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Macbeth Revision
Context & Historical Context
Shakespeare was writing for the theatre during the reigns of two monarchs, Queen Elizabeth I
and King James I. The plays he wrote during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, such as A
Midsummer Night's Dream, are often seen to embody the generally happy, confident…

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Because we first hear of Macbeth in the wounded captain's account of his
battlefield valor, our initial impression is of a brave and capable warrior. This
perspective is complicated, however, once we see Macbeth interact with the
three witches. We realize that his physical courage is joined by a consuming…

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Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his
objections; when he hesitates to murder, she repeatedly questions his manhood until he
feels that he must commit murder to prove himself. Lady Macbeth's remarkable strength
of will persists through the murder of the king--it is she who steadies…

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entirely human and not entirely supernatural; to this extent it is difficult to classify them as
transgressive since their very existence is transgressive against the norms of society.
Despite the absurdity of their "eye of newt and toe of frog" recipes, however, they are
clearly the most dangerous characters in…

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Good and Evil: Are a potent source of conflict within M. Not only do we have the
overtly evil presence of the witches and the domineering LM, but we also have the
deeply divided M himself. The noble, valiant and loyal soldier of the early scenes is
tempted by the…

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By way of contrast, when faced by the resemblance between sleeping Duncan
and her father, LM finds herself struck with horror at the reality of murder and
cannot act. Similarly, in the wake of killing the king, M walks away with the bloody
murder weapons in his hands as he…

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Guilt: One of Shakespeare's reasons for writing the play was to illustrate the terrible
consequences of murdering a king. Shakespeare shows the murderers of a king
tormented by their own guilt and driven to their doom.
Macbeth also shows his guilt - he is unsure before the murder and regrets…

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Duncan's son Malcolm is depicted as the perfect king. In his testing of Macduff, he
lists the "king-becoming graces", such as justice, verity, temperance, mercy,
lowliness etc., showing his awareness of how a king should be. He has his father's
noble character but without Duncan's fatal flaw of gullibility. He…

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Horror scenes physical: provide the crowd with deep inward feelings ­ pleasing the
horror genre audience ­ VISUAL! (Slaughtering of Macduff's family).
Terror ­ physiological: Internal terrorsecho the terrors
of regicide, murder of children,

the meddling of supernatural forces in the world of man.Terror echo's horror.

A world devoid of…

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In each case, it is ambiguous whether the vision is real or purely hallucinatory; but,
in both cases, the Macbeths read them uniformly as supernatural signs of their guilt.

Violence:
Macbeth is a famously violent play. Interestingly, most of the killings take place
offstage, but throughout the play the characters…

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