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Why Macbeth Becomes Ruthless In Shakespeare's Macbeth

1039 words - 4 pages

Macbeth is a tragedy of a Scottish general who dramatically “transforms” from being a noble and dutiful soldier to a ruthless butcher. This is a direct consequence of the supernatural world, his wife’s manipulation and persuasion, and Macbeth’s own ambition.

One of the main factors that influenced Macbeth’s transformation was the impact the witches and the super natural world had on him. It is an important theme as in Shakespeare’s day, the audience strongly believed in the existence of witches, the power they contained, and the substantial evil intentions they had. “I’ll drain him dry as hay, Sleep shall neither night nor day”. The weird sisters were the creatures that created the concept of a supernatural world, and their absence in the play would mean the whole perception of evil would be under developed.
In the opening of the play, Act 1 Scene 1, the witches were awaiting Macbeth and instantly danger to him is established. The scene starts with lightening and thunder which gives dark imagery and suggests immorality, which proves stage effects do have an impact on the mood of the play. The witches equivocated, for example in the line, “Fair is foul and foul is fair”, supports their intentions were made to manipulate and confuse Macbeth. It illustrates their subvertion of religion and society and other natural events.
The reason to why the ‘imperfect speakers’ had such a powerful control over Macbeth was mainly because they deceived him and failed to inform him of the whole truth. “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis… Thane of Cawdor… that shalt be king hereafter.” Macbeth’s rapt and fascinated reaction to this prophecy reassures the evil ‘servants of satan’ that they have engrossed and hypnotised him, which shows that they already have influence over his possibly-innocent actions.

Another feature that had effect on Macbeth’s tragic failure was a powerful domination from his wife, Lady Macbeth. By Shakespearean standards, as Lady Macbeth’s wicked actions imply she is witch-like, she could be considered and classified a witch at that time. As the weird sisters undermined the usual arrangements of society, Lady Macbeth subverted the typical order of sexes within man and wife. During the period which Shakespeare wrote in, women’s status in society was not equivalent to men, they were inferior to them, and their role was to encourage and support any of their husband’s decisions. As their value was subordinate this would result to shocking Shakespeare audiences, due to Lady Macbeth’s authority between her and her husband.
Immediately, after reading Macbeth’s letter, Lady Macbeth’s malevolence urges her to plot the murder for the king. She decides to encourage Macbeth and calls for evil spirits to aid her brutal plans, “Come, you spirits… you murd’ring ministers… You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night”. Her talk about defeminising herself and making her the superior amongst the couple, “That tend on mortal...

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