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Macbeth - Victim or Villain?

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Macbeth Victim or Villain Upon the opening of the play of Macbeth we hear of him through narrative but do not see him, though the sergeant is biased towards Macbeth and Banquo in his report of them in battle. We find out from the sergeant that Macbeth is someone who portrayed valour on the battlefield. However, this is interesting because we find out later that Macbeth is not as ruthless when he is not on the battlefield. Macbeth was frightened of the witches when he first saw them. Firstly by their appearance and secondly by their predictions, but what is interesting is that the witches predicted things which were positive so Macbeth was afraid of how he might react after hearing their predictions. So we have clues that Macbeth had already thought about plotting to kill the king because of his ambition. All he needed was a little push to carry it through. I will convey to you the changes that take place in Macbeth�s character and his thought process as he changes. It is clear that Macbeth is well respected in the beginning of the play because of the sergeant's report. The sergeant's report made Macbeth sound gallant and the traitor Mackdonwald sound ruthless and not worthy of being killed by Macbeth. ...read more.


This is a dangerous sign that he is on the turning point of loosing his morals. Lady Macbeth wants her husband to be king but she feels that he is not ruthless enough: "art not without the ambition, but without the illness should attend it". Lady Macbeth wants Macbeth to be as malicious as her so she say's she will "Pour...spirits in thine ear". This means that she will try to convince Macbeth to be evil like her. The fact that Lady Macbeth wants her husband to be capable of murder is very important because she acts as a catalyst in changing her husband's limits when it comes to killing. When Macbeth is thinking about why he shouldn't kill the king he thinks that Duncan has been a good king and there will be an uproar after his death: "Hath born his faculties so meek....his virtues will plead like angels". We can see that at this point Macbeth's conscience is stronger than his ambition and he is weak in that he cannot control his ambition but at the same time his emotions are taking over the way he acts. When Macbeth tries to make a stand up to his wife he say's: "We shall proceed no further in this business". ...read more.


Macbeth believes that the more evil tasks you perform, the easier they become to do: "Bad begun, make strong themselves by ill". Macbeth visits the witches to find out what he should do next and they tell him to beware of Macduff, so when he finds out that he has fled from England he kills his entire family: "The castle of Macduff I will surprise". Throughout the play, we find Macbeth�s character changes. At first he appears to be a brave and honourable soldier. However, his character proves to be more complex. There is a darker side to him; his weakness, his greed and ambition leads him to murder the king. The weak side of his nature lays him open to manipulation and emotional blackmail by his wife. His thirst for power drives him on. However, the remorse he primarily feels upon murdering the king is short lived. Indeed the darker side of his nature overtakes his fears of God forsaking him: "amen stuck in his throat". He is eclipsed by the ruthless side of his nature and is driven to commit more atrocious murders to further his ambitions. We have learnt that Macbeth was not a person who was predictable or to be underestimated. He was a Villain in his own mind. "Fair is foul and foul is fair" ...read more.

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