Transformation In Macbeth

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In Shakespeare’s tragic works, protagonist characters often undergo subversion of their integrity to act upon the darker side of their humanity, creating pathos for even the most despicable actions. Shakespeare’s portrayal of Macbeth, a thane in WHAT century Scotland who rises to power, is no different, yet many readers would argue his actions are inexcusable. The play follows him through his initial victory on the battlefield as a brave Thane, fighting fearlessly and loyally for the king, who then encounters witches who prophecy of his coming kingship. He then feels that he must fulfill the prophecy by dark means, and kills the king, a fellow thane who suspects him, and plots to kill those who oppose him. Driven mad by the actions he committed,…show more content…
In addition, Lady Macbeth alludes to Macbeth’s history of visions and dissociation from reality, indicating that he was a man prone to disillusion (Shakespeare 3.4.52-53). The witches, based on the common belief system of the era, had supernatural knowledge of both future and present events; meaning they knew of Macbeth’s susceptibility to delirium. An analyst of Shakespearean tragedies comments on Macbeth’s weakness, writing “This propensity for hallucination gives the impression of a Macbeth not in control of his destiny, ironically being brought to act and to murder in a way which he does not entirely and consciously recognise as his own” (182 Lang). The witches foresee and use this characteristic to produce the escalation of darkness in Macbeth that lead to his actions. As a whole, INSERT CLOSING SENTENCE. DON’T LEAVE THIS HERE.
Following each time the witches connect with Macbeth, Lady Macbeth compounds the pressure Macbeth faces. When the witches prophecy that Macbeth will become powerful, his initial reaction is “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,” (Shakespeare 1.3.144). Contrary to this reaction, Lady Macbeth desires to take action, but worries that Macbeth will not have the strength of will to work for what he wants.
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Callously, she refers to her husband as ambitious, yet apathetic towards acting on his desires. Not only is this unkind of her, it supplies the notion that she knowingly pushes him, in the murder of King Duncan, to act upon what he would not otherwise pursue. An excerpt from the book Patterns in Shakespearean Tragedies commenting on her manipulation of Macbeth to force him into malevolent action, remarks “Avoiding any reference to reason or thoughtful behaviour. Lady Macbeth puts moral conscience to silence and tries rather to solicit Macbeth's imagination, subjecting action to "what thou wouldst highly", to absolute and still unexpressed desire (182 Lang).” This coercion is exemplified in Act 1 Scene 7, where Macbeth directly conveys to his wife that he will not kill Duncan (1.7.31-35). In response, she chastises him for withdrawing from the plan because of his fear, and forcefully telling him that this is what he needs, and appealing to his natural ambition. Further compounding her involvement, she uses a second tactic in the same scene in order to exploit Macbeth in his sympathy. Instead of allowing Macbeth to ruminate on his valued relationship with Duncan, she changes the subject, exclaiming that his desertion reflects on how he will treat her, appealing to his emotive side in a way he is unable to shake (1.7.36-39). By changing his easily
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