Deterioration Of Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
Deterioration of Macbeth
In all the tragic poems written throughout history, the main character or the hero of the story always has a flaw that causes his or her final downfall. Since Macbeth is no exception, as the rest of the tragic heroes, his weakness causes him not only a breakdown, but also his death. Macbeth character deteriorates completely through out the story due to a moral conflict caused by his ambition, and it is this lust for power what ruins him.
At the beginning of the story, Shakespeare presents to the reader a great character. Many people esteem this character, including the King and his son, after the war where he had a remarkable contribution. Macbeth is then full of pride, intrepid and courageous. He was able to save the life of the king?s son and this gave him a respectable reputation. ?Malcolm: This is the sergeant who like a good and hardy soldier fought ?against my captivity. Hail brave friend! Say to the king the knowledge of the broil as you didst leave it.?(I, 2, 4-6) He has a very strong personality due to the self-esteem he has developed and because he is appreciated and loved by everyone. Up until this point Macbeth has never even thought of changing his position in life. He seems completely satisfied being the thane of Glamis, and since there are many duties he has to accomplish in his position, he has no ambition to become anything else.
However, it is until he meets the three witches when his life starts to change. The witches arouse ambition in Macbeth after giving him prophecies of his future. ?All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!? (I, 3, 48-50) He is confused and even thought the idea of becoming a king is appealing for him he feels it cannot happen since there are other people in his way. He decides not to believe those prophecies, but it is after a messenger makes true the second one, when he accepts and welcomes his fate.
This supernatural soliciting…given me earnest of success…If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs…murder yet is but fantastical…and nothing is but what is not? If chance will have me king…without my stir? Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. (I, 3, 127-148).
It is at this point when Macbeth begins his slow transformation into an unscrupulous man. His desire for becoming king increases and even though he knows what is implied to accomplish it, his lust for power makes him plan the steps to follow. He starts thinking about the possible murder of Malcolm and Duncan, the two men who stand in his path to the crown. ?The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step On which I must fall down, or else o?erleap, for in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires; The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.?(I, 4, 48-53) Although his mind speculated many things, when he arrived to his castle, he tries to back up from the conspiracy because he did not felt capable of carrying it on. ?We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored me of late; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people which would be worn now in the new?st gloss, Not cast aside so soon.? (I, 6, 31-35) However, since Lady Macbeth?s character is deeply influenced by ambition, she manages to convince Macbeth to commit the murders by questioning his manhood. ?Lady Macbeth: What beast was ?t then that made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man, and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man. Nor time nor place did then adhere, and yet you would make both. They have made themselves, and that their fitness now does unmake you.?(I, 7, 48-55) Lady Macbeth breaks her husbands will, and she is able to influence him to cast aside his morals and loyalty. She turns her noble husband into a cold-blooded killer.
Once Macbeth consents to murder Duncan, he takes his first step on his path towards destruction. As he started acting against his conscience, he starts developing a mental sickness. Even before killing Duncan, it can be appreciated how his guilty conscience makes him delusional and unsure of reality.
Is this dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw. Thou marshal?st me the way that I was going, And such an instrument I was to use. Mine eyes are made the fools o? the other senses, or else worth all the rest. I see thee still, And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, Which was not so before. (II, 1, 33-47)
As the play goes on, Macbeth becomes increasingly obsessed with his quest for power. He begins to loose his sense of morale and loyalty, and develops an entire new personality. He becomes paranoid, threatened by his dearest friends. He thinks everyone is turning against him, and because of it he believes in no one, including his best and always trusted friend Banquo. ?Our fears in Banquo Stick deep; an in his royalty of nature Reigns that which would be feared…There is none but he Whose being I do fear.? (III I 49-56) But it is Banquo?s death what immerses him in his sickness. As soon as he knew about his death, he started fantasizing with his ghost. He suffers from schizophrenia, and even though he seems superficially to overcome this problem, internally he is consumed by his conscience.
At last, Macbeth has abandoned his former self and becomes the man he tried so hard not to be. He disregards his former friends so he may achieve his goals. Along with Banquo, he continues killing people. Since he is no longer concerned about his morale, when he learns of the danger Macduff represents, he decides to kill all his family to reduce the danger. ?Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits…give to the edge o? the sward His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace him in his line…This deed I?ll do before this purpose cool.? (IV, 1, 144-154) All he cares about is himself. He is so concerned about the problems he has created, that even the death of his wife seems of no importance, and rather a grief, it is a relief since he thinks she will no longer suffer for what he has done. ?She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word.?(V, 5, 16-18) This concern makes him totally careless, and it is what finally makes him fall. Even thought the witches warn him about Macduff, and with prophecies told him what was going to happen, Macbeth blind with his arrogance, doesn?t understand them and does nothing to prevent them. When the prophecies come true, his life ends when Macduff finally kills him.
As all the tragic heroes, Macbeth proved to have a flaw. It was ambition what completely changed Macbeth. It caused an inner struggle that almost tears him apart. Even though he seemed to have a very strong personality, his conscience made him weak and careless. He changes from a loyal soldier to an unscrupulous conceived tyrant. It was his lust for power what made him change, and what ultimately made him disintegrate.