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Macbeth Essay

By joanaesp7 Apr 18, 2013 1271 Words
Joana Espinoza
Period 4
English honors
Macbeth Essay

Darkness
Macbeth is a play which, through the protagonist’s interaction with a variety of dissimilar characters, explores the adventures of a tragic hero. Macbeth is introduced in the play as a hero. He is a brave warrior in the battlefield and wins his respects among the others and is made a worthy than by King Duncan. But after hearing the prophecies from the witches, Macbeth is confused. After Lady Macbeth successfully persuades her husband to commit the murder of Duncan, Macbeth seems to be most human and sympathetic. However by Act 3 Scene 2, Macbeth presents himself as an evil villain. In this Act, Macbeth’s speech is dark. Straight after Banquo was killed, Macbeth pulls himself into other terrible deeds; he tries to challenge the witches and to disregard their prophecies. The murder of Macduff’s family reduces Macbeth’s human characteristics even more. Macbeth “wades” through the “river of blood” and cannot stop himself from doing the dirty deeds. When Macbeth encounters Macduff at the end in the battlefield, Macbeth’s own excessive pride has brought him to his tragic downfall. The witches in the play represent the forces of darkness and the world of evil. In Act 1 Scene 1, it displays an image of disruption of natural order, a world full of evil and foulness. The witches are the ones who have awaked Macbeth’s ambitious and the darker side of his character. The witches tell Macbeth that he is Thane of Glamis, he will be Thane of Cowdor and he eventually be the King of Scotland. Both Banquo and Macbeth ignore the prophecies until Macbeth is announced to be Thane of Cowdor. Macbeth is more ambiguous. His speech is full of what he will become: “This supernatural soliciting/cannot be ill; cannot be good” No matter how bold and strong Macbeth is in the battlefield, he was shaken by the truth of the prophecies. The line “Nothing is, but what is not” is ambiguous and shows Macbeth is in confusion. Soon after the murders of Duncan and Banquo, Macbeth comes to visit the witches again. But before the “something wicked” is coming, the witches are mixing their potions for Macbeth’s arrival. It is quite interesting to see that if we add up all the ingredients, we can get a monster. This may suggest that Macbeth, after the successive murders, is now a half-man, half-monster. In Act 4 Scene 1, when Macbeth revisits the witches, he speaks in extraordinary boldness; he tries to challenge the witches’ prophecies. He commands the witches to answer him. Although this language may match his status as a King, note that the witches in the play are also representing fates. So this mean, Macbeth is trying to disregard fate and this contribute to his downfall. Superficially, Macbeth seems to be ungrateful to the witches but really, he is so dependent on them and their prophecies. His demand for more prophecies and explanations from the witches shows that he is superstitious. The role of the witches in to reveal Macbeth’s potential to be evil. Banquo is put in the play as a parallel figure to Macbeth. He reflects the strength of will and self control. When he first hears the prophecies from the witches, unlike Macbeth, Banquo is aware of the possibility that the prophecies may have been the work of supernatural dark forces, as shows in his lines “What? Can the Devil speak true?” and “oftentimes, to win us to our harm. / The instruments of Darkness tell us truths and only to betray us”. Even though the witches tell Banquo that his sons will become the King, he is less ambitious and does not fill his brain with “horrible imaginings”. Since Macbeth believes the witches’ prophecies, he knows he has to get rid of Banquo. Firstly, Banquo has seen him in the night of the Duncan’s murder. Secondly, the witches tell Banquo that he will be the father of the Kings. Macbeth has described himself as having a “fruitless crown and a barren scepter” if he can’t have a heir. So, Macbeth orders murderers to kill both Banquo and his son. In this act, Macbeth is starting to sink deeper to the “river of blood”. First, Macbeth betrays his King then now he betrays his friend, Banquo, out of great jealousy. Macbeth speech is full of dark words such as , “bat” and the “shark-born beetle”.  He is also speaking that his mind is “full of scorpions”. These speeches in Act 3 are very similar to the ones which has spoken by Lady Macbeth before in Act 1 and 2. that means Macbeth is now the more dominant than his wife and he is stronger than her. Though he is not in more control than his partner. Ever since the murder of Duncan, “Macbeth has murdered sleep, Glamis shall sleep no more”. Macbeth’s mental instability is evident. For in Act 3 Scene 4 he sees Banquo’s ghost. “Can such things be and overcome us like a summer’s cloud, without our special wonder?” This response shows that Macbeth’s mind is deceiving him. Three time he sees the ghost and three times he recovers his senses. This further emphasizes the loss of control in Macbeth’s mind. Banquo’s interactions with Macbeth illustrate the realities of Macbeth evil and his unmerciful acts. Macduff shows the extent of Macbeth’s savagery and tyranny. He is also put in the play to contrast Macbeth’s evil acts. Macduff is a hero; he does things that are not simply out of revenge but are with good purpose. He is very significant in the play: first, he discovers Duncan’s body. Second, the news of the death of his family makes him swears to take revenge upon the tyrannical Macbeth. When Macbeth revisits the witches, one of the apparitions has told Macbeth to “Beware Macduff, Beware the Thane of Fife.” So, Macbeth once again orders murderers to kill Macduff’s family. The using of other men to do Macbeth’s own dirty deeds shows that Macbeth is politically strong but mentally weak. Even so, Macbeth still has a glimpse of humanity. Even though “Birnam wood has come to Dunsinan”, Macbeth rather “die with harness on our back”. Than flee. Although this is partly because of Macbeth believing in personal invincibility “no man of woman bron shall harm Macbeth”, it is also because Macbeth is still a true soldier. The combat between Macbeth and Macduff is very important for we see the character of Macbeth of the end of his life. In the combat, it seems that Macduff is the hero and Macbeth is the villain, despites Macbeth being so strong in the battlefield. The contrast between hero and villain is shown when Macduff cries out, “I have no words/ my voice is in y sword.” It is Macduff’s silence that contrasts with Macbeth’s empty rhetoric. And it is in this scene that the tyrannical usurper of Scotland meets his death. Macduff represents the natural order, while Macbeth represents destruction and chaos. All three characters, the witches, Banquo and Macduff play a crucial role in demonstrating Macbeth’s propensity for evil. Yet, Macbeth is a sympathetic character. He starts off as a hero but at the end of the play, he ends up as a villain and dies. This shows the tragic downfall of a man. If Macbeth can make the right choice in Act 1 in not believing the witches’ prophecies, he can probably avoid the murder of Duncan and the other murders as a result. Though Macbeth has acted cruelly, sinfully and tyrannically, he is still a tragic hero.

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