The Use of Contrast in Macbeth 12th Grade

‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare is a play in which great contrasts lie between its main characters. ‘Macbeth’ is a tragic play, set in eleventh century Scotland, which explores the psychological and political effects of the eponymous character, who commits regicide in order to fulfil his own ambition and is eventually killed as a result of his tyrannical actions. Macbeth is a profound character and an exceptional one; in itself, his place at the heart of Shakespeare’s play ensures this. The strength of his nature, both positive and negative, is stressed through Shakespeare’s comparison of him with other key characters: primarily his co-commander, Banquo and his wife, Lady Macbeth. Where relation to Banquo reveals the weakness of his mortality, comparison with his own wife and his own reflection on his evil deeds renders him thoughtful and profound.

From the very beginning of the play, Shakespeare illustrates the contrast in the character and consciences of Macbeth and Banquo. This initial difference in reaction is very important, marking the beginning of the different paths on which the two characters proceed throughout rest of the play. It is a meeting with three witches which sparks a yearning for kingship in Macbeth, after...

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