In William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’- Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are presented as flawed characters in challenging environments. In order to fully appreciate the nature of the challenging environment and what about it a character finds challenging, two questions must be posed: Is the character’s internal flaw a result of a problematic environment, or is what inhibits appropriate behaviour inherent-and what makes the environment challenging a result of this quality.
Macbeth is a character in a challenging environment who appears to be very flawed, and my first belief is that it was the environment that caused this character to become flawed. When the audience is first introduced to Macbeth in this text, he is described by The Sergeant and King Duncan as ‘brave’, a ‘valour minion’ and a ‘Valiant cousin and worthy gentleman’, so from the audience’s point of view Macbeth is a humble warrior, a virtuous man and a flawless being.
When Macbeth meets the witches, the audience can almost sense a change in his character, and discover that the Witches (the challenging environment) cause Macbeth to be easily manipulated and he becomes driven by greed because of their prophecy, he becomes willing to murder. If Macbeth hadn’t been placed in this problematic situation then he probably would not be seen as flawed, since his character would not have known what his future may have had in store for him. So it seems that Macbeth’s internal flaws were a result of a challenging environment.
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As the story unravels, the environment becomes more challenging as the characters are faced with more problems and as a result the characters become increasingly flawed. The flaws seem to be created from the environment. Before Macbeth kills Duncan, he contemplates whether he should do the deed or not, and as he is making a decision he speaks to Lady Macbeth, saying ‘We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honour’d me of late; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people, Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, Not cast aside so soon. The fact that he cares about betraying people’s trust and living up to their expectations gives the audience the idea that Macbeth still has some good left in him, since a completely flawed person would not see any wrong in killing for their own benefit, and would not struggle with the decision as Macbeth does. After Macbeth has killed Duncan, the environment gets more challenging to the characters, resulting in them becoming even more flawed. The audience can sense another change in Macbeth after he kills Duncan, so they see that the environment changing (Duncan’s death) causes a character change (Macbeth goes crazy).
So to the audience it is apparent that if Macbeth hadn’t been put in these situations, he would not be flawed. Although I accept that Macbeth’s flaws could have been created by the challenging environment, there is also evidence to suggest that he was flawed prior to him finding the environment challenging, suggesting that the challenging environment is a direct result of his character flaw. The reason the audience might believe Macbeth was flawed prior to the challenging events is because he responds to the events so badly, he seemed easily persuaded and gullible.
He was also easily emasculated by Lady Macbeth; some people might see this as a flaw. Also, being Thane of Cawdor you would assume that he could deal with power and would be a noble person, but as soon as more power and fortune was offered to him his greed over took his logical reasoning and he responded badly. After the witches had spoken their prophecy, Macbeth seemed to be mesmerised by their words, and he wanted them to stay and speak more: “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more: ……. Say from whence You owe this strange intelligence?
... is evident in many of the characters such as Lady Macbeth, Banquo and Macbeth himself. All were infected by evil and were eventually ... over Scotland is over. Although for a time Lady Macbeth as well as Macbeth himself convince themselves that the things they are ... become perfectly normal. Evil has a completely opposite affect on Lady Macbeth however, and she becomes so inflicted with guilt that she ...
Or why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you. ” Macbeth seemed to be very intrigued by the witches and genuinely seemed to believe what they were saying, so his saneness needs to be questioned if he was so keen to believe them. So to the audience it is also apparent that Macbeth was flawed prior to the environment becoming challenging. Another character with obvious flaws in ‘Macbeth’ is Macbeths wife, Lady Macbeth, though we only see Lady Macbeth once after the environment had seemed to become challenging.
Since contrast is not provided, we can assume that she was flawed prior to her finding the environment challenging. It’s an assumption the audience made based on their first impression. We assume she was inherently flawed prior to the environment becoming challenging because she reacts so violently straight away; as soon as she receives the letter from Macbeth stating the Witches’ Prophecy, she makes plans to assist Macbeth in murdering the king, and orders spirits to take her womanhood away from her: “Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty! This makes Lady Macbeth seem inherently flawed to the audience, as she also responded badly to the challenging environment. It is interesting to note that she is responsible for all the challenging environments in the play. She instigated the murder and everything became challenging as a result of this. It is because of her that things become challenging. There is no counter argument towards the previous paragraph because we have no contrast to how she acted before the environment became challenging, however there is evidence to suggest that she is the reason that the environment became challenging.
It was Lady Macbeth who convinced Macbeth to murder King Duncan, and because of this both she and her husband’s sanity were corrupted, and the problematic situations carry on from here. If she had not had instigated the murder, then Macbeth might not have decided to kill the king, and all of the problems could have been avoided, for example, the king would have lived, his sons would have stayed and Macbeth would not have gone crazy and many people’s lives would have been saved. So it is safe to say that Lady Macbeth was the reason for most of the challenging environments.
... and to do so; she must kill the present king, Duncan. Lady MacBeth and MacBeth came up with a plan to secretly kill Duncan ... and wrongdoing feels like. When Lady MacBeth found out that her beloved husband, MacBeth, was to eventually be king of Scotland, she knew he ... with the act of murdering the king and not being caught, the grief soon got to Lady MacBeth. She started sleepwalking, and talking ...
In conclusion, I strongly agree with the statement that “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare presents flawed characters in challenging environments, and I think that there are two possible ways this statement can be viewed, and both ways still agree with the statement. Macbeth was previously flawed, but the environments were also very challenging and hard to respond to. Lady Macbeth was also definitely a flawed character and she caused the environment to become challenging. The flawed characters and the challenging environments create a story and cause each other to be seen as flawed and challenging.