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Macbeth: the breakdown of character

Uploaded by Admin on Mar 21, 2000

The two main characters in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, are Macbeth himself and his wife Lady Macbeth. Their marriage seems to be mainly one of convenience for Lady Macbeth, but for Macbeth it is clearly more than that. He loves his wife, and she takes advantage of that for her own gain. She is continuously making him feel guilty, for being weak, and for not being able to give her a child, as is suggested by her words, "I have given suck and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me". She also challenges his manhood, through words such as, "When you durst do it, then you were a man, and, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.", which loosely means, Be a man, and then I will admire you. Macbeth is originally a hero to Scotland, and a strong character. He is a Lord under the rule of King Duncan, and has no reason to feel unhappy with his position. It is only after the prophecies of the Weird Sisters, that he begins to long for the throne of Scotland, and even then needs Lady Macbeth to convince him to commit the murder. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, begins as pure evil, and remains that way. She has previously been married, and is therefore presumed older and trickier than Macbeth. She appears to always be using him for her own gain, by using her femininity to seduce him into doing the wrong thing, and in this way she persuades him to kill the king. When Macbeth hears the prophesies of his future, he appears to disregard them, but when he is made Thane of Cawdor (as foretold), he already is considering murdering the king: "My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man that function is smothered in surmise and nothing is but what is not.". It is perhaps for this reason that he writes to Lady Macbeth, as though prompting her for some persuasion for him to kill Duncan, and she later refers to this as his agreement on the murder:"Nor time nor place did then adhere, and yet you would make both"; basically meaning that he was prepared to kill him before, and now he is too weak to go through with it. The breakdown of both characters is revealed through their soliloquies. In...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   03/21/2000

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   5 pages (1,220 words)

Views:   1649

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