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Macbeth Does Not Deserve Our Sympathy

Macbeth Does Not Deserve Our Sympathy

Our first impressions of Macbeth are that he is a hero, he is brave and fearless, and although we get this impression we also get the feeling that he is ruthless. We get this impression from the way he is referred to when his name is first mentioned. Macbeth has just been in battle against “The merciless Macdonwald” and a Captain is talking about how Macbeth and his fellow Captain, Banquo, performed in battle. While Macbeth is in battle the Thane of Cawdor is found to be a traitor and executed. The King, Duncan, hears of Macbeth’s bravery and grants him the Thane’s title. This leads us to believe that Macbeth is brave enough to deserve such a distinguished title.

For Brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name Act 1 scene 2. Line 16

Till he unseamed him from the nave to the chops, Act 1 scene 2. Line 22

In Act 1 scene three the three Witches have gathered to prepare a spell for Macbeth. Macbeth and Banquo come across the three weird sisters and discuss how horrible they are. The witches begin to tell Macbeth that he will become Thane of Cawdor and then the King of Scotland. Macbeth initially wants to know more of what the witches are telling him, then dismisses their predictions as impossible.

But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives Act 1 scene 3. Line 71

Before the murder of Duncan the King, Macbeth seems to be a moral person as he knows what is right and what is wrong. He wonders about the consequences of killing Duncan to become King of Scotland as he knows this is wrong. He tries to hide the things he is thinking from Duncan as he knows what he is thinking of is wrong because Duncan is a good friend. Almost from the moment he finds out that the witch’s prediction …

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…o kill Macduff even if it means sacrificing himself.

Tell thee Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped Act 5 scene 6 line 54-55

I will not yield Act 5 scene 6 line 66

Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Act 5 scene 6 line 71-72

Works Cited and Consulted

Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 1991.

Campbell, Lily B. Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes, Slaves of Passion. Gloucester: Peter Smith Publisher Inc., 1973.

Hawkes, Terence. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Macbeth. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1977.

Hunter, G.K. “Macbeth in the Twentieth Century.” Aspects of Macbeth. Ed. Kenneth Muir and Philip Edwards.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Oxford: OUP, 1994.

Scott, Mark W. (Editor). Shakespeare for Students. Gale Research Inc. Detroit, Michigan. 1992

Unreality in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Unreality in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play that encompasses three worlds: the romantic world of the aristocratic lovers, the workday world of the rude mechanicals, and the fairy world of Titania and Oberon. And while all three worlds tangle and intertwine during the course of the play, it is the fairy world that has the greatest impact, for both the lovers and the mechanicals are changed by their brush with the “children of Pan.”

For those whose job it is to bring these worlds to life in the theatre — directors, designers, actors — the first questions that must be answered are: just what do the fairies look like, and how is their world different from ours? As our world has grown increasingly scientific, technological, and separated from nature, artists’ answers to those two questions have changed considerably.

As cities have engulfed our landscape, and the “unreality of moonlight” has been washed out by the very real glare of streetlights; as the “whisperings of the leaves, sighing of the winds, and the low, sad moan of the waves” gradually have been replaced by the sound of traffic and small weapons fire, the gentle voices of the fairies have been drowned out by the cacophony of the metropolis. In this brave new world of concrete and glass, Shakespeare’s “children of Pan” have come more and more to resemble the “children of Man” than ever before.

One hundred and fifty years ago, however, it was very different: the world of the fairies was an idealized version of our own, filled with unearthly splendor and wonder. Directors and designers reveled in the opportunity to create scenes of unparalleled beauty and magnificence. In a lavish production created by Madame Vestris a…

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…atural. To emphasize this, Longworth sets the play in the Victorian era with its rigid social codes, which served to cut the human soul off from any emotion or thought that hinted at a lack of reason and control; and with its confidence that Man could dominate nature and convert it to human purposes. The fairies, of course, are proof that humans are deeply deluded in both regards. And though by the end of the play the lovers still cannot see the fairies, they are nonetheless beginning to sense their presence a bit more.

In our noisy, frantic world, full of sound and fury which all too often seems to signify nothing, Longworth’s fairies seem to encourage us to listen once again, to seek out the mysteries of “another type of life akin but distinct from [our] own,” and to once again hear the voices of the children of Pan as they whisper the secrets of their world.

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