• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What prevents Macbeth from being nothing more than the story of a ruthless and ambitious murderer?

Extracts from this document...


What prevents Macbeth from being nothing more than the story of a ruthless and ambitious murderer? Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, is the story of an initially good character who is corrupted by the events and characters surrounding him. Through this influence, his personae changes, he becomes more and more ruthless, resulting in his demise and at last tragic end. Therefore, Macbeth can be identified as a tragic hero. Certainly there is a flaw in Macbeth's character, a weakness. This, when combined with the three witches' prophecies and Lady Macbeth's ambition, leads him to compromise his honor and negate moral responsibility on his way to attain power. Only in his downfall he realizes his flaw but is unable to prevent the tragedy. The witches can be seen as pure evil trying to corrupt Macbeth. They know what Macbeth's fate is and make the plan to meet him right in the beginning of the play. The statement "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 12) reiterates throughout the play. This could mean that what is good shall turn to bad and what is bad shall become good. This links to Macbeth's development. From being a brave and loyal subject to the king, he changes into a character that is ruthless and morally corrupted, not at least due to the actions of the three weird sisters. ...read more.


She has given thought to the witches' prophecies and comes up with a plan to kill the king when he would stay in their castle. Seemingly she is a very ruthless character driven by her ambition. Having the power within her grasp, she would do anything to reach it. After the King has arrived Macbeth changes his mind, he thinks of the King very highly, as he has just recently honored him and says to his wife: " We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honoured of late, and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people" (Act 1, Scene 7, Line 31-33). These honors and "Golden opinions" "would be worn in their newest gloss" (Act 1, Scene 7, Line 34) and as he thinks should "not be cast aside so soon" (Act 1, Scene 7, Line 35). In addition, he fears what would happen if they failed. Lady Macbeth however does not accept his fears, questions his manhood and casts all his doubts aside. By this appeal she reaches her goal and finally makes him agree, "I am settled, and bend up" (Act 1, Scene 7, Line 79). Macbeth, even though his chance has been revealed to him, still has doubts regarding his own safety ("If we should fail"), but honestly regards the king as an honorable man, who should not be killed. ...read more.


He still, however, believes in the witches and thinks he is invulnerable to everyone born from a woman. Fighting Macduff he realizes that what the witches foretold him were half-truths only. This, however does not help him and he is at last killed. The last scenes show how deeply he believed in the witches' prophecies. Even after having lost everything, he does not realize that they did not tell him the whole picture. Only shortly before his death he comes to the conclusion that this must be so. Macbeth develops from being an honest, well respected individual to become an inhumane "fiend". However, the fault lies not completely on his part. The witches kindle Macbeth's ambition for kingship and quell his reasoning making him vulnerable to intimidation and seduction in the form of Lady Macbeth. He is in many ways only a tool through which the witches can reach their goals of disruption and disturbance of the natural order of things. After this, Lady Macbeth, who is also led by ambition to change Macbeth around completely. Macbeth carries the flaw that at last leads to his downfall. His ambition and to a certain degree naivety make him the man as which he dies. Only at last, when he is completely isolated and about to die he realizes his mistake in following the witches' advice. Thus he is the classic model for a tragic hero. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Macbeth essays

  1. Macbeth - Act 4 Scene 1: Discuss the Dramatic Potential in this scene.

    There are two boys and a girl. It can also be seen that instead of Macbeth seeing the apparitions in the reflection of the water, he sees them through a net curtain. In this modern video version of Macbeth, nothing has been used to trigger the apparitions, unlike in the Polanski version, where he drinks the potion.

  2. By considering the soliloquies, analyse how Macbeth's character changes as the play progresses.

    Throughout this soliloquy Macbeths state of discontent is extremely obvious as he states that all of his days have merely lit the way to his grave, this attitude is one of bleak pessimism. The final line of this speech is perhaps the most acute example of his attitude towards life:

  1. MacBeth Oral - Murderer Monolouge

    The serpent did hear these rumours and stole my land; thereafter I went to him, pleaded with him... told him I needed to feed my starving family. He said to me that I could have it back but only... and only if I became a murderer...

  2. Many students have trouble following the events in Macbeth and interpreting Shakespeares complex language. ...

    By adapting the play into a film that contains things familiar to everyone, the creators of the film gain a larger audience. Now, the viewers don't have to relate the events to history or have any background information on the beliefs of the age.

  1. Through this essay I am hoping that I will be able to comment upon ...

    defying all logic because a sieve has holes in it and would therefore obviously sink. Another belief of the Elizabethan people was that the witches knew all, and this is confirmed when the first witch tells the others that "her husband to Aleppo gone; master of the tiger".

  2. How do the first three scenes foretell the tragedy of Macbeth?

    It shows that Macbeth is very dangerous and evil which means that something evil will also happen to him. Macbeth proves to be a discomfort when King Duncan arrives at his castle as a guest and although he thought he was comfortable and safe in Macbeths castle, he actually dies there as Macbeth murders him.

  1. Banquos principles have been deeply compromised and we justifiably feel that he is not ...

    This moral decision can be clearly seen in act 3, scene 1 when he ponders the possibilities of the witches? prophecy. He would very much like to be the ?root and father of many kings?. Though he would never take aggressive action against anyone to achieve this desire he is

  2. Macbeth's transformation from a respected leader to a despised and isolated tyrant

    This is a decisive stage in Macbeth?s alienation from his subjects. The final movement in the scene conveys compelling visual images of Macbeth?s separation from his subjects, who leave his feast in hasty disorder. This is not the only abandonment that he suffers.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work