Free Essay

Macbeth and Me

In: Film and Music

Submitted By ConnorPhillips
Words 1329
Pages 6
Connor Phillips
Mrs. Mondesir
ENG 2D1 05
Monday, October 31, 2011

Everybody makes agreements even if it is a promise of love, or helping someone out. Agreements usually are made with a contract, a hand shake or by trusting the words spoken. In the play Merchant of Venice written by William Shakespeare, the characters Bassanio, Antonio and Shylock make many agreements throughout the play which help the reader learn about the personalities and thoughts of the characters.
Bassanio makes the most risky pacts that cause a change in the thoughts and views of the other characters. Bassanio asks Antonio if he may borrow money from Shylock for him, creating a problem between Antonio and Shylock. Antonio needs to pay Shylock the money that Bassanio owes him within the next three months. Since Antonio is not able to meet that deadline, Shylock uses this opportunity to seek revenge on Antonio due to their difference in religion. Although all three men were involved, the agreement only included Shylock and Antonio. “Three thousand ducats for three months, and Antonio bound.”(I, iii, 8-9). What Shylock means by “Antonio bound” is that if Antonio cannot or does not pay Shylock, Antonio will have a pound of flesh removed from him. This shows the recklessness of Bassanio as he borrows money and does not think about the consequences Antonio will face. Another agreement Bassanio makes is a promise to his love Portia that he will never take the ring she gave him off even though his love for her originated from a want of money. “…but when this ring parts from this finger, then parts life from hence: O then be bold to say Bassanio’s dead” (III, ii, 184-185). The promise he makes to her shows the reader that Bassanio makes sacrifices for his selfish needs and without thinking about others. At that moment is when he chooses the lead casket and Portia gives him the ring. He is saying that he will wear this ring and be faithful to his wife until he dies. Bassanio also tries to make an agreement with Shylock when Antonio is in court. Since he is now rich, Bassanio will pay much more than he would have paid before, just to save his friend. “I will be bound to pay ten times o’er on forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart…” (IV, i, 209-210). Shylock must take this deal due to the laws of Venice but Bassanio’s courage and will power show that he deeply loves his friend and will do anything for him. Bassanio gives the lawyer, which is really Portia, the ring he vowed to protect as a sign of gratitude. These three pacts that Bassanio makes demonstrate his risky personality through his selfish actions. Unlike Bassanio, Antonio’s actions show his kind and generous personality.
Antonio is the most caring and giving person in the whole play. His thoughts towards others are cleary shown in his actions. Part of the whole revenge conflict between him and Shylock is that Antonio lends out money only on trust and no interest. “…Try what my credit can in Venice do… Where money is, and and I no question make to have it to my trust or for my sake.”(I, i, 180-185). Even though Antonio currently has no money because his ships are at sea, he is still willing to look for money to help his friend Bassanio. This shows the effect Bassanio’s personality has on Antonio and Antonio’s feelings for Bassanio. During the previous agreement, another promise was made between Shylock and Antonio. “I’ll seal to such a bond, and say there is much kindness in the Jew.” (I, iii, 148-149). Since Shylock is Jewish, everyone hates him in Venice. He is segregated, ridiculed and even abused. An abundant supply of gratitude was given in this sentence spoken by Antonio. One would expect a rejection from Shylock, but Antonio sees past the man and into the soul when dealing with his business. Prior to the agreement and Antonio’s need for the money, Antonio spat on Shylock. Antonio shows his good qualities when it benefits himself and he uses his generosity as a key to other people’s minds. Antonio keeps his word no matter what. His trust and loyalty shows when he is in court with Shylock and was going to let Shylock cut off his flesh. “But little; I am arm’d and well prepar’d. Give me your hand, Bassanio. Fare you well” (IV, i, 262-263). Antonio lets Shylock try and complete his bond without any hesitation or resistance. He absorbs the fact that he could not complete the deed and that a promise is a promise. This ultimately shows reliability and faith in Antonio. Some people can be devious when making contracts and agreements.
Shylock makes conniving and smart agreements with anyone that he can. He makes some of his bonds because he knows they will help him in the future. As a money lender, Shylock charges interest but in this case he hates Antonio so he charges his life. “Be nominated for an equal pound of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me.” (I, iii, 145-148). A pound of flesh, if taken literally or metaphorically will kill someone. Since Shylock wants revenge for things Antonio did to him, like spit on and scorn him for his religion, Shylock is sly because he knows that if the deal does not work out, he will get what he desires. Also, when he is in court Shylock demands to take the pound of flesh from Antonio because his ship was lost at sea and could not pay Shylock back. His plans failed miserably when the laws of Venice came into play. Portia, disguised as a lawyer, says to Shylock, “Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more but just a pound of flesh. If thou tak’st more or less than a just pound… thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.” (IV, i, 322-330). The law states that if Shylock were to take the pound of flesh he will lose all he owns and die. This agreement portrays a rather evil side of Shylock and also the sad side. His hopes are lost when Portia tells him the law and that he has no money. Shylock is basically left to crumble and live a hard life. Another contract was made during this scene. When the decision is put onto Antonio as to whether or not mercy shall be given, Antonio comes up with a better solution. “So please my lord the duke and all the court to quit the fine for one half his goods… upon his death unto the gentleman that lately stole his daughter. Two things provided more: that for this favour he presently become a Christian… of all he dies possess’d into his son Lorenzo and his daughter.” (IV, i, 378-388). This tells Shylock that he must become a Christian and give all he owns to his heir Lorenzo. Shylock is devastated yet shows the gratitude Antonio deserves (despite his hatred) showing the pleasant side of Shylock. Shylock is embarrassed, by the contract and tells the court to send the deed after for he is too humiliated to take it now. Later he is shunned by all his fellow Jews and lives in the streets.
Throughout the play characters make agreements that help the reader learn that their actions and promises can affect the way that their personalities are portrayed. Bassanio’s three pacts show his risky behaviour through his selfish and thoughtless actions. Antonio’s character as a good man is shown through his kindness and generosity within the three agreements that he makes. Shylock can be seen as sneaky and greedy through the contracts where he is selfish and vengeful. In all of this, the agreements show the thoughts and traits of the characters.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Macbeth Chart Form

