At the beginning Shakespeare presents Macbeth as a sort of hero. He is presented as a great warrior and loyal servant of the king, Duncan. However, as we progress through the play we see another side of Macbeth. This is the side of evil all powered by his unstoppable lust for power and greatness.

We see this lust for power become stronger and stronger until he leaves the whole of Scotland in a terrible state.The play starts with the witches talking about Macbeth and what a great warrior he is. In Shakespeares time witches were thought of as evil and the fact that they were talking about Macbeth made the audience make the connection between Macbeth and evil. The witches also give the audience the setting of the play and the story so far. They tell the audience about the battle in which Macbeth is fighting and that they will meet Macbeth on his return. When the king hears of Macbeths heroics in battle he is very pleased and refers to him as valiant cousin, worthy gentleman. The king also presents Macbeth with the title of the Thane of Cawdor. This just adds to Macbeths already great status and shows him to be even more of a hero.

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This is backed up again by the sergeant who refers to him as brave Macbeth and Valours minion. Ross also admires his bravery by referring to him as Bellonas bridegroom.The first time we see Macbeth is when he arrives on the heath where the witches are settled. Even before Macbeth appeared for the first time we had quite a clear picture of him. The first words Macbeth speaks, So fair and foul a day I neer have seen mirror the first words we hear from the witches.

When Macbeth meets the witches they seem to know a lot about him and start implanting the idea of becoming king in his mind. Macbeth is taken aback by the witches and their prophecies which suggests that Macbeth has thought about it before and is frightened that his secret has been uncovered.When the messengers arrive with the news that Macbeth has earned the title of Thane of Cawdor this acts as a catalyst in his lust for power and quest to become king. The contrast between Macbeth and Banquos attitude towards the prophecies shows how Macbeth has great ambitions and is starting to think about killing the king.Macbeths lust for power is strengthened again when Duncan proclaims his son, Malcolm as heir to the throne. Macbeth reacts to this by referring to Malcolm as a step I must oerleap. Macbeth writes home telling his wife, Lady Macbeth about the witches prophecies. Lady Macbeth knowing Macbeth so well is aware of what Macbeth is thinking and when she reads the letter further she learns that Duncan is coming to her house to stay for a night.

This gives her the opportunity she needs.When Macbeth comes back home after the battle he makes it clear he hasnt made up his mind about killing Duncan by saying we will speak further. Later on Macbeth considers the consequences of killing Duncan and thinking that killing him would be easy if there were no consequences to go along with it. That but this blow, might be the be-all and end-all here. Macbeth also considers the effect that killing Duncan will have on his conscience. Bloody instructions, which being taught, return to plague the inventor. After coming to these conclusions Macbeth thinks up a list of reasons why not to kill Duncan.

He knows that he is the kings loyal kinsman and as his host, should protect him. He says that killing such a great king would cause heavens angels to blow the horrid deed in every eye. The only thing that keeps Macbeth going is his lust for power and this is proven when he says, I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which oerleaps itself and falls on the other.When Macbeth again consults Lady Macbeth about the murder he seems to have decided against it by telling her We will proceed no further in this business.Lady Macbeth again persuades Macbeth by accusing Macbeth of being a coward and saying that if she had said she would dash her own sons brains out the way Macbeth said he would kill Duncan she would have gone ahead and done it. Macbeth again is shown to be unable to make decisions for himself and finally gives in to Lady Macbeth and agrees to kill Duncan. I am settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat.

Macbeth is still shown to be in two minds about killing Duncan. He imagines a dagger in front of him showing him the way to Duncans chamber, which suggests he is uneasy about the prospect of killing the king. Or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? This shows the great mental strain on Macbeth and his inability to cope with such a deed.After Macbeth has committed the deed he came out of Duncans chamber in a trance like state. He was still holding the daggers he used as weapons, which were supposed to be left next to the guards so they could take the blame. Macbeth starts to feel the strain on his conscience when he says Macbeth doth murder sleep and To know my deed, twere best not know myself. This is further shown when he hears the knocking at the gates and says Wake Duncan with thy knocking, I would thou couldst.By the time the discovery was made Macbeth had recovered enough to appear shocked at the news of Duncans death but wasnt very convincing in his act.

When Macduff ran out of Duncans chamber Macbeth seemed far too calm for the situation. Macbeth kills the grooms because he thinks that they might incriminate him. When Macbeth is explaining to the thanes why he killed the grooms he is too wordy and Lady Macbeth has to fake a faint to stop Macbeth from revealing all about their plans.Macbeth being third in line as heir to the throne, after Malcolm and Donalbain who feared for their lives and fled, becomes king. You would think this was enough for Macbeth but his lust for power is too strong and stops him from being content with what he has. He realises Banquo is his source of insecurity because of what the witches said about him being the father of many kings. Macbeths lust for power makes him think that there was no point killing Duncan if his children would not inherit the title of king from him.

