Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, is the story of a man’s quest for power, where
guilt, greed, betrayal, and murder are no strangers. In this story an honorable warrior and
the thane of Glamis, Macbeth, becomes a ruthless king and tyrant to all. It is a story of
“good turned bad,” and the steps that are taken to get there.
In the beginning of Act I, Macbeth was shown deference and is liked by many. King
Duncan even referred to him as “noble Macbeth.” He and his “dearest partner in
greatness,” Lady Macbeth , were much in love. It seemed as though she had the strong
character, and she was the one making the effort in striving for Macbeth’s success. Lady
Macbeth was the one who persuaded Macbeth into murdering Duncan, and the
predictions made by the three witches, “greatness is promised to me,” only encouraged
In Act II, the murder is committed and everything changes. The “noble Macbeth” is
no more. “Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time; for from
this instant there’s nothing serious in morality,” in this speech it is apparent that he is
somewhat aware of the change that has occured within his soul. His thoughts become
more sinister and the need for power increases.
Act III shows the biggest change in Macbeth’s character. The relationship between he
and his wife is questionable, the fact that he didn’t share his plan to kill Banquo with
Lady Macbeth, he just slightly hinted toward it, shows that there is a drift or mistrust
between them. Macbeth causes a scene at the feast when a vision of dead Banquo
appears. Lady Macbeth is quick to settle Macbeth and see the guests out, “…he grows
worse and worse…go at once…” She is still very protective of Macbeth’s reputation and is
cautious about how she goes about solving the situation without suspicion.
Act IV signifies Macbeth’s true evilness. He has hired men go to Macduff’s castle and
murder everyone in the castle, after suspecting Macduff of betrayal. When Macduff
hears the news of his family, he is determined to bring down the tyrant, Macbeth. He and
his allies come together and war is declared. “Not in the legions of horrid hell can come
a devil more damn’d in evils to top Macbeth, ” these were the words of an angry Macduff.
Act V is where it all comes down to the wire. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s
relationship has deteriorated. She is plagued with the guilt of what she knows about
Duncan, Banquo, Lady Macduff, and most of all, her husband. She sees no way out,
everything is wrong, and there is no reason to live on, so she takes her life. Meanwhile,
Macbeth asks the doctor “…with some sweet oblivious antidote cleanse the stuff’d bosom
of that perilous stuff…,” he wants an easy solution to Lady Macbeth’s “disease,” but then
he hears of her death and he says his famous soliliquy. “The castle’s gently render’d,” and
Macbeth is sought out. Macbeth seems to be in a state of disallusion, two of the
predictions have come true, and all Macbeth is latching onto is the last prediction, “…for
none of woman born shall harm Macbeth,” he still believes there may be a chance, that
is, until Macduff enlightens Macbeth on the fact that “Macduff was from his mother’s
womb untimely ripp’d.” The two men fight in a fit of rage, Macbeth is defeated. His
greatest downfall was his thirst for power.