What techniques does Shakespeare use to position us to admire certain human characteristics but to condemn others?
How people deal with challenges in their lives show us how everyone has contrasting characteristics, some of which we condemn and others which we admire. Shakespeare demonstrates this to us in his tragic play Macbeth. Through the use of characterisation, vivid sight imagery and irony, Shakespeare makes us respect courage, nobility and loyalty to country but condemn ruthlessness, abuse of trust and abuse of power. Through the characterisation of Macbeth, Shakespeare demonstrates how the nature of ambition, which will at times lead to power and corruption, can cause us to condemn a once admirable man. Through characterisation, Shakespeare shows us that Macbeth’s loyalty to king and country is admirable. When Duncan is being briefed on the battle taking place in the beginning of the play, Macbeth is talked about as “brave Macbeth” “Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valor’s minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave; Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops, And fixed his head upon our battlements.” By portraying Macbeth’s character as the hero who slays the villain in a battle for the livelihood of Scotland, the reader immediately admires Macbeth’s loyalty to his country and the crown. Also the way others talk about him in awe and with great respect causes us to admire Macbeth’s character. Shakespeare shows that throughout the play, Macbeth’s ambition to be king causes him to turn ruthless in his desire to take over. Lady Macbeth believes Macbeth “Wouldst be great, Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.”(1,5,17-19) We find shortly after Duncan is killed that, Macbeth is willing to do anything in order to maintain his position as king. Killing anyone he believes to be standing in his way “The...
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