He needs this security and shows it by saying To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus.Macbeth comes to the conclusion that the best way to get rid of this insecurity is to have Banquo killed as well as his son, Fleance. This time Macbeth does not consult Lady Macbeth about killing Banquo, which shows he has gained strength from killing Duncan. Macbeth also shows no hesitation in his decision as he did with Duncan, despite the fact that Banquo is his friend and fellow soldier.When Macbeth hears that Banquo is dead but Fleance still lives he is again uncertain about his future. Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect. At the banquet Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo and starts to panic and shout at it. Lady Macbeth again has to come to the rescue by telling guests he has been having fits like this since his childhood.

The fit is momentary. feed and regard him not. This event causes Macbeth to go and search for the witches to learn about his future. In this scene Macbeth reveals how he regards his present state and he decided to continue along the path of evil.

I am in blood steppd in so far, that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go oer. Scotland under Macbeth was by now a very unhappy place and opposition to Macbeth was growing. In the second meeting he was told to beware of Macduff but told that no man born of woman could harm him.

Macbeths uncertainty about his future is shown when Macbeth resolves to get Macduff killed. On hearing that Macduff has fled to England, Macbeth decides to have his whole family killed instead, showing how cruel a tyrant he has become. Macduff and Malcolm gather an army up and invade Scotland. Macbeths army deserts him and he is left to fend for himself.

Macbeth stands bravely against the invading army, which again restores his image as a brave soldier. On confronting Macduff, Macbeth learns that he was untimely rippd from his mothers womb. Macbeth dies a soldiers death at the hands of Macduff and Malcolm becomes the new king of Scotland.

In the end Macbeth got just what he deserved but I dont think he knew the full extent of what he was getting himself into. I believe that most of the blame must lie on Lady Macbeths shoulders, as it was she who persuaded Macbeth to go ahead with the deed when he was about to give up and be the loyal soldier he should have been.Words/ Pages : 1,559 / 24


Macbeth In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, the characters and the roles they play are critical to its plot and theme, and therefore many of Shakespeare’s characters are well developed and complex.

Two of these characters are the protagonist, Macbeth, and his wife, Lady Macbeth. They play interesting roles in the tragedy, and over the course of the play, their relationship changes and their roles are essentially switched. At the beginning of the play, they treat each other as equals. They have great concern for each other, as illustrated when Macbeth races to tell Lady Macbeth the news about the witches and she immediately begins plotting how to gain for her husband his desire to be king. At this point, Lady Macbeth is the resolute, strong woman, while Macbeth is portrayed as her indecisive, cowardly husband. He does have ambition, but at this point, his conscience is stronger than that ambition. Lady Macbeth explains this characteristic of her husband in Act I, Scene v, when she says, “Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.” The next stage of change developing in the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is in Act II.

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This is the act in which Macbeth kills King Duncan. Macbeth’s character change is apparent because it is obvious that he has given in to his ambition and has murdered the king. He is not entirely changed, though, because he is almost delirious after he has committed the crime. He exclaims, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.” He believes that instead of the ocean cleaning his hands, his hands would turn the ocean red. Macbeth’s role has changed somewhat but not entirely, since he has committed the crime but his conscience is still apparent after the murder. Lady Macbeth’s role similarly changes somewhat in Act II.

The reader sees a crack in her strong character when she tells Macbeth in Scene ii of Act II that she would have murdered Duncan herself if he had not resembled her father as he slept. Her boldness is still evident, though, when she calms Macbeth after the murder and believes “a little water clears us of this deed.” Unlike the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, their relationship remains unchanged from Act I to II. Their relationship is still very close as seen through Duncan’s murder – a product of teamwork. At the end of Act III, both the roles and the relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have reached the final stage of their change. Now that Duncan is dead and Macbeth is hopelessly headed toward a life of immorality, Lady Macbeth fades into the background. Macbeth takes it upon himself in Act III to plot Banquo’s murder without consulting his wife because he wants to protect her from the corruption that he has involved himself with. His role is now completely changed and there is no turning back for him.

As Macbeth goes off on his own course during this time, Lady Macbeth’s guilt is overwhelming and, cut off from him, she descends into madness.Her guilt emerges in Act III, Scene ii when she says she would rather be dead, and it grows from then on until her death. Lady Macbeth’s character change is also evident in Act III, Scene ii when she backs out of Macbeth’s mysterious murder plan and tells him, “You must leave this.” The relationship between the couple is being torn apart by this time in Macbeth. They are headed in separate directions – Macbeth towards a life of evil and Lady Macbeth towards insanity and grief. As Shakespeare developed the characters of Macbeth and his wife, their changing roles ironically ended up resembling the other one’s role. At the beginning of the tragedy, Macbeth was the hesitant character with a strong conscience, while Lady Macbeth was powerful and firm.

