Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth
Lady Macbeth is a controversial figure. She is seen by some as a woman of strong will who is ambitious for herself and who is astute enough to recognise her husband's strengths and weaknesses, and ruthless enough to exploit them. They see her in her commitment to evil and in her realisation that the acquisition of the Crown has not brought her the hapipiness she had expected, and finally, as one who breaks down nuder the strain. Others see her as a woman ambitious for her husband whom she loves. She recognises the essential good in him, and feels that, without her, he will never win the Crown. She allies herself with the powers of darkness for his sake, but here inherent(congenital) femininity beraks down under the strain of the unnatural murder of Duncan and the alienation of her husband. She can see what must be done; he visualises the consequence.
"fiend-like queen" To Macbeth, in his letter to her, she is his "dearest partner of greatness", an indication of love and trust.
Overcome By Ambition - she calls on the powers of evil to unsex her and make her cruel and to fill her full of "direst cruelty"
"Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done't" does this imply that she is still a woman with a woman's tendernesss? Is she alloy by exploiting his love for her when she makes his consent to murder a test of his love? Is she being cynical when she inverts logic and reality in asking him if he is afraid to be what he wants to be and in suggesting that to be a true man he must take what he wants She is aware, too, that dwelling on the moral aspect of the murder "will make us mad".
The Better Criminal? - She seems to be the better criminal; she remembers the details that Macbeth has overlooked, "Why did you bring these daggers from the place?" and shows her as she brings the daggers back. Does she really despise Macbeth when she argues him of wearing "a heart so white"? Or is she afraid for him that he may betray himself?
Unhappiness - Lady Macbeth realises that the Crown has not brought happiness, "Nought's had, all's spent, Where our desire is got without content." She worried that Macbeth is unhappy? She tries to console him, "what's done is done
Macbeth's Character in Macbeth
Macbeth as a Tragic Hero must have some potential nobility, some good qualities that make his downfall terrifying. Lady Macbeth says he is "too full of the milk of human kindness Malcolm considers him as a "dead butcher" he is a victim of his. From the opening scene Macbeth is chosen as a target for temptation; the witches, as agents of evil plan their trap; so the stage is set for his downfall.
* Brave - We learn of his physical prowess and bravery on the battlefield - "brave Macbeth", "valour's minion", "valiant cousin! worthy gentleman.
* Prone to Tempation - Yet in the following scene we observe his interest in the Witches' predictions. He is tempted - "Your children shall be Kings" but temptation is not guilt. When Ross tells him he has been made Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth asks, "why do you dress me in borrowed robes?" Does this suggest that, at this stage, he wants no honours that are not rightfully his?
- Conscience? - We can see the moral struggle within him when Duncan nominates Malcolm as his successor. He calls on the stars to hide their fires so that his evil thoughts will not be seen.
- Compassionate - Lady Macbeth says in soliloquy that he is "too full of the milk of human kindness". Does this suggest that he is compassionate
* As a Husband - His letter to LM shows a deep affection - an anxiety to share his good news - "my dearest partner of greatness" ?
- Public Opionion - Is he concerned only with what the world thinks of him when he tells Lady Macbeth the they will "proceed no further in this business" because he is well thought of by others and does not wish to lose their good opinion. Are his words, "I am afraid to think what I have done" a sign of remorse? Is this borne out by , "Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!" ? He uses L. Macbeth's arguments to persuade the murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance i.e. he challenges their manliness.
* Coward? - Does Macbeth show himself to be a poor 'criminal' in the Ghost Scene, in so far as he cannot conceal his guilt? Does his fear of the Ghost show him to be a coward or a conscience stricken human being? Is his notion of manliness associated with physical bravery only? When he says, "It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood." is he really showing fear that he will be found out?
- Despair? - Malcolm describes Macbeth as 'treacherous' and Macduff refers to him as a tyrant. Malcolm further calls him "...bloody, Luxurious (i.e. lustful), avaricious, false, deceitful, Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin That has a name."
* Defiance of His Enemies?- Is his refusal to fight after he had learned that Macduff is not "one of woman born" a sign of cowardice? Why then does he fight him? Is it because Macduff calls him "coward" and his concept of manliness cannot stand this? Or is it because he cannot bear to be humiliated in public and so forfeit his pride? Is there despair in his final words, "Yet I will try the last" ? Or is he heroically accepting Fate, knowing that he must die? Dead butcher or Tragic Hero?
What are the influences of the Witches' prophecies on Macbeth's actions?
