Macbeth Essay

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Macbeth

In the final Act of the play Macbeth and his wife are described by Malcolm as “This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen.” Consider how Shakespeare introduces us to the character of Macbeth in Act 1.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and wrote 37 plays throughout his lifetime. He wrote Macbeth in 1606 and it is probably one of his best known plays. ‘Macbeth’ is one of Shakespeare’s great tragedies-the others being: King Lear, Othello and Hamlet. ‘Macbeth’ was written under the rein of King James I, so it is not surprising that the play is, in many ways linked to the King. It is a Scottish play (King James was the new Scots King of England). One of the central
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Duncan’s description of Macbeth shows his high opinion and regard for him.

At the beginning of the play we hear of Macbeth through the witches. They are meeting each other in stormy weather, which is significant because in the Jacobean period, people believed that violent storms were the sign of evil and were omens of strife for individuals and countries. From this scene we can see that Macbeth is going to be associated with evil throughout the play. We can tell this from the quote “there to meet Macbeth”. Perhaps the most significant line in the scene is

“Fair is foul and foul is fair!”

From this we can tell that things are not always as they seem. This may be a warning from Shakespeare that everything will not be as it seems in the play. The witches speak of meeting Macbeth “upon the heath” and this now makes us wonder what the link between Macbeth and the witches is. A heath is a barren place. It is a no man’s land, a space between worlds, and also this shows us danger. We are now questioning whether Macbeth is a dangerous person, or is Macbeth going to fight the witches? We have now learnt from this first scene that there is a sense of mystery and suspense around the subject of Macbeth. This suggests that Macbeth himself is mysterious and has a lot of hidden sides to him.

During Scene 2 Shakespeare makes various speakers

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