William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

3197 words - 13 pages

William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Macbeth was written by William Shakespeare, it was one of his most
famous plays, for its great storyline and strong characters. One of
the characters, Lady Macbeth has a great significance to Macbeth's
downfall. To understand more about how the witches and Lady Macbeth
have this great effect on Macbeth, we must understand the historical
and social context. At the time when Macbeth was written, in 1605,
James I was the king of Scotland and England. James was a protestant,
and many Roman Catholics did not agree on this they wanted a Catholic
ruler, many tried to plot against him, including Guy Fawkes. James
liked drama and especially enjoyed Shakespeare's plays. So this was a
way for Shakespeare to please James I. Shakespeare was also popular
with his audience. In the C17th, people were great believers in
supernatural beliefs, including witchcraft. It did not take a lot for
people to believe that witches were real. So that the witches could
have an evil influence on Macbeth was a believable concept to
audiences of the time. The women in C17th kept a low profile, their
only status was through their husband. If their husband was rich then
they would be also.

The story of Macbeth is about a man's downfall due to bad influences
and his ambitions and growing ego. The story is about three witches
who prophesy that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor, thane of Glamis
and King of Scotland. After telling Macbeth of this Macbeth becomes
eager and ambitious to become king. His over-ambitious wife influences
Macbeth to kill King Duncan so that he will become king. From then he
kills his best friend Banquo and his family, because he is afraid of
him. The witches make three more prophecies to Macbeth, which makes
Macbeth think that he is unstoppable. Soon after Lady Macbeth goes mad
and kills herself, and a group of rebellions go against Macbeth.
Macduff then kills him, and Banqou's son becomes king just as the
witch's first prophesised.

Macbeth's character starts off strong, brave, noble and loyal,
everyone respects him and honours him. "For brave Macbeth, well he
deserves that name" (1.2, line 16). He had become the hero of the war,
defeated a traitor to King Duncan and became greatly respected. We
hear all of this before Macbeth even enters the play; he is the centre
of attention.

The play begins with the witches. They are introduced to the audience
with thunder and lightening. They are seen chanting and they vanish in
the mist. This short scene sets the mood for the rest of the play.
When the witches say, "Fair is foul and fair is foul," it puts across
that the witches are hags and are vile. This develops the plot as it
suggests that sinister things will happen. We are made aware that the
play focuses on the evil through the use of darkness, thunder...

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