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The Tragedy of Macbeth - William Shakespeare

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The Tragedy of Macbeth

William Shakespeare

 Written between 1603-06

 Published in 1623 (First Folio Edition)

1. Major Characters:

 Macbeth: The protagonist of the play, Macbeth is given all the attributes to make him a world-class warrior. However, Macbeth is also given a tragic flaw of self-doubt and greed, all of which shall result in his untimely demise towards the end of the play.

 Lady Macbeth: The wife of the protagonist, Lady Macbeth can be seen as the catalyst of the tragic flaws within Macbeth and is embedded with even more hunger and greed than Macbeth himself. Considered one of Shakespeare's most frightening female characters, Lady Macbeth demonstrates a "man's" liking of violence and great ability to manipulate her self-doubting husband.

 The Three Witches: The three witches tie in perfectly with the time this play was written when many women were considered to be witches and responsible of all the evil present in the society at that time. The usage of various paradoxes and seemingly contradictory phrases add to their significance as to how they are wise, yet evil creations of god.

 Banquo: As Macbeth's left hand, Banquo demonstrated qualities of trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, and confidence. It could be said that whatever Macbeth lacked in terms of self-confidence; Banquo had plentiful of it. As a human being, like what the witches said Banquo was "lesser" than Macbeth but "greater", and lacked the tragic flaws of Macbeth.

 Macduff: Doubting Macbeth throughout his entire reign as King, Macduff was a nobleman who led the charge against the betraying, and lying protagonist. Seeking vengeance for the murder of his family; Macduff brings to an end the tragic life of the fallen king; Macbeth.

2. Minor Characters:

 King Duncan: Despite a limited appearance in the play, King Duncan had an important role in bringing out the evil in Macbeth (and Lady Macbeth). Macbeth's tragic flaw of greed and self-doubt were demonstrated in King Duncan's killing.

 Malcolm: The older son of the late King Duncan, Malcolm demonstrates great fear and self-doubt when he flees from Macbeth's castle after his father, the King, had been brutally murdered. However; he demonstrates a shift when he takes what's rightfully his and returns order to Scotland following the end of Macbeth's heinous reign.

 Donalbain: Donalbain has a relatively minor role in this play due to the Malcolm being the rightful successor to Duncan's throne.

3. Major Places:

 Court of Macbeth's Castle - Place within Macbeth's castle where major symbols such as the insects, the bell, and the birds can be heard and where Macbeth and Lady Macbeth meet after "the deed's been done".

 Hall in the palace - The location where Macbeth first assumes his duties as King, and meets "the murderers"

4. Major Events, Scenes, Speeches, Significant Conversations

 Act 1 Scene 3 - Conversation between Macbeth, Banquo and The Three Witches (start of the ploy)

 Act 1 Scene 5 - Conversation between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (rising action)

 Act 2 Scene 1 & 2 - Macbeth's aside and talk with Lady Macbeth after the deed (climax)

 Act 3 Scene 1 - Coronation of Macbeth as king and Lady Macbeth as Queen (falling action)

 Act 4 Scene 1 - Conversation between Macbeth and The Three Witches

 Act 5 Scene 6 - Movement of the Army towards Macbeth's castle

 Act 5 Scene 8 - Death of Macbeth

5. Major Short, but Significant Quotations

 "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" (1.1) - The theme of deception is portrayed perfectly by this quote, and what may seem to be good may actually in truth be bad. Broken trusts, betrayal, and greed are all major themes that have been created by this quote and a feel of hypocrisy and deception.

 "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater" (1.2) - This quote is significant as it highlights that although in terms of a military and political rank, Macbeth is greater, in reality Banquo is able to control his greed and does not demonstrate Macbeth's tragic flaws of greed and self-doubt.

 "The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me In borrow'd robes?" (1.2) - Although this quote is referring to Macbeth being dressed in the late Thane of Cawdor's clothes in the physical sense; I also saw it as that the flaws of betrayal and mistrust that led to the Thane's downfall have also now been transferred to Macbeth himself.

 "O, never Shall the sun that morrow see" (1.5) - This quote effectively demonstrated Lady Macbeth's greed for power and excitement in killing Duncan. It also makes the audience anticipate Lady Macbeth to fuel this fire further, and manipulate Macbeth into committing this heinous crime.

 "Who dares do more is none" (1.7) - This shows Macbeth's fear, and true feelings about committing the "deed" as to committing such as crime, according to him, is simply stupid ("is none"). However, his flaw of self-doubt is triggered by his wife and results in the deed being completed.

 "False face must hide what the false heart doth know" (1.7) - Here we can see that Macbeth is finding it extremely difficult to control his feelings regarding his crime and regrets his actions of killing Duncan in order to reach his goal of becoming the King.

 "I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did not you speak?" (2.2) - This quote highlights the usage of animals as symbols as the screaming of the owls is to demonstrate that something evil or eerie has happened. It also marks the beginning of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth demonstrating somewhat animalistic behaviour and thoughts.

 "There's daggers in men's smiles" (2.2) - This quote highlights Donalbain's and Malcolm's doubting of this entire incident and Shakespeare has used vivid imagery to translate their thoughts into words.

 "A little water clears us of this deed" (2.2) - This quote is in reference to Lady Macbeth and Macbeth washing their hands as to demonstrate that they were



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