Shakespeare's Macbeth - GCSE Model Answer

August 25, 2017

FREE Macbeth Sample Answer - GCSE English Literature.

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Discuss how the language in Macbeth contributes to its atmosphere of evil and violence.

In Macbeth, Shakespeare wished to create for his audience a dark and violent world inhabited by malevolent characters who perform dastardly deeds upon one another. The language of the play, to an enormous extent, assists in the creation of an evil and violent atmosphere which permeates the entire play.

There is a great deal of violent language in the play. The play is opened with a scene exacted only by Witches, who are sinister by their very definition, and in Act 1: Scene 2 we observe a graphic discussion of battle by the Scottish King and his attendants. Here we see some gruesome descriptions of brutal warfare: "…till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops/and fixed his head upon our battlements."

Not only does this create a general atmosphere of evil, it also assists the reader in explaining the personality of the main character, Macbeth, who is simply bound to be evil, judging by these references alone.

Another striking character is presented in Act 1: Scene 5 – Lady Macbeth. The language she uses serves a similar purpose to that of the King's attendants, but it is even more horrifying coming from a woman. However, she rejects the softness shown by Macbeth towards his King, something usually attributable to women – "the milk of human kindness." 

Instead, she wishes to be poisonous and cruel: "Unsex me here and fill me/from the crown to the toe/top full of direst cruelty. Come to my woman's breasts/and take my milk for gall." Lady Macbeth wants to be more masculine but we soon find out that she was not all that mellow to begin with; in her eyes, Macbeth is cowardly and she feels she has to guide him in order go forward with their horrific plan.

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