Macbeth – Character Changes
Written around 1606, Macbeth was a play set to entertain King James I. Before he became the English king, he was King James VI of Scotland so it made sense to Shakespeare to set the play in Scotland. King James also wrote a book about witchcraft and displayed an unusual interest in witches. Shakespeare managed to implement witches into Macbeth to please the King. In the play, Macbeth’s downfall is his ambition, he always wants to climb higher because of this he got himself stuck in a hole without love and friends as Shakespeare refers to using an autumn leaf as an example.
In Act 1 Scene 7 Macbeth’s relationship with his wife Lady Macbeth is very strong. Macbeth is very obedient to his wife, something that wasn’t common in the 1600’s as women were generally considered to be the weaker race. Macbeth knows what he is planning to do is wrong but his wife manages to manipulate his mind and convince him it’s the right action to take. For an example Macbeth stands up against the plan “I dare do all that may become a man” This means that he is a man but he does not dare to do more than man should do as then he would be subhuman. However Macbeth’s next line is “If we should fail?” It is clear that Macbeth’s mind has been manipulated.
In Act 5 Scene 5 we learn that Lady Macbeth has killed herself. Macbeth is not shocked by the news he just says “She should of died hereafter” This is evidence that Macbeth is no longer influenced by his wife It also shows that Macbeth cares more about the battle ahead than his wife’s wellbeing as he would of mourned her death if it occurred after the conflict.
In Act 2 Scene 2 Lady Macbeth accused Macbeth of being “brain-sickly” Shakespeare used irony by choosing her to say this as although Macbeth may of been inexperienced with murder then, after killing many men his wife’s death does not bother him. He is now anything but brain sickly and he is completely focused on the upcoming fight
In the run up to the assassination of Duncan, Macbeth confirms himself to Banquo as “A friend” This is ironic as Macbeth later goes on to kill Banquo. Macbeth informs Banquo that the three weird sisters do not tempt his thoughts “I think not of them”. Macbeth is lying, he is guided by their predictions and he is set into a false sense of security. The audience witness this later in the play when Macbeth convinces himself that Birnam wood won’t come to his castle and no man of a woman can kill him.
Despite the witches assurance Macbeth becomes very stressed in Act 5 Scene 3. He insults his servant who tries to inform Macbeth of the advancing soldiers “cream-fac’d loon” This is referring to the servant’s skin colour. Also it is ironic that Macbeth should call the servant a loon as Macbeth himself has become a villain along the course to the throne.
In Act 5 Scene 5 Macbeth also verbally abuses a messenger “Liar and slave!” This is ironic as Macbeth is a liar,...