The three witches in the tragedy Macbeth are introduced right at the beginning of the play. They recount to Macbeth three prophecies. That Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis and King. These prophecies introduce Macbeth to ideas of greatness. Macbeth will eventually follow through on killing king Duncan, a destruction of the natural order; it was sometimes thought that the witches had the ability to reverse the natural order of things. This brings into the play idea of fate and the role with which it has in the play.
It is more realistic to believe that Macbeth was responsible for his own actions throughout the play as in the end it was he who made the final decisions.
Banquo says in line 24, "The instruments of darkness tell us truths, / Win us with honest trifles, to betray 's / In deepest consequence." He thinks and says bad things of the witches. He calls them instruments of darkness and the devil. He might believe that these prophecies will only bring harm even before anything begins to happen. So Macbeth is warned by his best friend before he makes any decisions that the witches are evil, and what they suggest is evil.
The witches could foretell the future, they can add temptation, and influence Macbeth, because they had told Macbeth that he would be King he became impatient and tried to hurry it as quickly as he could. but they can not control his destiny. Macbeth creates his own misery when he is driven by his own sense of guilt. This causes him to become insecure as to the reasons for his actions which in turn causes him to commit more murders. The witches offer great enticement, but it is in the end, each individuals decision to fall for the temptation, or to be strong enough to resist their captivation. The three Witches are only responsible for the introduction of these ideas and for further forming ideas in Macbeth head, but they are not responsible for his actions throughout the play.
Lady Macbeth is shown early in the play as an ambitious woman with a single purpose. She can manipulate Macbeth easily, "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear" She is selfless, and wants what is best for her husband. Before the speech that Lady Macbeth gives in act one scene five. Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth's self-esteem by playing on his manliness and his bravery. This then convinces Macbeth to commit regicide. It seems that she can convince him to do anything as long as she pushes the right buttons in. she says " Art thou afeard/ To be the same in thine own act and valour, As thou art in desire?"
On the other hand, as the play progresses, and Duncan is killed, there is a reversal of natural order, and Macbeth becomes the dominating partner again. Lady Macbeth becomes subservient. She becomes pathetic and only a shadow of her former self. Ambition plays a large role in this tragedy. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have "vaulting ambition" that drives them. Macbeth's fierce ambition is present before the witches' prophesies. He would never have thought seriously about killing Duncan without the witches. Yet the combination of both his ambitious nature and the initial prophesies leads him to kill the king. It is Lady Macbeth who states "Thou wouldst be great/ Art not without ambition." Macbeth states that it is "his besetting sin: I have no spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition." Macbeth's continued ambition is present in his wanting to have a succession of kings after him. Macbeth's ambition is deep within him and because of this, both the witches and Lady Macbeth are able to sway him to evil. It is this ambition that gets him into so much trouble initially.
Once Macbeth kills for the first time, he has no choice but to continue to cover up his wrong doings, or risk losing everything he has worked so hard for.
He is responsible for anything he does and must take total accountability for his actions. Macbeth is the one who made the final decision to carry out his actions. He made these final decisions and continued with the killings to cover that of King Duncan. However where as some facts show that the results were all of his own doing, in act IV he returns to the witches voluntarily to find out his fate in order to see what actions he should take. This shows that maybe the witches did have a great influence on his actions.
The killing of Duncan starts an unstoppable chain of events in the play that ends with the murder of Macbeth and the suicide of Lady Macbeth. Macbeth chooses to murder Duncan. Macbeth, in the beginning had all of the qualities of an honourable gentleman who could become anything. This is all shattered when his ambition overrides his sense of morality. Although Macbeth is warned as to the validity of the witches prophesies, he is tempted and refuses to listen to reason from Banquo. When the second set of prophesies Macbeth receives begin to show their faults Macbeth blames the witches for deceiving him with half truths. While the witches are not totally responsible for the actions of Macbeth, they are responsible for introducing the ideas to Macbeth which in turn fired up Macbeth's ambition and led to a disastrous and unnecessary chain of events.
How does Macbeth's character Change
Q1. How does the audience´s perception of Macbeth change during Act One.
In William Shakespeare´s “Macbeth”, the audience witnesses one man´s is overriding ambitions resulting in consequences both for himself and those around him. In the play the main character is heavily influenced and persuaded by external forces, particularly the supernatural and the immense ambition of Lady Macbeth.
In Act I, Shakespeare set the scene for what is to prove the pivotal part of the play, the death of King Duncan. Therefore, through act one the audience´s perception of Macbeth changes completely. The character who entered the stage at the beginning is, in the eyes of the audience, completely different person from the character at the end of the first act. He transforms himself from a man of deep morality and honesty to one who is prepared to kill the sovereign king.