...LADY MACBETH: That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold; What hath quench'd them hath given me fire. Hark! Peace! It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman, Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it:(5) The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg'd their possets, That death and nature do contend about them, Whether they live or die.(10) Enter Macbeth |Lady Macbeth (Worry, holding hands) I cannot wait until Macbeth kills the King | | |MACBETH: |Macbeth: | |Who's there? what, ho! |Who's there? | |LADY MACBETH: |Lady Macbeth (Hands are touching the head) | |Alack, I am afraid they have awaked |Did he kill King Duncan before the guards wakes up, I am so | |And ’tis not done. The attempt and not the deed |afraid and worried about Macbeth | |Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready; | | |He could not miss ‘em. Had he not resembled(15) | | |My father as he slept, I......

Words: 920 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Who Was Responsible For Macbeth's Downfall

...responsibility by a number of people. The play called Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a perfect example on how numerous people are responsible for Macbeth’s downfall including himself. Lady Macbeth is ultimately responsible for Macbeth’s downfall because she is manipulative and overly ambitious. First of all, Lady Macbeth plays a significant role in Macbeth’s rise and downfall as a king from being manipulative and conceiving. For example, “Looks like th’ innocent flower/but be the serpent under’t” (1.6.76-77)....

Words: 700 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Macbeth Literary Essay

...Macbeth Literary Essay Submitted By: Zachary McGregor May 1st, 2012 I believe that Macbeth is fully responsible for his own destiny because whether or not it was fated, he still chose to do everything he did. We obviously know that Macbeth made some pretty bad decisions over the course of the play. He should be held responsible and forced to pay the consequences of his actions for the following reasons. We know that Macbeth still had the choice of whether or not to murder Duncan, although he was encouraged by the witches’ prophesies and Lady Macbeth he didn’t really have to go through with the murder. We also know that the crimes Macbeth commits are becoming increasingly sinister and evil, as he continues to do these terrible deeds it becomes easier and easier for him to commit them. Finally, Macbeth acknowledges his guilt for the crimes he commits and is therefore fully responsible for his actions. It seems that the witches’ predictions insinuate Macbeth’s desire to become king, however, no one actually forces him to kill Duncan. Even though Macbeth’s decision was most certainly influenced by the witches’ prophesies and Lady Macbeth, he still made the final choice regarding the murder of Duncan which is wrong. Macbeth’s ambition causes him to question his loyalty to the king after hearing the witches’ prophesies. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my shingle state of man......

Words: 1575 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

What Part Does the Supernatural Play in Macbeth?

