How does Shakespeare use language to explore and expose the characters state of mind?
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In this essay I will tell you about Macbeth and what he is thinking and what his state of mind is throughout the play.
Macbeth is a play about the character experiencing a tragic story. He turns from a good, loyal, brave man to an ambitious murderer. The reason for this is the witches. The witches talk to Macbeth telling him that he is going to be king, this causes Macbeth to think about it, he likes the idea of being king so how tries to do anything he can to be king, even killing. But in the end he falls for the witches tricks and he ends up dyeing himself.
We first hear about Macbeth in the start of the play when captain is talking to the king about the war going on, we hear him when he says to the king we was losing the war then brave Macbeth came along and we won our war. We hear this ‘Showed like a rebel’s whore. But all’s too weak, for brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name’. We hear that he is a good, brave, loyal man you can trust. Later on in the play we meet Macbeth with Banquo. He meets witches and the witches talk to him and call him king and say your going to be king and Banquo will have kings. When he meets them he act normal like every other person will he just forgets about them and carries on walking ignoring them. We hear this in the play ‘All hail Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter’. ‘Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none’.
When Macbeth first hear this he forgets about it but a bit further on he thinks about this he becomes curious because he thinks how I can ever be king, this is because in the time of Shakespeare people had a strong belief in witches. This prediction of the witches confuses him because he can be the king because it was the witches’ predictions. Macbeth is also curious as well, this leaves him with mixed feelings. This curiosity takes over his feelings so he asked for them to speak more because he wants to find out more, so he ask for more information from the witches, ‘Stay you imperfect speakers. Tell me more.’
This shows us that he is interested in the prediction and he likes the idea of being king. He is happy to hear this from the witches but he is finding it hard to believe it is a good thing, because this good is coming from the bad (witches). This leaves him confused again, well even more confused. A bit later on in the play the witches’ first prediction becomes true and Macbeth becomes Thane of Cawdor. ‘Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?’ Macbeth says this when they make him Thane of Cawdor. He gets confused because the Thane of Cawdor is still living so he tells them. ‘The Thane of Cawdor still lives’. They tell him that the public claimed to overthrown him.
As we go on the witches unsettle Macbeth because in the time of Shakespeare they had strong beliefs witches .They believed that they can see the future and only do badly to people so they were all afraid of witches. They also believed that they had the power to change the weather. After he thinks about what has happened to him. His word are (in his mind) ‘Cannot be ill, cannot be good,’ ‘If good, why do I yield to that suggestion,’ ‘And why does my seated heart knock against my ribs’. At this present moment he cannot make up his mind, he is confused, the like the idea of being king but his something is telling him it’s not right, he can’t tell what.
He has mixed feeling at this moment, he is confused and is feeling happy because he is Thane of Cawdor, but as I said his having troubles living his life this way. Later on he accepts being king, but he gets angry. This is due to the reason that the witches told Macbeth that he would be king next in line but the king say that his sons are going to be king after him. ‘Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter The Prince of Cumberland. This makes him angry because Macbeth was told he was going to be king by the witches, but when the find out he is not the next king inline he doesn’t like the sound of that. We can tell that he is angry because Shakespeare is clearly telling us this in the play when Macbeth says, Stars, hide your fires, Let not light see my black deep desires,’ . Let not light see my black desires, tell us that Macbeth is thinking evil and telling us that he will do anything to be king.
Then we find out that Duncan (The King) is going to go to Macbeth’s house as a guest. Then Macbeth lets Lady Macbeth know about this. He writes a letter to her letting her know about the witches’ predictions. Then Lady Macbeth tells us about Macbeth. She is getting worried about what has been happening and we can see when she says ‘I do fear thy nature’. She believes that Macbeth is too kind and is too good to fall for the witches plans and is too kind. We see this when she says ‘It is too full of the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way ’. Lady Macbeth sees her role in making Macbeth king as if it her job and only she can do it. She thinks to herself and decides to persuade him to do what it takes to make him king. We understand this when she says ‘Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear .’ This can also tell us that Macbeth is easily led, so this can be a weakness which he has that has made him fall for the witches plans.
As we go on in the play Macbeth arrives home and lets Lady Macbeth know of the kings arrival. Then as we move further on in the play, Macbeth has doubts. He can’t decide if he should kill Duncan or not. He weighs out his thoughts; he thinks and decides not to kill Duncan due to many reasons. Firstly he thinks about vengeance to himself saying the killer will be killed, we see this when he says ‘Bloody instructions, which being taught, return’. Secondly he thinks about kinship because Duncan is Macbeths relative and he says to himself you don’t kill relatives, we see this when he says ‘First I am the kinsman and his subject’. Thirdly he thinks about loyalty because the king respects the king and we see this when he says ‘Strong both against the deed; then as his host,’ he carries on with his thoughts and turns to hospitality and says to himself a host doesn’t kill his guest. We see this when he says ‘then, as his host Who should against his murderer shut the door.’
