Shakespeare's comparisons and contrasts

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1997

download word file, 2 pages 4.5

Downloaded 61 times

Shakespeare's Comparisons and Contrasts

Throughout Macbeth Shakespeare uses comparison and contrast to bring

out characteristics of his main character, Macbeth. Shakespeare uses

comparison with Duncan, Lady Macbeth, and Banquo to bring out aspects of

Macbeth's character.

After hearing of Macbeth's courageousness on the battlefield, Duncan, a

good and honest king, bestows the tittle of Cawdor on Macbeth. The king

then proclaims his son Malcom to be Prince of Cumberland, in effect

designating him as successor to the throne of Scotland. This dramatic

announcement of Duncan's chosen successor marks the beginning of an ironic

story. It is at this point in the play that we, the audience, become fully

aware of Macbeth's intentions to murder the king. Duncan hails Macbeth as

his 'worthiest cousin' and blindly entrusts his fate to one whom he considers

his 'peerless kinsman.' Shakespeare concentrates on Macbeth's courage so

that he can contrast it later on with the terror and panic of Macbeth's

psychological anguish.

Lady Macbeth will stop at nothing -not even murder- to satisfy her

driving ambition. She worries that Macbeth is 'too full of the milk of human

kindness' to go after the throne. She wants to be tough and begs the spirits

to 'unsex me here.' Macbeth, on the other hand, hesitates to murder Duncan

for several reasons. Among these reasons the earthly consequences frighten

him the most. How would his new subjects react? Would the kingdom disrupt

in chaos? Furthermore Macbeth cannot escape present punishment if he fails.

We see Lady Macbeth's persuasiveness producing a new courage in her

husband and that courage is manly enough to perform murder. Therefore,

Macbeth has no reasons for murdering Duncan except for his 'vaulting

ambition,' his lust for power. Throughout the play we see Lady Macbeth's

and Macbeth's conscience, or lack of,