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A Reflection Upon Macbeth Essay

3196 words - 13 pages

A Reflection Upon Macbeth


For this English assignment I am going to write about William
Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”. Through this essay I am hoping that I
will be able to comment upon many things about the story of Macbeth,
for example the actions of the characters.

I will only be monitoring two of the scenes, these are Act 1 scene 3
and Act 4 Scene 1 as I see these as the most influential scenes in the
play and they each show how the play is progressing and the changes in
the characters as the story is unfolding. They are also the scenes
which feature the witches.

Macbeth was first performed in 1606, early in the reign of king James
I, who had succeeded queen Elizabeth, and during the time the theatre
was becoming more popular between all the different ‘classes’. The
play would be performed in front of a crowd who, if they did not like
the play, would walk out and leave. The play was performed by men only
because of the Elizabethan beliefs of women’s roles in society.

Elizabethan Beliefs

The Elizabethans believed that witches were evil and they were seen as
being the devil on earth, all Elizabethans that would see this play
thought this and would, when they saw the witches, automatically
dislike the witches. In the play Shakespeare presents the witches as
evil, unpleasant characters throughout the whole play. It is
ultimately they who are responsible for the killing spree that Macbeth
embarks upon, as it was they who planted the idea that he may one day
become king. This raging ambition led the once noble Macbeth to murder
king Duncan, and then to brutally kill many other innocent people in a
bid to secure the crown, and when the play was first performed, the
audience would already have strong convictions about witches and their
powers and believed that they could:

· Speak with the devil, and with his help communicate with the dead.
It was also believed that witches worked for the devil.

· See into the future, meaning that they would be able to give people
ideas about what will happen to them in the future and inevitably
shape peoples lives in a way that they would see as entertaining.

· Make people fall ill by using spells and potions, as well as causing
droughts amongst other things to make peoples food supply grow stale
and decrease making people suffer from hunger and a lot of the time
die from the hunger that they were feeling.

· Fly through the air on a household broomstick and become invisible
to the human eye so they could do whatever evil things they wanted to.

· Cause bad weather like storms to affect ships, and make them become
lost at sea and never return home, and kill crops so that there would
be less food for the people who grew the crops and also less money for
those who decided to sell their crops.

· Use animals...

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