Macbeth_Discuss The Character Essay, Research Paper
The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a classic piece of Literature that has been continuously analyzed throughout the centuries. The main character of the play, Macbeth, has conflicting emotions that result in him ?destroying his self respect, ruining his pride, degrading his honor, and spoiling his integrity? (Cant). In an effort to gain power, he pushes aside his honor, but his desire for immorality is what caused his downfall in the end. The play depicts the minor characters as having their own distinct characteristics, however Macbeth tends to modify himself many times throughout the play. Macbeth is first portrayed as a noble, brave soldier who thrives on the admiration and respect from people around him (Cant). Later, he becomes indecisive and feebleminded as Lady Macbeth persuades him into killing King Duncan in an effort to gain power. He shows his weak, agile characteristics by allowing his success to conquer him (Hazlitt 171). By the end of the play, Macbeth?s objective is to resume in power and ensure a secure future for himself. The actions he takes to obtain this goal causes his level of morality to decline and he loses the respect he previously earned throughout his meritorious life (Cant). Macbeth?s characteristics tend to change each time his title changes.
During the first act of the play, Macbeth is honored as a noble and brave soldier. King Duncan rewards him for being a soldier who is loyal, courageous, and willing to ?fight for his life with a wild and brute-like force? (Hazlitt 174). Not only is Macbeth recognized by his admirers for his physical strength, but also he is commended for his ?keen sense on the battlefield? (Bornstein). He has been known for having a pure, natural manner to him (Cant). Because of this nature, Lady Macbeth is afraid he will not kill Duncan without intense persuasion because he is ?too full of the milk of human kindness? (I.v.15).
Lady Macbeth effects the way the audience views Macbeth because she is utterly relentless. Macbeth?s characteristics change because of her ruthless ambition that drives him to commit malicious sins (Hazlitt 171). She encourages Macbeth to ?look like th? innocent flower / But be the serpent under?t? (I.vii.63). Lady Macbeth is very persistent in reaching a higher social guise, leading Macbeth to become violent in order to acquire her mission (Hazlitt 171-175). Lady Macbeth has successfully subdued Macbeth when he murders Duncan although he originally was against it.
After killing Duncan, Macbeth shows remorse for the treason he has committed which he once fought against. As he becomes more anxious and disturbed, the joy and love he once received diminishes, but hope causes him to continue the striving for domination. Macbeth is no longer happy with who he is or what he has done despite the fact he gets all that which he set out to gain. Macbeth seems to be comforted by reminiscing his crimes. He attempts to deny their consequences and he relieves his regret for his past actions by planning more devious schemes in order to ensure his position. ?He stands in doubt between the world of reality and the world of fancy? (Hazlitt 176). ?I have supped full with horrors / Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts / Cannot once start me? (V.v.13). Macbeth begins to see hallucinations that cause him to be severely agitated. ?He becomes more callous as he plunges deeper in guilt? (Hazlitt 171-176).
By the end of the play, Macbeth makes a drastic transformation from the noble, brave soldier to the keen, nefarious king. Ambition corrupts Macbeth. Greed has caused him to be powerful and he takes advantage of his power by assassinating innocent people who may have the possibility of being connected to his predicted downfall. ?Once his hands are dyed in blood, he hardly cares to withdraw them?until slaughter becomes the habit of his reign? (Hazlitt 174). He plans to continue murdering people in order to serve his purpose. Evil has overcome Macbeth at this point and nothing can startle him. Fear does not phase him because his conscience is jaded and this actualization, in a way, comforts him (Cant). Throughout the play, the three witches who ?planted the seed? in Macbeth?s head that he will become king were able to accurately predict the outcome of the play. The shrewd sisters used foreshadowing by chanting ?fair is foul, and foul is fair? (I.i.10) in order to prophesize that some things (or some people) can be deceiving. Later on in the play, one witch comments ?something wicked this way comes? (IV.i.45) referring to Macbeth. This quote is a definite sign that he has crossed over to the evil side.
A new title tends to bring a different persona when it comes to Macbeth. ?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. Physically strong in the beginning of the story, he turns out to be emotionally weak? (Bornstein). Because Macbeth changes his perspective numerous times, he seems to be uncertain of his true identity. However, without the complexity of Macbeth?s character, the reader would be less amused by the tragic tale. He gradually loses his integrity as well as his honor eventually leading him to his downfall. Thus, corruption and greed led to Macbeth?s final decline. The Tragedy of Macbeth captures the complete and utter fall from grace of a man who is unable to deal with the temptations of evil.
Bornstein, Eric. ?MacBeth?. ChuckIII.com. Home page. No date. http//www.chuckiii.com/Reports/Shakespeare/Macbeth.shtml.
Cant, Michael. ?Macbeth Character Study?.ChuckIII.com. Home page. No date.