Macbeth 4 Essay, Research Paper
The notion of Macbeth being a good and noble man is indeed a matter in which great uncertainty arises; as is the notion that Macbeth was bought down by his evil wife . In Macbeth, one of Shakespeare s most famous tragedies, I am uncertain of the character of Macbeth, as throughout the text, happenings which both support and put down the good character of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are apparent.
At the beginning of the play, Macbeth seems to be true to the statement that he is a good and noble gentlemen, due to his brave acts in the war fought for his country. We hear Macbeth being referred to as O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman (Act 1, Scene 2, Line 24) by King Duncan, who is considered noble and honest by all around him. In a retold story form of the play, the statement is made ; It seemed that Scotland s fate, the people s lives, his own, were cradled in the vast courage of this warrior s breast represents the picture painted of Macbeth early in the piece.
The fact that Macbeth was chosen as Thane of Cowdor is another representation of the confidence that the king and the people of the time had in Macbeth s character. When King Duncan announced Macbeth s rise to Thane, he referred to him as noble Macbeth (Line 69)
The first flaw we see in the character of Macbeth and the first signs of the evil power Lady Macbeth has over her husband, come late in the first act. In this part of the story (Act 1, Scene 5) Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are discussing the murder of King Duncan planned for that night. We hear of Macbeth s uncertainty of committing the crime, however lady Macbeth taunts him until she convinces him to commit the murder. This shows the mental weakness in Macbeth s character.
The famous quote in Act 1 Scene 5 Line 42, where Lady Macbeth calls on the spirits to fill me from crown to toe top-full of direst cruelty! shows the definite malevolent and evil characteristics Lady Macbeth possesses. As it was Lady Macbeth s idea to Kill King Duncan, we establish at this point in the story that Lady Macbeth undoubtedly has an evil control over her husband ; Macbeth.
Before the first murder, we see the extreme unease Macbeth has about the crime which he is about to commit. Macbeth hallucinates (sees a vision) of the murder weapon before his eyes. We saw the signs of Macbeth s conscience when after the murder he looked at his blooded hands and said: This is a sorry sight (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 19). Lady Macbeth s lack of remorse is shown when she replies A foolish thought to say a sorry sight! (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 20).
The evil side of Macbeth s character further develops in Act 3, when he plots to kill Banquo and Fleance. We see more of the weakness in Macbeth s character when he is unable to carry out the murders himself but rather gets someone else to do his work. Signs of Macbeth s returning conscience are seen when he sees visions of Banquo at the dinner table after he has him murdered .
In Act 4, again Macbeth shows an instance of bad character, by out of sheer frustration, when Macduff goes to England he plots to have Macduff s family murdered in place of MacDuff.
In the beginning of this Shakespearean classic tragedy, Macbeth shows the qualities of a good and noble man. However as the story unfolds, weaknesses and evil unfold from Macbeth s hidden character. Macbeth s dreadful deeds in the story are definitely not that of a noble gentlemen.
Included in the influences on Macbeth was certainly that of his evil wife; Lady Macbeth (who may have not have been so evil, as she too began to show signs of guilt in the end). However I don t believe that Lady Macbeth, although a contributing factor, is to blame for the acts of her husband . I think the main driving force behind Macbeth was his greed and ambition to be king.
So in conclusion Macbeth is not a good and noble gentlemen brought down by his evil wife, but a weak man who is easily led to evil, by his own desires and by the influence of others.