However, by the time these two characters were completely changed, Macbeth ended up being decisive and greedy, as Lady Macbeth turned out to be weak since her guilty conscience drove her insane. Shakespeare’s exchange of roles in Macbeth is clever yet unusual, but after all, “things aren’t always what they seem.”.


“Macbeth” a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, portrays, how the main character Macbeth, transforms from a war hero, to a murdering villain. Macbeth starts out as the thane of Glamis and steadily rises to become King of Scotland. The higher Macbeth rose on his road of power the more corrupt and evil he became.

The character change of Macbeth ignites the whole theme of the play.Macbeth is shown as a vigorous war hero in the opening scene. “And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling showed like a rebel’s whore. But all’s too weak for brave Macbeth.

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” (1.2 16.18) The captain expressing the braveness of great Macbeth in Scotland’s battle with the invading Norway hordes. It didn’t take long for the people of Scotland to realize what a leader Macbeth was. Another example of Macbeth’s patriotism is in the third scene. “Go pronounce his present death and with it’s former title greet macbeth” (1.3 74-75) Macbeth was seen as such a hero and leader by King Duncan that he now moved up to Thane of Cawdor. The king put his trust into Macbeth.

The final example of macbeth’s loyalty to Scotland and King Duncan is when macbeth quoted”The service and the loyalty I owe, in doing it pays itself” (1.4 25-26) After macbeth gets crowned Thane of Cawdor he expresses his gratitude and dedication to the king and Scotland. Macbeth was thought to be the best man for the job.The character of Macbeth starts to creep from loyal and trustworthy to paranoid and conniving.

The higher Macbeth rose the more he wanted “We will proceed no further in this business he hath honored of late” (1.7 34-35) Macbeth starts to run the idea of murdering King Duncan through his head. Macbeth decides that he wont murder the king. Lady Macbeth’s determination to become queen influences Macbeth’s decision.”If it were done when tis done, then twere it be done quickly” (1.7 1-2) Macbeth is toying with the notion to murder King Duncan. Macbeth would not be satisfied until he ruled all Scotland! An idea turned into a priority, Macbeth wasn’t thinking of killing the king he was sure of it.

“Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand.”(2.1 42-43) Macbeth’s vision turned out to be a false creation of the mind that led macbeth to believe that fate was telling him to kill King Duncan.Near the end of the play Macbeths true evilness comes out. Macbeth paranoia leads him to believe that everyone is out to get him. ” So is he mine, and in such bloody distance that every minute of his thrusts against my hear’st life” (3.

1 128-130) Macbeth grows suspicious of Banquo. The witch’s predictions of Banquo’s kids becoming king engulfed all thoughts in Macbeth’s head. “I’ll make assurance double sure.” (4.1 93) Macbeth is making sure Banquo and his son fleance are murdered. Macbeth felt the it was best to hire murders to handle fleance and Banquo.

Macbeth is overcome with evil. “From this moment the very firstling of my heart shall be the firstling of my mind” (4.1 165-168) Macbeth’s mind no longer matters. Macbeth’s heart makes all the decisions. This shows true evilness.The character of Macbeth transforms from a war hero to a murdering villain. The theme of this play revolves around character change.

Greed, power, and gullibility led Macbeth to tragedy, and death. The changing character of Mabeth created a suspenseful atmosphere, which kept the reader on the edge.


Macbeth THE NATURE OF EVIL How does the play portray evil as a perversion of human nature? Show how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have to go against their own natures in order to kill Duncan. Trace the effect the betrayal of human nature has on each of them. How does the imagery of disease function in Macbeth? Trace the way in which evil works on Macbeth and on Scotland like a sickness. Find imagery to support the idea that Malcolm and Macduff heal the country by overthrowing Macbeth. What makes Macbeth susceptible to evil? Explore the nature of Macbeth’s ambition, and show how it overrides his sense of right and wrong. Evil within vs.

evil without.Is evil an outside force, or does it come from within a person? Find instances in the play to support either theory, or both. How is Macbeth destroyed by evil? Trace the path of Macbeth’s downfall and show how it happens as a consequence of his murdering Duncan. As Macbeth becomes more evil, how do his feelings change? Start by exploring how his feelings at the beginning of the play are much like anybody else’s.

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Trace the way in which his feelings about people and his responses to events become twisted and abnormal. Trace how Lady Macbeth is destroyed by evil.Show how she renounces all human feeling in Act I and seems to be successful. After the murder, follow her downward course into madness and death. How does evil work by deception? Contrast what Macbeth and Lady Macbeth believe they are gaining through murder with what they actually get. Do they deceive themselves, or are they deceived by others? How can evil be avoided? Macbeth gives in to temptation.

