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What turns Macbeth from a courageous soldier into a murderous tyrant?

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At the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen as a courageous soldier who is loyal to the King, but his and Lady Macbeth's ambition corrupts him. This is because of the weakness of Macbeth's character and the strong power of Lady Macbeth and how she is easily able to influence him. Her strength motivates him at the start but afterwards when realises what he has done, he continues in his murderous, bloody path without the help of his wife. In scene 2 we hear how strong, brave, noble and loyal Macbeth is and in the beginning of the play Macbeth is a strong soldier who fights for the King without mercy, but the Macbeth we get to know doesn't reflect these qualities. When we first meet Macbeth he is walking with Banquo, and suddenly he is greeted with prophesies from three witches. "All hail Macbeth! Thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter." (Act 1 scene 3 lines 48-50) As a result of the witches' prophecies, Macbeth's curiosity is aroused as he thinks how he could be King of Scotland. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies to tell him what will happen. Macbeth's curiosity slowly corrupts his character. Macbeth is very superstitious and this is shown when he believes the prophecy that Banquo's offspring would become Kings. Minutes after the witches vanish, Ross and Angus also greet Macbeth with the title "Thane of Cawdor". ...read more.


It is this confidence in herself plus the persuasiveness of her words that makes Macbeth act without hesitating. At this point, I think that Macbeth is still under the leadership of his wife, but the way he say these lines, it sounds a little evil, especially for someone who was so loyal towards Duncan just a few days before. After Macbeth has killed King Duncan, he regrets doing so, but that doesn't stop him killing innocent people to maintain his reign over the people of Scotland. Therefore, it was Lady Macbeth who introduced the concept of murder to Macbeth, and so was leading him into the murder. If not for Lady Macbeth, Macbeth's ambition would not have been strong enough to drive him to obtain and maintain his title of King of Scotland no matter what it took. For the next few scenes he acts like any other grieving subject, but when he believes Banquo is on to his plan, he decides to kill him and his son, Fleance, so that his kingship will be safe. "Fleance his son, that keeps him company, Whose absence is no less material to me Than is his father's, must embrace the fate Of that dark hour." (Act 3 scene 1 lines 135 - 138) Macbeth is saying that when the murderers go to kill Banquo, they mustn't forget his son, whose murder is no less important. Macbeth doesn't seem to care about anyone anymore, even a small, defenceless boy, especially if he thinks they are a threat to him and his crown. ...read more.


In the last scene Macbeth comes face to face with Macduff. Macbeth decides he will fight to the last, he has given up on everything, and he has lost everything, his wife, his sanity, and his soul. Towards the end of the play when Macbeth's wife has died and the battle is drawing closer Macbeth shows some good. He wishes for a normal life for which he would have lived to a honourable age but he recognises that he has denied himself of this. Even when Macbeth hears that the prophecy has become true of Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane, he rejects this idea and fights on until he realises that Macduff wasn't born in a natural birth but instead was "Untimely ripped" from his mother's womb. When Macbeth hears this he realises what he has done and how the witches' have tricked him, but he also realises that it is useless and so he fights on only to be slain. After the murder I think that Macbeth became more evil with every passing day. He ordered Banquo's and Fleance's death without any hesitation. He ordered the death of everyone connected to Macduff, all because they witches premonition told him to be wary of Macduff, "...Beware Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife." (Act 4 scene 1 line 72). So in conclusion, the prophecies given to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth's influence and plan, and his intensified ambition, all contributed greatly to his degeneration of his character, which resulted to his downfall and death. Therefore I think that Macbeth is weak and easily led before Duncan's murder, but after the murder, he seems to grow more and more evil. ...read more.

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