Characterisation in Macbeth

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In William Shakespeare’s "Macbeth", the audience witness’s one man’s overriding ambitions resulting in consequences both for himself and those around him. In the play the main character is heavily influenced and persuaded by external forces, particularly the supernatural and the immense ambition of Lady Macbeth In Act I, Shakespeare set the scene for what is to prove the pivotal part of the play, the death of King Duncan. Therefore, through act one the audience’s perception of Macbeth changes completely. The character who entered the stage at the beginning is, in the eyes of the audience, completely different person from the character at the end of the first act. He transforms himself from a man of deep morality and honesty to one who is prepared to kill the sovereign king. Even before Macbeth himself appears on stage, he is discussed in admiring terms by the king and the king’s eldest son 'Malcolm´. They speak of Macbeth in such glowing terms following his recent successes in the battlefield, whilst in the service of the King. In act I scene 2 a captain describes how Macbeth killed McDonald in battle. McDonald is a traitor and this further elevates his stature amongst the king and his followers. "Captain: … but alls too weak, for brave Macbeth where he deserves that name.’’ In hearing Macbeth had been described in such praise worthy terms, Shakespeare drives the audience to view the lead character with the highest regard. Macbeth comes across as an honest, obedient and most loyal servant to the king.

Shakespeare was interested in witchcraft and the supernatural. Furthermore, he liked plays that dealt with the concerns of royal life, for example, loyalty, family ties and most importantly public perception of the monarchy. Hence the issues of personal power, trust and ambition are fundamental to the play. The audience is highly approving of Macbeth initially. This sense of approval and admiration is further emphasised by the award...
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