The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play Essay

2231 Words9 Pages
The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play


Macbeth was most likely written in 1606, early in the reign of James I, who had been James VI of Scotland before he succeeded to the English throne in 1603. James was a patron of Shakespeare’s acting company, and of all the plays Shakespeare wrote under James’s reign, Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright’s close relationship with the sovereign. In focusing on Macbeth, a figure from Scottish history, Shakespeare paid homage to his king’s Scottish lineage. Additionally, the witches’ prophecy that Banquo will found a line of kings is a clear nod to James’ family’s claim to have descended from the historical Banquo. In a
…show more content…
The conventions of a play like Macbeth are very clear, as Shakespeare presents them to the audience throughout. For example, when Macbeth is on stage on his own he has several monologues. These can be perceived as the character talking to the audience, as this empowers the audience, and the reader of the play. When characters are alone on stage they gain a greater meaning of the art form, and can relate to both the character on stage, and any political or cultural factor involved within the play. Moments like this in the play are easy for the audience to understand, Shakespeare clearly lays out the form for the audience throughout the play and this helps develop the meaning.

Macbeth is a famously violent play. Interestingly, most of the killings take place offstage, but throughout the play the characters provide the audience with gory descriptions of the carnage, from the opening scene where the captain describes Macbeth and Banquo wading in blood on the battlefield, to the endless references to the bloodstained hands of Macbeth and his wife. The action is bookended by a pair of bloody battles: in the first, Macbeth defeats the invaders; in the second, he is slain and beheaded by Macduff. In between is a series of murders: Duncan, Duncan’s chamberlains, Banquo, Lady Macduff, and Macduff’s son all come to bloody ends. By the end of the action, blood seems to be everywhere.
Get Access