English Gcse Macbeth

Topics: Macbeth, Macbeth of Scotland Pages: 6 (2441 words) Published: January 15, 2011


Macbeth is a play that is written by William Shakespeare, who is a famous poet and playwright. William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth is a tragedy. The earliest account of its performance was from 1606.

Tragedies contain distressing events that involve the main character or characters. These types of plays usually contain the death of a liked character or the main character or characters. Macbeth’s genre is a tragedy due to some of its themes. One theme of the play that portraits a tragic event is the theme of ambition. This is where Macbeth gets the idea of being king, but for him to become king he kills multiple times by committing a murder himself or getting others to kill on his behalf, like with the killing of King Duncan, Banquo, Lady Macduff and her child, which are tragic events due to death. The other theme is prophecy where the supernatural exists with the three witches, who give the prophecy to Macbeth about him becoming king, and that’s where Macbeth’s ambition starts, which turns into evil and also leads to tragic events. There is also the theme of reality that shows a tragic event as this leads to the death of Macbeth. Due to his belief in his own invincibility and he is killed by Macduff.

A Greek philosopher called Aristotle said that all tragedies must have these characteristics: a man of high social standing, experiences a downfall, because of the flaw it is revealed only as a result of a tragic action of the narrative. Macbeth fits Aristotle characteristics by its structure of the play. It fits the characteristics by this: rising action of exposition is the very begging at the play. The complication, which is the witches’ prophecy, that leads to the rising action of the murders of people in the play. The climax is when Macbeth is the king. The falling action followers by Macbeth kills more to retain his title of king and Lady Macbeth dies and the catastrophe which is where Macbeth gets killed due to his ambition turning evil, and the resolution which is where Malcolm becomes king. The structure fits Aristotle characteristics as Macbeth the man with high social standing, experiences a downfall, which is the climax of killing for his ambition, which then, leads to a result of tragic action of which Macbeth the main character is killed.

In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare uses different types of language like verse, which is written as poetry. Most of it is blank verse and rhymed couplets. He also uses prose, which is everything that is not in poetry. In the play, Shakespeare uses a blank verse, which has ten syllables with five stresses in each line. Shakespeare uses rhymed couplets in Macbeth to let the audience know it’s the end of a scene due to the fact the theatres in the 16th and 17th century did not have curtains or lightening effects like ours today due to show the end of a scene. In Macbeth act 2 scene 3 Malcolm says at the end of the scene. “But shift away: there's warrant in that theft. Which steals itself, when there's no mercy left” Here is a rhyming couplet as the pairs of line rhyme by the words theft and left, by this rhyming couplet signals the audience and actors back then that it is the end of the scene. Macbeth also has prose language in the play. Shakespeare uses prose for those characters that have comic and low statuses, as the prose structure does not have a formal structure of poetry and it can mean many manners of ideas. In Macbeth prose is used when Lady Macbeth is sleep walking in Act 5 scene 1 when she says “Yet here's a spot.” The use of prose here shows Lady Macbeth is ill and going mad by her losing her high status as she speaks in prose which is normally used by low status characters.

Macbeth also uses paradox in some of his lines like with the witches saying at start in scene 1 act 1, “Fair is foul, foul is fair”. This quote from Macbeth is where the witches are saying things are not what they seem, but Macbeth writes the line differently than that in...
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