...What part does the supernatural play in Macbeth? The word supernatural is defined as ‘Not being able to be explained by the laws of nature’. The majority of us would link the word supernatural to ghosts and paranormal activities, which these days can be proved by using complex technology. However if we look back at Shakespeare’s era in around 1606 the majority of the people there completely believed in the supernatural. Their main belief was that witches existed and had great power to change what ever they wanted. It was believed so much in this time that even King James believed that these supernatural beings existed. Although nowadays it is completely the opposite, most of us believe that these supernatural beings are just mythological. The play Macbeth was written by William Shakespeare during the time that probably he himself and the rest of the population believed in the supernatural, it includes several supernatural events and the general atmosphere is a sinister one. The very first part of the play Macbeth includes three witches other wise described by Shakespeare as the weird sisters. These three witches plan to meet Macbeth upon a heath in the storm which is surrounding them. The effect of this automatically gives the reader the feeling that the play is a sinister one. The witches communicate to each other by speaking in riddles, such as “Fair is foul and foul is fair”. We learn two things from this first part of speech from the witches, firstly we can see......

Words: 1804 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Macbeth

...Downfall Essay Macbeth was a noble and loyal man, who would never harm his King. If it wasn't for the influences of the people surrounding him, he would have lived happily as Thane of Cawdor, an honourable title in itself. The downfall of Macbeth was ignited by the actions by those around him, mainly the witches and his wife Lady Macbeth, and eventually, his ambitions took over. Macbeth never had the intention of killing his king, but was ultimately persuaded that it was the correct thing to do. The three witches planted the seed of ambition within Maceth. They were the driving force behind Banquo and King Duncan's killing. The witches prophesised that his life would completely change, by becoming thane of Cawdor, then king of Scotland. At first, Macbeth dismissed their prophecies, but after he was promoted to Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth wondered if he will be King, too. "If chance will have me king, why chance may crown me without my stir." Another prophecy made by the witches was that Banquo's son will be king. Fuelled by paranoia, lack of sleep and visions, Macbeth was thrown into a state of confusion and a belief that the prophecies were inevitable. Lady Macbeth urged her husband to commit murder and it was this action that sparked Macbeth's downfall. When Lady Macbeth heard about the prophecies made by the witches, and how one of them had already come true, she called upon evil spirits to guide her through her task - killing the king. .".. Fill me, from the crown......

Words: 627 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

How Is Guilt Presented In Macbeth

...THEMES OF GUILT – MACBETH In the story of Macbeth, guilt is an important theme due to the fact that it unstiffens Macbeth’s ambition and coldness. His brutality is balanced by his guilt, a trait that enables the audience to identify with Macbeth throughout the play despite his oppressiveness. MACBETH AND LADY MACBETH: The two main characters who experience extreme feelings of guilt throughout the play are Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Macbeth’s guilt is caused by the ghosts of those who he murdered and of the consequences that follow their murders. For example, Macbeth is visited by the ghost of Banquo, who he murdered to protect his secret. The apparition embodies Macbeth’s guilt and therefore causes Macbeth to nearly reveal the truth about King Duncan’s murder. Macbeth’s guilt prevents him from enjoying his gain of royalty but it does not stop him from committing more than 1 murders. This perhaps indicates a lack of morality, which is Macbeth’s key character flaw. Lady Macbeth on the overhand is driven crazy from the adrenaline of watching her husband commit such murders and is the force behind his actions. Unlike Macbeth’s...

Words: 1025 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Macbeth How Does Power Change

...person in this world. In Shakespeare's Macbeth displays how a person can change from being very humble and loyal to wanting all the power in the world. Macbeth shows how fast a person can go from being very honorable to just ruining their life in a matter of minutes. Over the course of the play, power causes Macbeth to change from being humble to being very greedy, which leads to his death. In the beginning of story Macbeth shows loyalty by not wanting all the power in the world. In the story Macbeth states “If chance will have me king, why,chance may crown me without stir.”(I.III.146-148).This quote is demonstrating that he doesn't care if he's a king or not but if faith wants him to be king he will. He really is just happy with his life right now and does not want to anything to change that.Macbeth also states “So foul and fair a day I have not seen”(I.III.38). This reveals that Macbeth can’t believe he might be...

