Impressions of Macbeth

A detailed of Macbeths character early on in the book

HideShow resource information
Preview of Impressions of Macbeth

First 790 words of the document:

"What impression do you have from Macbeth so far???"
Instantly from the start of Scene 2, we are informed about what happened in the battle that the soldiers
have just returned from. We gather that a rebel named Macdonwald has been killed by a "brave" Macbeth
who "Unseamed him from the nave to the chaps, and fixed his head upon our battlements". Straight away
the wounded Captain is giving the idea that Macbeth is a brave, courageous soldier. We get the idea that the
Captain thinks very highly of Macbeth. The impression given straight away that Macbeth is a worthy,
aggressive almost ruthless soldier; we learn this from the way in which he killed Macdonwald, as he didn't
simply stab the rebel but sliced him from his belly button to his cheeks then cut off head. I think this shows
how brutal and merciless he can be, but these are just first impressions, and in more Shakespearian plays,
appearances are deceptive.
After the messenger tells Duncan of the slaughtering of Macdonwald we learn that that was only the
start of Macbeths courageous act, and that the Norweyan lord had called a fresh attack on the Kings army
and the King asks "Dismayed not this our Captains, Macbeth and Banquo?" And the very sarcastic Captain
answers "Yes; as sparrow's eagles or the hare the lion." Already the King is getting very good reports of
Macbeth's behaviour and the King will immediately be thinking how he can reward Macbeth. So far the
thoughts on Macbeth have all been positive. I think this puts Macbeth up high in the Kings good books. Again
we see how ruthless Macbeth can be as the Captain states "Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds
or memorise another Golgotha." The Captain is basically saying unless Macbeth was intending to soak in the
steaming blood of the dead or make the battlefield as memorable as the scene of Christ's Crucifixion. This
gives me impression that Macbeth can very heartless on the battlefield but at the same time be ambitious,
and by reading this scene I wonder if Macbeth was trying to prove something by fighting with such
aggression or by work towards getting something he really wants.
In Act 1 Scene 3 we are introduced to the Witches for a second time, this time they are with Macbeth
and Banquo. Macbeth tries to show some authority by saying "Speak if you can:-what are you?" I think this
shows an arrogant side to Macbeth, however the Witches respond and tell him what the future holds for him.
"...hail to thee Thane of Glamis...hail to thee Thane of Cawdor...that shalt be king hereafter." Macbeth had just
been told that two exceptionally good honours would be added to his current title "Thane of Glamis." Banquo
without delay tells us of Macbeth's reaction "Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that sound
so fair?" Macbeth has obviously been taken aback by what he has just been told as would anyone who would
be told that in the future they would become king, however this is not quite genuine as I think that Macbeth
knows deep down inside that this might just become true. I also think that Macbeth has fantasized about
becoming king before. I think this encourages him to be curious and try to find out more, again showing his
arrogance by saying to the Witches "Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more...Speak I charge you." I feel
that by the Witches telling Macbeth of his future greatness, this started bring out a bad and more
determined side in Macbeth. It shows that Macbeth has a deep desperation and will contemplate anything to
get what he wants. This might be where his ruthlessness of the battlefield may come in, to achieve his only
selfish desires. That's how I interpret the reaction of Macbeth to the Witches, but I only say this because I am
quite cynical.
Macbeth is then presented with the title of "Thane of Cawdor "just like the Witches had said and in
Macbeths soliloquy on page 17, lines 128-142, he's already got the idea murder in his head, "My thought,
whose murder yet is but fantastical shakes so my single state of man, that function is smothered in surmise

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

My view on Macbeth changed at this point as he is basically saying his
thoughts, in which murder is so far the only an idea, disturb his body so much that imagination makes him
unable to act and nothing seems real except the fantasy of being king. Macbeth wants to be king but doesn't
want to have to murder Duncan, even though it is still an idea. The impression is that Macbeth isn't as ruthless
or as aggressive as meets the eye.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Language & Literature resources:

See all English Language & Literature resources »See all resources »