Macbeth difference between direct and indirect characterisation

Differentiate between direct and indirect characterisation Shakespeare uses in order to construct his characters

In Act 1 of “Macbeth,” Shakespeare uses indirect characterisation to construct the protagonist Macbeth. The wounded Captain sings praises of Macbeth to King Duncan of how “…with his brandished steel/ Which smoked with bloody execution/ Like Valour’s minion carved out his passage/ Till he faced the slave.” (1.2.11-20) Shakespeare does this to build Macbeth character of being powerful and manly before he even enters the stage.

Shakespeare uses direct characterisation characters talk to others on the stage, when they talk to the audience in an aside or a soliloquy. When King Duncan arrives at the Macbeth Household to stay the night, Duncan speaks of how welcoming and how pleasant it is to be at the Macbeth household and he describes “This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/ Unto our gentle senses.”(1.6.1-3). This is Shakespeare showing us directly through the actions of Duncan that his character is one of a trusting nature despite all the ill intent that is surrounding him.

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1 Comment

  1. Uzay Ashton says: Reply

    You’ve written a very thoughtful response. In future, try to embed your quotes a little more seamlessly. For example:

    Duncan speaks of how Macbeth’s “castle hath a pleasant seat; the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/ Unto [his] gentle senses”(1.6.1-3).

    See how the quote can fit directly into your sentence? Try it next time and let me know if you have any questions.

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