Words: 711 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Macbeth Analysis

...Macbeth Analysis Brian Williams English 125 Melissa Edison April 22, 2013 Macbeth Analysis The poem that I have selected is Macbeth written by William Shakespeare. I will identify three elements in this poem that I found very engaging/interesting. I will give insight on how these elements affected my personal opinion on this poem. Analyzing how these elements affected my response in its entirety will be the vocal point of my paper. Macbeth is a tragedy and is considered one of Shakespeare’s most powerful poems. Shakespeare introduces Macbeth as a strong, power wanting, and noble fighter. Macbeth talks to the witches in the start of Act 1 scene 3 by commanding them to speak to him and for them to tell him what they are. “Speak if you can. What are you” (Clugston, 2010)? Indicating that Macbeth talks with authority, that he has power over the witches, as he does not politely ask the witches. The way that Macbeth is speaking here is using imperative verbs. Shakespeare here uses language to show us what Macbeth character is like. He also tells us by using language that Macbeth is respected by others at the start of the play. In Act 1 scene 2 it states “O valiant cousin, worthy gentlemen” (Portman, 1995). Duncan expresses this about Macbeth. This reveals that people do respect Macbeth and his bravery proves he has a quite high status. Symbolism plays a prominent role to emphasize the theme of corruption of power. Throughout the play there are several main symbols......

Words: 804 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Is Lady Macbeth More Responsible Than Macbeth for the Murder of King Duncan? Is Lady Macbeth a More Evil Character Than Her Husband? Why?

...Macbeth Essay – Is Lady Macbeth more responsible than Macbeth for the murder of King Duncan? Is Lady Macbeth a more evil character than her husband? Why? Macbeth is a play that was written by William Shakespeare in 1606. The story is basically revolves around a prophecies that was told to Macbeth, which in hearing the prophecies sparks Macbeth’s ambitions, which lead him on a path that would inevitably lead to his downfall. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth himself share responsibility for the murder of King Duncan. Even though Macbeth was the one to actually end his life Lady Macbeth is as much to blame as he is. Her responsibility is shown through her manipulating and influencing him. Lady Macbeth’s character is shown throughout the play with her ambition, slyness and control over Macbeth, it shows over the course of the play that though Macbeth’s ambitions are great hers are much greater. Her ambition is so extreme that she would even go as far as to cast her femininity away: “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! make thick my blood; Stop up the access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall” Lady Macbeth believes that ‘remorse’ is a factor in her femininity of which she must rid herself of if she wished to continue. She also......

Words: 747 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Examples Of Power Hungry In Macbeth

...Power Hungry In “The Tragedy of Macbeth” By William Shakespeare, the theme displayed through characters is power hungry. Macbeth at the beginning of the story is speaking highly as if he wants to be in charge and be crowned King. Macbeth states “When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me promised me no less to them? (Shakespeare 309). The words spoken from Macbeth show Shakespeare’s theme of being power hungry. It shows that Macbeth wants to be a noble king and will do what it takes to get there. Additionally, in Act 1, Lady Macbeth joins Macbeth on trying to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth says “What cannot you and I perform upon Th’ unguarded Duncan?” (Shakespeare 317). Based on what’s going on and being said Shakespeare’s...

Words: 329 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Macbeth

...Jekyll and Mr Hyde and William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, I will explore the struggles the main characters’ have within themselves in their fight for good over evil. How Macbeth and Dr Jekyll change throughout the stories and explore the similarities of each of them and why they came to change. These two books are worlds apart from one another. ‘Macbeth’ is about a great warrior who fights for the King and is set in medieval Scotland, while ‘The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ is set in the upper classes of Victorian England where everything is done correctly and bad behaviour or wild ways are not tolerated. Dr Jekyll is a Physician who is curious about separating the good side of a personality with the bad and begins to experiment and invent potions to control the evil side of a person. However, both of these books have mystical themes about them, the witches in ‘Macbeth’ that can see the future and plant the seed of success in Macbeth’s head and the strange disappearances of Dr Jekyll and the sudden mystical appearance of a Mr Hyde. These main characters, Macbeth and Dr Jekyll evolve from being heroic, well-respected men into twisted, ruthless killers and their nature completely changes throughout their lives. Both characters become so obsessed with ultimate control they are prepared to remove anyone who gets in their way or tries to stop them from reaching their final goal. The obsession of their ambitions make both, Macbeth and Dr Jekyll eventually turn their......

