coping and facing reality. An example of this is the text is referring to the murder of King Duncan as ? the ‘deed’. Lady Macbeth describes the action of murdering King Duncan through the words ‘to catch the nearest way’.
The use of this euphemism to describe the action of killing Duncan can be seen as though she is trying to hide the harsh imagery of blood and violence in the action of murder. This is an example of Lady Macbeth’s diminishing sense of conscientiousness. The composer also uses vulgar language to express Lady Macbeths character. She says ‘Screw your courage to the sticking place’ in order to further manipulate Macbeth. Shakespeare uses the three witches to set the dark sinister tone of the play. They resemble fates, who sinisterly manipulate human lives and subsequently end them.
Sakespeare creates a mysterious and ominous atmosphere, indicating that ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair’ which suggests a change of values. “And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,The instruments of darkness tell us truths. “(Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 134 & 135) The comparison of the witches to “instruments of darkness” reveals their truly foul nature. Shakespeare is implying through Banquo that the prophecies of the weird sisters will only bring about Macbeth’s downfall. In addition, since Macbeth listens to the witches, he can be considered an “instrument of darkness” himself.
The witches prophecies are very powerful in their manipulation of Macbeth. Through equivocation, the composer expresses the theme of appearance vs real by making the Witches prophecies appear to be a good thing to Macbeth but in reality, they trick him into damning himself. The witches speak in rhyming couplets throughout the play, which separates them from the other characters. In act 1 scene 3 the witches greet Macbeth as ‘Thane of Glamis’, ‘Thane of Cawdor’ and as ‘King of Scotland’. This prophecy leads Macbeth to genuinely think about being in control and having power.
The audience views the witches as evil, having the capability of casting terrible events. However the witches cannot force Macbeth to do anything that he does not want to do. They merely revealed the future and chose to confront Macbeth at a time when he is most vulnerable, after the battle where he is feeling very proud of his achievements. Consequently, the witches certainly did have a role to play in Macbeth’s downfall, but if Macbeth had been more concerned with morality and ethics and less concerned about having power, control, and becoming king, he would have ignored the witches’ prophecy.
Prior to the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth is plagued by worry and almost aborts the crime. It is in Macbeths soliloquy, where the audience is made aware of Macbeths uncertainty about whether or not he should go through with the murder. “Is this a dagger which i see before me The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee” (Act 2 Scene 1 lines 41 ; 42) This extract shows how Shakespeare explores the theme of good and evil and how Macbeth is torn between the forces of good preventing the deed, and the forces of evil which seem to be aiding him in his crime.
In this scene, Macbeth also says “A dagger of the mind, a false creation Proceeding from the heat oppressed brain? ”. Macbeth wonders if this vision of the dagger comes from his feverish mind. He also decides that he is imagining things. He is not able to distinguish reality from imagination. It is obvious that Macbeth would like to think that the dagger is imaginary, but the guilt he feels at the thought of committing the evil deed is enough to make him think the dagger is real.
Although the murder has not yet taken place, Macbeth starts to feel guilt and remorse and is concerned of the consequences that may occur if he does murder King Duncan. His weakness is ‘valuating ambition’ meaning that following the deed, Macbeth will suffer the consequences. The appearance of blood on both the hands on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is an image that represents the guilt and fear of their brutal crime. In the use of personification, Macbeth imagines that the stones of the castle are alive and talking. His fearful imagination makes him afraid that the stones on which he walks will speak out and give him away, following the deed.
Perhaps the turning point of the novel in which Macbeth kills Banquo; his loyal friend due to the paranoia felt after the deed had been committed. Shakespeare uses an aside to express how Macbeth’s character begins to deteriorate. This aside is crucial because it foreshadows future events to come. “Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear” This text shows how the composer has used various language techniques such as commas and punctuation to break up the phrases into regular patterns, creating dramatic effect.
Shakespeare also uses irony to show how it is ironic that Macbeths quest for power and happiness would leave him weak and alone. Shakespeare uses this variety of techniques to portray how insanity had finally take over Macbeth and pushed him over the edge. In conclusion, it is evident that Macbeth is an ambitious man who is corrupted by the power he gains. The key influences that induce Macbeth into a down spiral are lady Macbeth, the witches prophecies and his own feelings of guilt. In the end it is Macbeths tragic flaw, vaulting ambition, which leads to his downfall.