Macbeth Story MacBeth is the story of a great warrior who is tempted by evil and allows his ambition to corrupt his strength. MacBeth himself begins the story as being the greatest general in all of Scotland, but by the end is merely a shadow of his past self as he is the detested tyrant who is slain by Macduff. Although MacBeth is physically strong in the beginning of the story, he turns out to be emotionally weak. MacBeth’s physical strength is not just encompassed by his might, but also by his keen sense on the battlefield and his devotion to the people around him. MacBeth begins the story by killing a traitor himself, the Thane of Cawdor, Macdonwald, through seemingly impossible odds.
Because of this act, King Duncan proclaims MacBeth the new Thane of Cawdor. It is generally accepted at this point in the story that MacBeth is the most skilled warrior in all of Scotland, and is recognized as such by all characters. His strength was the one thing that allowed him his rise to power, but it was that rise to power that eventually sapped him of all his strength. MacBeth’s strengths soon became his weaknesses, as his ruthlessness when it came to whom he perceived to be his enemies came back to him as Macduff slew him towards the end of the play. MacBeth was also easily duped, as his wife was able to convince him to kill the King, even though MacBeth had already decided to not kill Duncan.
MacBeth’s keen mind was brought down by the guilt he felt over killing Duncan, and this guilt was compounded when he ordered the killing of his best friend, Banquo. This became highly evident as he began seeing visions of the bloody daggers he used to kill Duncan and the vision of Banquo’s ghost at his feast. MacBeth also becomes disillusioned with his marriage as the story moves on. He referred to his wife as “my dearest partner of greatness” (1.5.11) in the beginning, yet when he is informed of his wife’s passing, he says, “She should have died hereafter. There would have been more time for such a word.” (5.5.20) showing his emotional instability, something that he was always able to keep in check.
MacBeth’s character changes from a physically, mentally, and skillfully strong General of the Scottish army to a tyrannical, despised and defeated King of Scotland. MacBeth as a play captures the complete and utter fall from grace of a man not able to deal with the temptations of evil.