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A Tormented Man or A Callous Tyrant? What is your opinion of Macbeth in Act 3?

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Sophie Edwards A Tormented Man or A Callous Tyrant? What is your opinion of Macbeth in Act 3? Shakespeare's Macbeth is the story of a good man turned evil by a dark ambition he cannot control... Macbeth is tragic hero whose character can be viewed from different prospectuses. It is wrong to categorise him as either a tormented man or a callous tyrant because in the play he is displayed as both. We see him digress from, at the beginning of the play a courageous man driven by ambition to become a cruel and arbitrary man. I am going to examine Shakespeare's portrayal of the downward spiral of a man once called a "worthy gentleman" and now "fiendish hell hound". In Act 3 the murder of Duncan has already taken place. During this murder Macbeth is apprehensive and is persuaded into it by Lady Macbeth: Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'/ Like the poor cat I' th' adage? Macbeth needed no persuasion, however to decide to kill Banquo and attempt to kill Fleance. ...read more.


His sudden change in character suggests mental instability. He is very confused and describes himself : "O full of scorpions is my mind." Scorpions are symbols of evil in the bible, as creatures who have no values and this can be used as a likeness to Macbeth in some of his actions. It is not long before Macbeth becomes brutal again. In Act 3 Scene IV Macbeth is told of the murder of Banquo being completed. He makes the comment about Banquo's blood: "'Tis better thee without than he within" This comment is unneeded and shows him to be manipulative and inhumane when talking about his best friend. He displays no remorse when describing Banquo and Fleance as vermin: "There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled/ Hath nature that in time will venom breed..." He has taken away all feeling and is controlled by evil. Macbeth's actions are destroying his subconscious, we know that he is tormented as he speaks of being afflicted by 'terrible dreams' that cause him to feel he would '[be] better with the dead'. ...read more.


In the last scene of Act 3 suspicions are arising about Macbeth, those who have sided with him, namely the late king Duncan, 'the right-valiant Banquo have paid for their decision. Lennox outlines for us why Macbeth is indeed a tyrant and his feelings are clear: "May soon return to this our suffering country/ Under a hand accursed" Many are now more suspicious of Macbeth than of Malcolm and Donalbain for the murder of Duncan. Macbeth may be in danger although he will not believe it. Macbeth's downfall is himself, he becomes hubristical, thinking he can defy fate. He becomes brutal and but is tormented by his actions. Macbeth is caught up in a vicious circle he cannot control, he murders Duncan and to stop himself feeling guilty for that murder he starts to plan the next but that leaves him feeling guilty and so the cycle goes on. Macbeth is tormented by his strong sub conscience that cause his hallucinations and 'terrible dreams'. On the one hand readers can almost feel sorry for the tormented Macbeth but then his callous, calculating side is revealed and it is hard to believe he is human. (1096 words including quotations) ...read more.

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