How does Shakespeare present villainy in Macbeth?


Mind Map on How does Shakespeare present villainy in Macbeth?, created by maxine.canvin on 11/26/2014.
Mind Map by maxine.canvin, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by maxine.canvin almost 9 years ago

Resource summary

How does Shakespeare present villainy in Macbeth?
  1. Murder
    1. Order of Murders: 1st Duncan, 2nd Banquo, 3rd Macduff's household
      1. The murders become progressively more brutal: Duncan is stabbed > Banquo is assasinated by 2 thugs > Macduff's family and household are slaughtered.
        1. Increase in brutality implies macbeth's increase in villainy
        2. Macbeth becomes less and less associated with the murders: Duncan he kills personally > Banquo's murder was committed by thugs > Macduff & co. are slaughtered by Macbeth's men
          1. This could show increasing villainy as Macbeth cannot be bothered to commit them himself and therefore the victims are indifferent to him.
        3. Lady Macbeth persuades Macbeth to kill Duncan, she could be seen as more villainous than Macbeth
          1. The presentation of the murders.
            1. Duncan's is off stage - this shows respect for the king and his dignity stays intact
              1. He was murdered in his sleep - couldn't defend himslef, showing that he wasn't weak as he wasn't beaten in a fight
              2. Banquo was murdered brutally on stage - this is for entertainment purposes
                1. Macduff's household and family are brutally murdered on stage
                  1. This shows Macbeth's power and villainy - he kills them to threaten Macduff, it is done maliciously and without cause - they are unnecessary murders - children and women are killed
              3. Supernatural
                1. Witches
                  1. They are a supernatural forces controlling fate
                    1. The villainy is built on their prophecies
                      1. Macbeth commits the murders because of the prophecies
                      2. The witches already seem to know Macbeth, showing that he might already be associated with them, making him villainous.
                      3. The dagger and Ghost of Banquo
                        1. These may not be seen as supernatural as they are visions that Macbeth experiences possibly due to his guilty conscience
                          1. Banquo's ghost haunts Macbeth, making him have a guilty conscience
                            1. The dagger which is imagined refers to the quote: 'foul is fair and fair is foul'. This means that what seems right isn't right and what seems wrong isn't really wrong
                              1. The vision of the dagger could also symbolize death hanging in the air
                            2. Language
                              1. Descriptions of characters from mythology
                                1. "With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design"
                                2. "Moves like a ghost"
                                  1. "Witchcraft celebrates"
                                3. Dramatic Techniques
                                  1. Soliloquies (order)
                                    1. 1st: "He's here in double trust...."
                                      1. This is Macbeth's response to the witches
                                        1. Scared and overwhelmed: "This supernatural soliciting//Cannot be ill, cannot be good","Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair...". Ambition and excitement: "Why hath it given me earnest of success?". Disbelief: "...stand not within the prospect of belief". Intrigued: "...tell me more" - his curiosity suggest villainy.
                                        2. Villainy is presented through the soliloquy as it gives an insight to his thoughts. However Macbeth doesn't seem very villainous yet but the idea of regicide is born
                                        3. 2nd: "Is this a dagger which I see before me..."
                                          1. Before he kills the King (like a pep talk)
                                            1. It is a pivotal moment at which Macbeth clearly turns villainous.
                                              1. Fearing discovery: "Thou sure and firm-set earth//hear not my steps..., for fear//Thy very stones prate of my whereabout". Wants to be disassociated with the deed: "wither'd murder...moves like a ghost". Guilty (conscience driving him crazy: "...a dagger of the mind, a false creation,//proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?". Ambition: "I go, and it is done..."
                                          2. Imagery
                                            1. Blood
                                              1. It is used to convey guilt, murder, treachery and evil
                                                1. "And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood"
                                                  1. This quote could also be interpreted as a premonition of the murder Macbeth will commit
                                              2. Weather
                                                1. Thunder and lightning announces the witches
                                                  1. Premonition of villainous characters
                                                    1. "When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning, or in rain"
                                                    2. There are storms on the night of Duncan's murder
                                                      1. The fore-warning of villainous actions
                                                    3. Darkness
                                                      1. Dark = villainy and evil Light = good and truth
                                                        1. "Stars, hide your fires, let no light see my dark desires"
                                                          1. Stars are the truth and macbeth orders them not to shine as their light will reveal his villainous deeds
                                                          2. "Come, thick night...nor heaven to peep through the blanket of the dark..."
                                                            1. Darkness allows Lady Macbeth to do evil - It implies that deceit and treachery can go unnoticed and villainous acts can be done freely
                                                      2. Language & Structure
                                                        1. Poetry
                                                          1. Blank Verse
                                                            1. Iambic Pentameter
                                                              1. 10 syllables per line and stresses every other syllable
                                                              2. It groups characters (villains)
                                                                1. The witches talk mainly in rhym, therefore act as 1 unit of evil and villainy
                                                                  1. Macbeth talks a lot in imabic pentameter and blank verse - a form of poetry, therefore suggesting an association with the witches
                                                                2. The use of Macbeth's soliloquies (see Dramatic Techniques - Soliloquies)
                                                                  1. 5 Acts
                                                                    1. Act 1: Expostition, Act 2: Complitcation, Act 3: Crisis Act, 4: Resolution, Act 5: Denoument
                                                                      1. This allows the audience to experience Macbeth's increasing villainy throughout the whole play
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