Macbeth: Character Analysis The Tragedy of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, is about a soldier, Macbeth, and his friend, Banquo, who meet up with three strange witches who share prophecies with the two men. Macbeth is told that he will become king someday and rule the land of Scotland. The rest of the play follows the actions of once a loyal soldier turned Into a greedy king, who seeks to hold the crown forever no matter what the consequences may be. Throughout the play Macbeth displays himself as a dynamic character.
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At the beginning of the play, he is indecisive about becoming evil and asking over Scotland by committing crimes and murders. or if he should stay loyal to the king and leave things to destiny. As the play progresses, Macbeth’s greed begins to take over and he only cares about becoming king. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth Is described as a good and hardy soldier (Shakespeare 6), yet once he hears that he will be king, his honorable nature Is In question. Three witches begin to share their prophecies with Macbeth and Banquo. The third witch in Act I says to Macbeth “All Hail Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter! (11). The witches’ prophecies start to bring out Macbeth’s ambitious mature As Act I progresses, Macbeth starts to contemplate killing King Duncan, who is the current king of Scotland, so that he will be able to rule. He struggles with the thought of murdering King Duncan. In Macbeth’s aside he says, “My thought, whose murder yet Is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man that function Is smothered In surmise, and nothing is but what is not” (13). This line displays Macbeth’s first thought of killing Duncan, but also shows his hesitance of whether he should follow through or not.
He decides to leave it to fate whether he shall become wing or not (13). Macbeth then goes from contemplating murder to showing respect to the King by telling him that the people of Scotland should do everything loyal to his love and honor (14). At
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the end of Act l, Macbeth really starts to question murdering the King. Macbeth says to himself, “First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then, as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself” (20). These lines show that Macbeth is back and forth with his desires and his duties. Macbeth tells his wife that
Duncan is coming to their castle and leaving the next morning (17). Right after Lady Macbeth hears this, she says, “O, never shall sun that morrow see! ” (18). This statement shows that Lady Macbeth is beginning to convince Macbeth Into his first act of evil. Macbeth Is finally convinced and has devoted every part in his body to make this evil crime take place (21). Macbeth has now transformed from a noble soldier to a potential murderer. In the opening scene of Act II, things start to become real with plans being put into action. Macbeth starts to see an imaginary dagger before his own eyes.
Then, he begins to see drops of blood on it, as he did not before (24). The representation of the fake dagger leads Macbeth to the murder of King Duncan. Instead of Macbeth using the knife as his tool, It seems as If the knife Is using Macbeth as Its tool. At last, King become paranoid that someone has seen him murder the King. He speaks to Lady Macbeth and says, “One cried “God bless us! ” and “Amen” the other, as they had seen me with these hangman’s hands” (26). Mac duff, who is a nobleman of Scotland, has come to fetch King Duncan. Macbeth shows him where King Duncan’s chamber is nd Mac duff finds the King dead (30).
Macbeth acts as if he knows nothing about the Kings murder, which leads him to becoming a liar. Macbeth blames the murder on two innocent guardsmen and as a result, he kills them to cover for his own crime (31). As Act Ill is set in motion, Macbeth is beginning to think about who stands in the way of him staying King, although the audience knows he is really starting to lose power. Macbeth realizes that Banquo is now a threat to his royal stature. Macbeth invites Banquo to his royal gathering at his palace, but Banquo lets him know that he might out make it because him and his son are going to go ride (38).
At the beginning of the play, the three witches prophesied that Banquds sons will become kings eventually (11). Since then, Macbeth decides to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance, so that they will no longer be an obstacle to his desire. Macbeth hires two murderers to go and kill Banquo. He tells them that Banquo is the man who held them back from promotion and is their enemy (41). However, these murders do not go as planned. Fleance flees from the scene of where his father was killed by the murderers (47). Now, Macbeth’s mind is starting to become worried.
He says, “Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect, whole as the marble, founded as the rock, as broad and general as the casing air: but now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in to saucy doubts and fears” (48). This quote shows how Macbeth is starting to become worried and fearful of not staying King because Fleance is still alive. It is the banquet scene where we finally see Macbeth completely losing control of his emotions and his true sense of purpose. His sub conscience has clearly dominated his conscious mind and making him do and say things that he would later regret.
The fear and guilt of his murder take the form of the ghost of Banquo that he sees sitting at the table. Macbeth, unable to tolerate it, starts randomly shouting nonsense and makes a complete fool of himself, so much so that Lady Macbeth begins to tell the guests that he has had this illness since he was younger, and ultimately asks them to leave for fear of them finding out about their involvement in Duncan’s murder (49). As Act IV opens up, Macbeth goes back to the witches a second time and is completely corrupted. The witches tell Macbeth three more prophecies: “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!
Beware Macduff” “Be bloody, bold, and resolute! Laugh to scorn the of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth. ” Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him” (58-59). At this point, Macbeth thinks he is invincible and this will never happen. After Macbeth is told to beware Macduff, he decides to hire two more murderers and attack Macduffs castle (61). Macbeth is now raging and very demanding with the things he wants. During Act V, Macbeth is still very confident that the witches’ prophecies have granted him invincibility.
Macbeth starts out this act by telling everyone to stop bringing him reports because he does not want to accept that fact that the reports are true (77). Macbeth has now lost his trust in the witches’ prophecies. But still, Macbeth denies the fact that the prophecies are false. A messenger tells Macbeth that the woods are crimes are not yet over. Young Siward, general of the English forces, goes into the castle in hopes killing Macbeth, but instead Macbeth kills him (83). Then, Macduff finds Macbeth and they begin to fight. Macbeth is slain by Macduff for the good of Scotland (85-86).
In this tragedy, Macbeth starts out as a very heroic character, but his attitude drastically changes once he commits his crimes and murders. Throughout the play, his relationships with great people become useless. He begins to trust no one but himself and wants to go after everyone. Lady Macbeth might have been the one to persuade Macbeth in to his first act of evil, but Macbeth decided to keep it going instead of stopping. All of his cruel actions led to the resolution of the play, Macbeth’s death. Works Cited Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Orlando: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2005. print.See More on Macbeth