Words: 1523 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Macbeth

...tragic and heroic life. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the titular of the play is a great example of a tragic hero. Firstly, Macbeth is already of high status from the beginning of the play, and is brave in battle to win the war for Scotland; surely this makes him a hero. Next Macbeth’s tragic flaw is his, that is a desire for power and to be king. These flaws play an important role in the outcome of his life. Finally Macbeth’s obsession with the prophecies, and the murders he commits mainly leads to his downfall or periopetria. Although, a hero usually lives a triumphant life their personality can lead to their downfall and death. Too start off with Macbeth’s bravery and courage won the day for Scotland in defeating Norway and Macdonowald. First, brave and loyal Macbeth storms through the battle with Banquo defeating Sweno, in an insane fight for which his, “brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution.” Macbeth fought so courageously that the battle “ memorized another Golgotha.” In this case Macbeth is definitely a hero. Second, in the beginning of Act 1 scene 2 Duncan is in Awe of how valiant and noble of a soldier Macbeth is. “ O valiant cousin! Worthy gentlemen.” Even though Macbeth is Duncan’s cousin he is till filed with absolute joy about Macbeths accomplishment. Third, the king promotes Macbeth to thane of Cawdor. “ And with this former title greet Macbeth.” As Duncan takes this title away from the traitor and awards it to Macbeth, he becomes even more......

Words: 816 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Of Course It's the Women's Fault

...the entirety of Macbeth, without them there would be little plot and the play would seem dry and repetitive. The women, especially Lady Macbeth and the witches, are definitely catalysts for some of the major issues in the play such as the murder of Duncan and starting Macbeth on the path of blood. Even though it was the witches who first told Macbeth the prophecy about him being the future king, they cannot control other people’s actions and fates, since every decision that someone makes ultimately changes their destiny. The witches merely planted the idea in Macbeth’s head and boosted his ego by praising him and saying, “all hail Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter”, giving Macbeth the push he needed to become obsessed with the power that being king grants (I.II.). If deep down Macbeth hadn’t had the ambition and urge to be king, the witches wouldn’t have had as much of an influence on Macbeth as they did. Lady Macbeth, however, has a less hands-off approach when it comes to putting the slew of murders into effect. It is her who talks Macbeth into killing Duncan when Macbeth first begins to show signs of weakness and cowardliness. Having second thoughts before committing a murder would seem humane and natural, but Lady Macbeth will have none of it when she says to Macbeth “when you durst do it, then you were a man; and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man” (I.VII). By questioning his manhood and bravery, Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth into......

Words: 931 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Macbeth: Gender Roles In The Elizabethan Era

...were strictly defined and maintained by those in high society. Throughout Macbeth, both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have a slow demise to insanity as they attempt to . In addition to motifs like blood, hands, and nature, Shakespeare uses gender reversals to convey the importance of congruency within genders. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth uses gender role reversals to show the character’s progression to insanity, this is to inforce the notion that men and women need to stay within their predetermined roles. Men are typically viewed as ruthless and carouse, but the men in Macbeth are seemingly gentle and value life; however, the women, especially Lady Macbeth, are the opposite of demure and very headstrong....

Words: 1038 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Ways in Which William Shakespeare Shows Sympathy and Dislike for Macbeth

...In this essay, I will be looking at ways in which William Shakespeare shows sympathy and dislike for Macbeth. I will refer to historical context as well as the play on a whole. The play Macbeth which was set in Scotland, was written by William Shakespeare in the early 1600’s. This play was a tragedy and was written for King James I a year after the gunpowder plot. The play was to some extent a tale to caution any potential killers of the king (regicides) as to what would happen to them if they attempted to blow up King James and his parliament as Guy Fawkes did. Macbeth starts out as a very brave warrior. On his way back from fighting the Norwegians he encountered the three witches who told him that he would become king and Thane of Cawdor. Upon his return the first part of the prophecy came true. Macbeth informs his wife of the predictions and she tries to persuade him to kill Duncan. Macbeth yields to temptation and becomes very heartless killing everyone in his path so that he could become king. He became king and eventually died when he was defeated in war against Macduff. We first feel sympathy for Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 7. In this scene, his wife, Lady Macbeth, persuades him to kill King Duncan in order to fulfil the second part of the witches’ prophecy. Macbeth considers reasons why he should not kill King Duncan. Evidence of this is in Macbeth’s soliloquy, and i quote” First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his......

Words: 697 - Pages: 3