Monday, August 12, 2019

Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5 lines 17-51. How does this extract reflect the Essay

Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5 lines 17-51. How does this extract reflect the development of Macbeth's character Link this extract with the rest of the play - Essay Example After all, the witches had told him that â€Å"none of woman born shall harm Macbeth† (Act IV, scene 5, l. 80) and that â€Å"Macbeth shall never vanquishd be until/Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill/Shall come against him† (ll. 91-93). In Act V, Scene 5, however, the unthinkable happens as Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane, heralding the downfall of Macbeth. Act V, scene 5 is, as may have been deduced from the introductory paragraph, the turning point of the play, that one scene where everything comes to a head. At the outset of the scene, Macbeth orders his men to hang his banners on the castle walls, confidently expressing conviction in his own immunity, his invincibility. The castle will hold and he will not be harmed, not only because the wood can never come to the hill but because no mortal, no man of woman born, has the power to harm him. At the height of his confidence in his own immortality, however, he learns of Lady Macbeth’s death. Reality is trying to break into Macbeth’s delusions and illusions but he staves it off and, in his own way, escapes confrontation with the reality of his wife’s death: Macbeth is not acting as unfeelingly to his wife’s death as these lines would suggest. Instead, as he stands at a crossroads between mortality and immortality (will he die or will his interpretation of the prophecy prove true) he rejects the thought of immortality, of the inevitability of death. Added to that, with what he is confronting at the moment, he cannot, at the psychological and emotional levels, deal with his wife’s death. Macbeth, as evident in the two lines quoted in the preceding – in his reaction to his wife’s death, has changed. Earlier in the play, he was seemingly entirely dependant on Lady Macbeth, it was her ambition which drove him to action, and her words which mapped out the nature of his acts. He

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