At the very beginning of the play Macbeth was killing innocent people in battle. But he was seen very brave and heroic. On the battle field was where he felt most comfortable and in his element doing what he does best. But there is a major difference, at the being of the play he is working for the king but towards the middle and end he is trying to plot against the king. At the end of the play people call him a ‘tyrant’.
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In the 1600’s it was believed that a kings right to rule his people was a grant from God. He is promoted because of his good character and decides that he will not kill King Duncan, because he knows that it completely wrong and he has limits. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth ‘We will proceed no further’ but lady Macbeth has the capability of convincing him to murder the king, by threatening to take away her love for him if he does not. This threat wins Macbeth over and Lady Macbeth outlines a plan to kill Duncan while he is asleep and a guest at their castle. Macbeth was impressed with her plan and this made him even more determined to carry out the murder. Lady Macbeth was very much in control at this part of the play, it was as if she could convince Macbeth do whatever she wished. Macbeth arranged for his good friend Banquo to be murdered, he feels extremely guilty but Lady Macbeth tries to strengthen Macbeth. In both of the murders Macbeth as come across as weak and easily led. Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost at the party, this forces lady Macbeth to end the party early to avoid any further suspicions about Macbeth’s sanity and their involvement in recent events (the murder of King Duncan). Even at this point lady Macbeth in still in control and trying to keep Macbeth sane.
Macbeth knows that he cannot kill Macduff so instead he decides that he shall murder all of his family. Macbeth goes from being very against the idea of murdering someone to be king (Duncan) planning many different murders. It seems as if Macbeth would do absolutely anything to become the next king. I do not think that killing Macduff’s family had anything to do with Macbeth wanting to be King, I believe Macbeth at this point was very un-controllable. Macbeth started doing things he wanted his way, I think that as soon as Lady Macbeth stopped getting involved with what Macbeth was doing, he began to do unreasonable things.
Lady Macbeth started full of confidence and hoped to be ‘unsexed’ and appealing to dark forces and to fill her with “direst cruelty.” She gives Macbeth advice about how Duncan should be killed. But in the morning when she is informed about the murder of King Duncan she faints. She may have done this to keep everyone away from asking any further questions or it could be genuine. I think that her fainting is genuine, as she realises the enormity of what her husband as done. I do not think Macbeth would have gone along with murdering the king if it wasn’t for lady Macbeth. She cleverly persuaded him to do it by questioning his masculinity. But her conscience grows, and she eventually turns mad. She began to sleep walk, sleep walking was seen as possession and being evil. She was haunted by visions of Duncan’s blood on her hands that she cannot wash off ‘Out damn’d spot’. The murders that her husband took care of, which were largely instigated by her made her guilt turn into madness. She also blamed herself for acts that Macbeth chose to do by himself i.e. the murder of King Duncan’s son and wife. Lady Macbeth dies but Macbeth didn’t seem very bothered and thought that he had more important things to worry about so he coldly shrugged the news that his once “dearest chuck” was dead.
Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s relationship changed dramatically as different thinks in the play happened. It was as if they changed roles for instance lady Macbeth seemed to the confident one at the start but then ended up going insane. I think that as soon as Macbeth stopped listening to Lady Macbeth things began do go extremely wrong.
Overall, I believe that Macbeth being described as a ‘butcher’ is a fair assessment, but how he was perceived by other people changed drastically throughout the play. At the start being described as a butcher was seen as ‘brave’ and worthy but at the end Macbeth was called a ‘tyrant’.
Alisha Sapra 4R
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