Play Macbeth

11971 words 48 pages
At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a respected general, a devoted husband, and a loyal subject of the king. The first of the witches' prophecies bring out his ambitious nature, but he struggles with killing the king. By attacking his manhood, Lady Macbeth convinces him to committ the first of his evil deeds. Macbeth's evil deed causes him to suffer from fear and guilt, which leads to even more evil crimes. Then Macbeth becomes paranoid, suffering from hallucinations and sleeplessness. He becomes less human as he tries over and over to establish his manhood. His ruthlessness in killing Banquo and Macduff's family shows how perverted his idea of manliness really is.

Macbeth's degeneration is also seen in the collapse of his marital
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Others argue that Macbeth completely lacked any moral integrity. Finally, he is viewed most harshly by some who see him as a Satanic figure, in that he knowingly chooses evil and unleashes it upon the world.

Additional Character Analysis

Macbeth commits a trio of heinous crimes in the course of the play: the regicide of Duncan, the murder of his closest friend, Banquo (and attempted murder of Fleance), and the wanton slaughter of innocents in the persons of Macduff's wife and child. Given all this, we may tend to forget that prior to his encounter with the weird sisters, Macbeth is a hero, a loyal warrior in service of the legitimate king of Scotland, Duncan. His decision to accelerate or to manifest the witches' prophecy that he will rule is marked by pangs of guilt at the thought of the sin entailed in the act of killing a king who had amply rewarded his courage and fidelity. Shamed into sin by Lady Macbeth, Macbeth assumes a practical orientation toward the crime at hand. When thoughts of slaying Duncan to obtain the crown first enter Macbeth's mind, his chief concern is that they not be detected. He proclaims, "Stars, hide your fires / Let not light see my black and deep desires" (I.iv.50-52); on the cusp of crime, he again calls on nature to mask his motives, entreating the earth, "Hear not my steps which way they walk" (II.i.57). As a man of action, Macbeth is convinced that, if only he can hide his crime


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