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The story of Macbeth, like most of Shakespeare's plays, tells a tale that has a moral lesson attached to it.

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Introduction

The story of Macbeth, like most of Shakespeare's plays, tells a tale that has a moral lesson attached to it. Many a great man has fallen prey to greed, ambition, and power. Macbeth is no exception. His ambition to control the power of the thrown confuses his judgement. When a prophecy was revealed to him, that he would indeed gain that power, he was faced with the choice of reason or temptation. He is a character of powerful contradictions, a man who, for the simple sake of his own ambition, is willing to murder his king and best friend. At the same time, Macbeth has a conscience so strong that the mere thought of his crimes, torments him to no end. As with any of Shakespeare's work, what we learn from it is up to us as is the way we view the story. So, is Macbeth a hero or a villain? Importantly, the opinions of other characters in the play show that he was a great leader right from the start. "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, which he smoked with bloody execution..." ...read more.

Middle

It shows that he looked at both sides of the argument to decide which was the best path to follow. So, even though he committed terrible crimes in the end, he had to be cunning in the first place, which he wasn't. Therefore he had greater outside influences. I think the start of his downfall was when the witches helped to bring to the surface, his secret desires or ambitions in life. Followed by his crazy wife who began to corrupt and manipulate his once gentle conscience. You must consider what Macbeth began doing once he had got into the rhythm of killing. King Duncan was not only his cousin, but he was his dear friend who had recently awarded him the title Thane of Cawdor. By going against the king, it was like going against God. It was sacrilegious! However, this did not stop him from doing so. The killing of Duncan was a "bloody business", a "sorry sight". Macbeth felt ashamed afterwards - "will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?" ...read more.

Conclusion

When finally came the murder of young Siward, it proved that Macbeth had turned psychopathic and was only full of confidence in taking many more innocent lives. All he could say to this was "thou hast born of woman" - no remorse again. . We see that Macbeth essentially loses his integrity and honour as a result of his own actions. He is no longer content with who he is or what he has done, despite the fact that he gets all that he set out to gain. This is a very common lesson indeed. Macbeth failed to realise that he needed to be more proud of himself than of the material things he could gain. As a result, Macbeth tragically lost everything, including his life. The lesson at the end of the day is that temptation is a great evil, which can take over and destroy our lives. I believe that Macbeth was, without a doubt, a villain. Once he had been tempted he was ruined. He had forgotten what it was like to be the faithful warrior he used to be. He had lost all that was dear to him, so all that was left in the end was for the evil to die. ...read more.

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