William Shakespeare wrote the story of Macbeth in roughly 1603. The play is set in Scotland during the 1200’s. The main storyline is about a Thane of Scotland who makes his prophecies come true by evil sins in attempt to become greater. It is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies: a drama of temptation, guilt and crime.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are husband and wife who’s titles change throughout the play. Macbeth starts as a sergeant and ends up as King making Lady Macbeth to be Queen. Their relationship undergoes many changes as different sides to each character are revealed. A loving and open relationship turns into a secretive and manipulative bond.
We see Macbeth at the start of the play in the opening battle. Macbeth comes across as very loyal, ‘ the service and he loyalty I owe, in doing it it pays itself. Your highness’ part is to receive our duties,’ he is pleased to serve his King, its shows loyalty and respect. Macbeth is told he will become Thane of cawdor and then later King. Macbeth is intrigued by their comments and asks questions. This shows he is inquisitive. The witches use ambiguous language, which does show appearances can be deceptive. Macbeth begins to try and relate to the prophecies and how they may come true.
Lady Macbeth comes across as a kind and loving wife at first impression; we soon learn that this is not the case. Macbeth obviously trusts his wife as he tells her about the witches. She reveals an evil side, ‘ unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty!’ she wants to be cruel have no conscience and go through with her plan to murder Duncan.
We see the plan being urged on by Lady Macbeth. Macbeth begins to feel it is a wrong thing to do, ‘ first, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed: then as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself’, Duncan is a guest in his home and he should be protecting his guests not harming them. Lady Macbeth is determined to become Queen. Duncan must be killed, she persuades Macbeth in various ways. She claims he is not man enough to kill Duncan he is nothing more than a timid coward. To make him feel even worse she says,’ had he not resembled my father as he slept I had done’t’, claiming she would of done it, a female, his wife brave enough to kill if it hadn’t of reminded her of her father.
Macbeth sets the scene up as though the guards have killed Duncan. This is an example of dramatic irony as we the audience know that in fact Macbeth was the murderer. The Macbeth’s are crowned King and Queen; it’s not as wonderful as they thought. I feel this is the turning point in their relationship, no happiness is left, it becomes all about ambition and wanting what you can’t have. Macbeth then comes up with a plot to kill Banquo. He doesn’t tell his wife about his plans, which is a significant difference, compared to the last murder plan where Lady Macbeth was persuaseding him.
Macbeth changes and suddenly he plans to kill many people for many different reasons. When he sees Banquo’s ghost he acts in a bizarre manner. Lady Macbeth covers for him as says to guests at the dinner party he is feeling unwell, this was an example of equivocation. After the witches prophecies Macbeth plots to kill the Macduffs. He has changed from a very scared man with a conscience to a cold-hearted killer. The Scottish Thanes say he feels no love and acts in command nothing more. I believe this is true.
Lady Macbeth’s final actions tell us about her character. She has nightmares and screams out, ‘ out, damned spot! Out I say! All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand’, she believes blood is still on her hand from the murder of Duncan. I feel this shows us she is guilty and regrets killing Duncan; she has many emotional scars left from his death. She thought becoming queen would have been a wonderful thing however it has destroyed her life and her relationship with Macbeth.
Macbeth’s actions in the end of the play can be seen as reckless and mad. He kills recklessly and then he has to face the army. He plans to fight the whole army instead of residing the throne, ‘ I’ gin to be a weary of the sun, and wish th’estate o’th world were now undone. Ring the alarum bell! Blow, wind! Come, wrack1, at least we’ll die with harness on our back,’ this is an example of rhyming couplets which are used when an important speech is being given. My final view of Macbeth is he is a cold and heartless killer.