Take several characters who maintain their integrity and investigate what the play says about how they do it.How does Shakespeare establish the atmosphere of evil which pervades Macbeth? Start with the witches, and show how their presence reflects on all the events of the play. Give examples of how the imagery in the language creates a feeling of evil. Also examine the setting. THE SUPERNATURAL How does Macbeth’s changing attitude toward the supernatural reflect the change in his character? Contrast Macbeth’s reaction to the witches when he first sees them with his attitude toward them in Act IV. Supernatural events occur throughout the play.Discuss their dramatic function. Each time Macbeth encounters something supernatural- the witches, the floating dagger, a ghost- he moves more deeply into evil.

List the supernatural events and comment on how each marks a step in Macbeth’s downfall. Do the supernatural events really occur, or are they projections of Macbeth’s inner state? Some readers believe that the floating dagger, Banquo’s ghost, and even the witches are products of Macbeth’s imagination. Explore that possibility.

Point out in what way, if any, the meaning of the play is changed by accepting or rejecting the reality of the supernatural.How do the witches’ predictions influence Macbeth’s actions? Analyze what they tell Macbeth at the beginning of the play. How do they win his confidence? Why do those particular prophesies have such an effect on him? Do the same for the second set of predictions. Nature itself reacts to some of the events in a super-natural manner. Explore how the theme of good vs.

evil is supported by such occurrences.Good in the play is not relative; it is absolute. Give examples in which nature itself seems to be condemning an evil action. THE CHARACTERS Describe the way Macbeth and Lady Macbeth influence each other in the play. What effect does Lady Macbeth’s determination to kill Duncan have on her husband? After the murder, how does Macbeth change, and how does that affect Lady Macbeth? Contrast Macbeth’s imaginative nature with Lady Macbeth’s pragmatic nature. Compare their attitudes toward Duncan’s murder, both before and after the deed.

Throughout the play, give instances of his poetic description of feelings and situations and her prosaic, practical way of thinking and expressing herself. Compare Malcolm, the rightful king, with Macbeth.What motivates each of them? Does Malcolm care about his people? Does Macbeth? Compare the way Macbeth manipulates the two murderers for his own purposes and the way Malcolm temporarily deceives Macduff for the good of their country. How does Shakespeare establish that Macduff is a good man? Show how Macduff’s character is revealed through his actions and reactions.

Focus on how he handles himself after Duncan’s murder and after hearing that his wife and children have been killed. Does Macbeth’s character determine his fate? How does Macbeth’s nature make him a prime target for the witches’ temptations? Why does he choose to ignore the inner voices that tell him not to murder Duncan? Is Macbeth a good man at the beginning of the play, or is he already plotting to be king? Macbeth’s quick response to the suggestion that he will be king could be interpreted as proof that he has already been plotting, or it could simply show that the forces of evil have been clever in choosing their temptation. Using Macbeth’s soliloquies and his scenes with Lady Macbeth, take a stand on the question and defend it.Would Macbeth have murdered Duncan without Lady Macbeth’s influence? The discussion will be a matter of opinion, of course.

Use the scenes between Macbeth and his wife to develop and defend your view. MOTIFS How does the imagery of light and darkness work through the play? List instances of characters calling upon darkness to hide their evil deeds. Through light-dark imagery, trace the contest between good and evil.

Trace the theme of honor and loyalty throughout the play.Show how noble Macbeth betrays the trust placed in him, and what the consequences are. Discuss why references to loyalty and honor disappear in the middle of the play and come back at the end. Fate and destiny: what is man’s proper relation to them? Explore what the play is saying about this question by dividing the characters into two groups- those who trust their fate to a higher power, and those who take destiny into their own hands. Which group fares better? How does the imagery relating to time work in the play? Show how Macbeth tries to compress time. Contrast his effort to jump the life to come with the way the honest characters let things happen as nature intends for them, in their own time.OTHER ELEMENTS How does the setting contribute to the play? Describe the settings of the various scenes.

Show how the text indicates where a scene takes place. Discuss how the imagery of light and darkness is reflected in the setting. How does the fact that Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays contribute to its effectiveness? Discuss the economy of the writing. Show how each detail contributes to the advancement of the plot; and how Macbeth seems to plunge to his destruction at a sickening pace. Discuss the use of dramatic tension in Macbeth.Chart what Shakespeare lets us know and what information he withholds from us in order to maintain suspense. Social structure: How is the Scottish society of Macbeth’s time ordered? How is peace maintained? Evaluate how Macbeth affects the social structure and what happens to it after Malcolm takes over.



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