Exploration of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s attitudes to violence in Act 1 of the play ‘Macbeth’

Topics: Macbeth, Judi Dench, Lady Macbeth Pages: 3 (873 words) Published: November 1, 2014
Shakespeare presents the development of his characters by using several techniques and shows how they react towards the ideas or the actions of violence. Such as in Act 1, Macbeth is described to be “brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name” by the Captain as Macbeth had disemboweled and beheaded someone. It is clear that Macbeth is certainly prided for his prowess in the midst of battle and commended for his heroics which could suggest that Macbeth is able to kill others without a conscience. This also adds a sense of dramatic irony as later on Macbeth is bombarded with thoughts of guilt after he killed the king; this contradicts his previous title as “brave Macbeth” from when he was once highly regarded among his colleagues. In Act 1, Scene 3, Macbeth is foretold a prophecy by the ‘weird sisters’ which would alter his future. They hail Macbeth with three titles “Thane of Glamis”, “Thane of Cawdor” and “King”. Once Macbeth acquaints himself with the idea of being king, he contemplates murdering Duncan in order to obtain his role. This is because the witches had confirmed the first two titles they had given him, which had confided Macbeth’s confidence and fueled his ambition. Macbeth then says (aside) “horrid image doth unfix my hair” expressing that the thought of murdering the king makes his hair stand on end. He then continues to say that murder is completely saturating his thoughts and yet he can’t bring himself to act upon it due to him being so shaken. Since Shakespeare presents Macbeth deliberating his own thoughts, it allows the readers and audience to believe that Macbeth is being truthful and sincere. Additionally, it demonstrates that Macbeth may not be as violent as his colleagues perceive him to be as he is able to experience the distress that is accompanied by murder. In Act 1, Scene 7, Lady Macbeth has made her own observations on her husband’s virility and insults his manhood in order to convince him to murder Duncan. She says to him “when you...
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