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“How does Shakespeare present Macbeth as a disturbed character in Act 1 of Macbeth?”

By | September 2013
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“How does Shakespeare present Macbeth as a disturbed character in Act 1 of Macbeth?” William Shakespeare wrote the play “Macbeth” in 1606. It, as the title suggests, follows the story of a Scotsman named Macbeth and how, after the prophecy of three witches, sees his status evolve from a general in the Kings army to becoming the King himself. However the main theme that Shakespeare introduces in this play is the lengths man will go to fulfil ambition and the treacherous consequences that come with it. Not only do we see Macbeth’s status evolve but also his personality within. With each scene we see Macbeth succumb to the pressures of achieving power and how this affects his character as well. Act 1 of “Macbeth” truly, from the beginning, shows us a clear development of Macbeth’s disturbed personality not only through language but the context behind this tragedy. In Act 1 Scene 2 we are not introduced to Macbeth, but not directly. Shakespeare describes him as a ruthless, violent but brave soldier through the mouths of admirers. When the Thane Ross and a Captain describe Macbeth’s “brave” performance during a victory over Norway, we are immediately acquainted to the respect that he is held in. The Captain describes him in a very positive manner, “For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name” is a quote that clearly emphasises the admiration that fellow soldiers have for Macbeth. The use of the word “deserves” shows us that he has earned the right to be commended. However another interpretation of Macbeth’s heroics is possibly his ruthlessness. During his distinguishing, Macbeth is also described as quite a violent person. His fierceness is made apparent when the Captain conveys a very vivid explanation of how Macbeth killed a Norwegian, “Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps”. This description is very daunting to think about and Shakespeare leaves this image implanted in the heads of the audience. The use of the word “unseam’d” shows us Macbeth’s...
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