Character Interaction: Macbeth

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How does Shakespeare use the interactions between the central character and two other characters to explore key ideas? Character interaction as a language technique is constant through the tragedy of Macbeth, and is thoroughly presented throughout the play by William Shakespeare, to evoke meaning and influence opinions. Shakespeare uses the interactions between the titular character, Macbeth, and other characters, namely Lady Macbeth and Duncan, to explore the key ideas of the corrupting power of unchecked ambition, notions of leadership, and the issues that arise between the relationships between men and women. The tragic focus of the play, Macbeth, descends into murder and betrayal, and this consequently eventuates in his downfall. In Macbeth, ambition is presented as a dangerous quality, and can tarnish even the purest of souls. The destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints is arguably expressed strongest through interaction between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and is the main foundation of Macbeth’s inevitable downfall, and triggers a series of deaths. Lady Macbeth encourages her husband mercilessly to kill Duncan, helped by the malign prophecies of the witches, and urges him to be strong in the murder’s aftermath, but he is said to be too kind, 'Yet do I fear thy nature it is to full o' the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.' (I, v, 14-16). Although a courageous general who holds Duncan in high regard, ‘he hath honoured me of late’ (I, vii, 32) and isnot naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, he deeply desires power and advancement; he kills Duncan against his better judgment. Afterward, Macbeth is wracked with guilt and paranoia, and toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness, before being killed. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, pursues her goals with greater determination, yet

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