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Influences That Lead To Macbeth's Downfall In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

3790 words - 15 pages

Influences That Lead to Macbeth's Downfall in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Macbeth is a play written by the famous playwright, William
Shakespeare. The play was started around 1603 but was only finished in
1606. The play is a tragedy and is one of the darkest of Shakespeare's
plays ever written. The play was originally written for King James I
when he came to the throne of England after Elizabeth had died.
Banquo, one of the characters in the play, is based upon one of the
Kings ancestors. The play is set in ancient Scotland where witches
roam the land and war is in the air as Norway try to invade Scotland.
Witches are a big part in this play, especially as in Elizabethan
time, when the play was written, the belief in witchcraft was vast.
Many people were drowned and burnt because they were thought to be
witches. Any earthquake, hurricane or unexplainable happenings were
blamed on witches. Males act out all of the characters in Macbeth, as
all actors in Shakespeare's time were male.

The play begins with three witches who would have possibly changed
from stones into human form. They would be wearing old cloth rags and
appear old and crooked with a few warts. The witches speak, in short
sentences and riddles like, "…foul is fair as fair is foul…" They all
huddle together and immediately involve Macbeth, "There to meet with
Macbeth!" This involvement of Macbeth with witches so early on in the
play invokes the idea that Macbeth might be evil. This contrast
between Evil and Macbeth is echoed in the next scene where there is a
big bloody battle and a valiant and courageous Macbeth battles his way
through an flood of soldiers, the Norman Soldiers, and a captain has
been sent to the king to report on Macbeth's progress.

The captain talks of how "The merciless Macdonald - Worthy to be a
rebel, for to that the multiplying villainies of nature do swarm upon
him - the Western Isles of kerns and galloglasses is supplied, fortune
on his damned quarrel smiling, like a rebel's whore." This gives the
image of a heartless King (of Norway) cowering behind his army as the
war battles on in front of him as lightly and heavily armed soldiers
swarm around him and all he can do is smile though he is losing.
Duncan then sends the captain to the surgeons when the captain
collapses on the floor, the captain says "But I am faint, my gashes
cry for help." Then King Duncan says, "Go get him surgeons." Ross and
Angus, both worthy thanes, then enter the scene and tell King Duncan
of how a disloyal traitor, the Thane of Cawdor, joined the Normandy
side in battle but now has been caught, "The Thane of Cawdor, began a
dismal conflict…" The King Then replies by making Macbeth the new
Thane of Cawdor to reward his bravery in battle, "No more that Thane
of Cawdor shall deceive our bosom interest…with his...

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