Then he thinks about Duncan’s good qualities, firstly everyone likes the king and he is a good king. We know this when he says ‘So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels’ this tells us that everyone like the king. The he thinks he will be damned for ever if he kills the king we see this when he says ‘ The deep damnation of his taking off’ and he also knows and thinks that murder is unnatural to innocent humanity and to Heaven. The he knows that people will cry after the king because as I said we know his a good person as we see in the play ‘That tears shall drown the wind’, and he realises that ambition is his only motivation to kill Duncan. We learn about this when he says ‘Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself And falls on th’other’. Macbeth weighing out his thoughts tells us that Macbeth is worried and a clever person to take what he is doing to guarantee, because he is going for the choice that will make the best of the situation.
He is intelligent to do this , because he is worried to go into bad because he decides to not kill him when he adds up the advantages and disadvantages, this also tells us that he can be a good man and do what’s right. But later on in the play he changes his mind, and Lady Macbeth persuades him to change his mind. She does this by calling him a coward firstly, calling him a coward because he can’t kill someone. She says this to him when she says ‘Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem’.
Then Macbeth is still not convinced. The Lady Macbeth tells him that he is not a man if he don’t kill Duncan, we hear this when she says ‘When you durst do it, then you were a man. And to be much more than what you are’. Then Macbeth tells her ‘If we fail’ then Lady Macbeth goes ‘We fail But screw your courage to the sticking-place And we’ll not fail’ Lady Macbeth starts to tell him how they will kill Duncan, and after all Macbeth is persuaded t kill Duncan. This tells us again that Macbeth is easily led and is faint hearted.
When Macbeth is going to kill Duncan he pictures an image of a dagger. We know this when he says ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me’. At this moment of the play we can clearly see that Macbeth is worried, scared, and paranoid. If he wants to be king so much then he will have to kill the king, and this makes him worry if he gets caught and he is paranoid, we can tell because he is seeing images of daggers that are not really existing. As we go on we can also see that Macbeth is not at himself and he knows this because he says ‘Mines eyes are made the fools o’th’other senses’. At a moment Macbeth gets scared to kill Duncan we know this when he says “I’ll go no more”. Then he sees the image of the dagger again so he carries on and goes and kills Duncan. After he kills Duncan he is afraid of what he has done, he tells us this “I am afraid, to think what I have done: Look on’t again, I dare not”. This clearly tells us that he is scared and worried.
After the murder of the Duncan, Macbeth kills his fellow general Banquo. He kills Banquo because Banquo figures out that Macbeth killed Duncan, because Banquo was with Macbeth when he heard the witches’ prediction at the start. This is what makes Banquo think that Macbeth killed Duncan. When Macbeth works this out he starts to worry again and to take things into guarantee so he kills Banquo just to make sure he doesn’t tell anyone that he killed Macbeth. But when they kill Banquo, Banquo was with Fleance his son, they fail to kill Fleance. We see this in the play because they say ‘There’s but one down; the son is fled’. As we go on Macbeth decides to go and see the witches.
When Macbeth meets the witches again, he asks them to answer him and tell him more. The witches tell him to watch out for Macduff “Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth: beware Macduff,” They also tell him that no man born from women can harm Macbeth, and they also say to him that Macbeth cannot be harmed unless the wood move closer to him. Macbeth straight away put into his mind that Macduff has to die. Macbeths feels confident because the witches told him that he cannot be harmed, on the other hand he is feeling scared and worried and confused. This is due the witches saying you cannot be harmed unless the wood moves closer to you.
Macbeth is so confident he won’t be killed because the witches told him that no man born from women can harm Macbeth. This makes him think that he is untouchable and there is no one in his way that can stop him from being king. This tells us that he is most probably very confident and happy, but unfortunately he dies. We can tell this because Macbeth says “ I have almost forgotten the taste of human fears”. Macbeth is killed by Macduff, he is killed by Macduff because Macduff was born in the suzerain sector, and he was not born from women birth. When Macbeth is fighting Macduff he is losing he wonder why and says “Was he not born of women?” Macduff tell him no, he was born from the suzerain sector Macbeth is shocked, then he ends up dyeing and Fleance becomes the next king, Fleance Banquo’s son has become king just as the witches’ predicted.
When we first met Macbeth he was a good, brave and loyal man but he ended up as an evil murderer. This was a very tragic ending for Macbeth and this was also due to fatal flaw which was ambition. He became a murder because he fell for the witches plan due to his ambition which took over him. Every single one of the witches predictions came true and they didn’t lie once, but they hid some of the truth which caused all of this trouble and ended up in Macbeth dyeing.