Even before Macbeth himself appears on stage, he is discussed in admiring terms by the king and the king´s eldest son ‘Malcolm´. They speak of Macbeth in such glowing terms following his recent successes in the battlefield, whilst in the service of the King. In act I scene 2 a captain describes how Macbeth killed McDonald in battle. McDonald is a traitor and this further elevates his stature amongst the king and his followers.
“Captain: … but alls too weak,
for brave Macbeth where he deserves that name-” (I.I.I5-I6)
In hearing Macbeth had been described in such praise worthy terms, Shakespeare drives the audience to view the lead character with the highest regard. Macbeth comes across as an honest, obedient and most loyal servant to the king.
Shakespeare wrote in approval of those who supported the Monarch. It is thought that his inspiration for the play was the current king, James I. James I was known for his interest in witchcraft and the supernatural. Furthermore, he liked plays that dealt with the concerns of royal life, for example, loyalty, family ties and most importantly public perception of the monarchy. Hence the issues of personal power, trust and ambition are fundamental to the play.
The audience is highly approving of Macbeth initially. This sense of approval and admiration is further emphasised by the award and praise heaped on Macbeth from king Duncan. Not only does the King refer to Macbeth as “worthy cousin”, but also, the King confers upon Macbeth the new title “Thane Of Cawdor”.
It is ironic that Macbeth has been given this title “Thane Of Cawdor”. Prior to Macbeth, the title is held by a man who emerged as a traitor to the King. Therefore, is some sense the audience is already being given indications that Macbeth may not possess completely pure intentions. The irony is that King Duncan´s conferring the title upon Macbeth demonstrates his admiration and respect for a man who will become a traitor and more significantly his murderer. The act of rewarding a seemly honourable subject seals the fate of the king and highlights through out the vulnerability of the king from within his own court.
This is a preview of the whole essay
In act I scene to the audience is at their highest point in terms of their perception of Macbeth. Onwards our view of him will gradually deteriorate through the events of the play, until he himself, is killed by Macduff. At Macbeth´s death he has evolved fully and we will perceive him as the most evil, ambitious and treacherous person in the play. This is a complete contradiction to our original perception of him.
When the witches appear to Macbeth, in act one scene III, he is intrigued by their presence. This curiosity and interest is a significant factor in his downfall. His obsession with the words of the witches causes his ambitions to over-ride his judgement. Initially, audience can understand Macbeth´s curiosity and desire to have these strange predictions explained more fully.
“… say from where
you are all this is strange intelligence, or why
upon this blasted heath you stop our way
with such prophetic greeting? Speak I charge you.” (I.3. 75-8)
Here he urges the witches to explain more, but they disappear.
Like Macbeth, the audience is also intrigued to hear that Macbeth is to become the next “Thane of Cawdor”. Therefore, this particular prophecy has appeared to be true. The audience of Shakespeare´s time was deeply religious. It was God-fearing and strongly Christian in its values. A key representative of this society is the character of Banquo. The audiences view parallels the opinion of Banquo, once more highlighting flaws in the character of Macbeth.
The witches “great prediction” is a half-truth, nonetheless, Macbeth is quite intrigued and excited at the coming of the King. It is Banquo who questions the validity of the witches´ comments. He also points out the inherent in danger in the relying upon such supernatural forces. Even though Banquo has been promised the great riches, in terms of his descendants becoming kings, he is the one who is rational and more Christian in his response. He warns Macbeth:
“Banquo: The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
win us with honest trifles, to betray´s the
in deepest consequence”. (I.2.I26-8)
In comparing Banquo´s reaction to that of Macbeth, the audience sees Macbeth as becoming increasing keen to fulfil his ambitions. Next, Banquo converses with the messengers Rosse and Angus, Macbeth expresses his thoughts in an aside. In his speech Macbeth´s state of mind is clearly shown to the audience. We can now realise how the thoughts in Macbeth´s mind are immediately pointing to murder. It is shocking to see how the thought of murder occurs to him so soon. Yet, Macbeth is in a confused state of mind on whether or not to pursue his ambitions. For example, he remembers his meeting with the witches, the notion of murder for the sake of power fills him with fear.
“If good, why do I yield to that a suggestion
whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock out my rooms.” (I.3.I35-7)
Here Macbeth is over come with fear at the prospect of what is involved in becoming King. Yet, simultaneously his ambition is spurring him on. This dual train of thought illustrates his internal conflict.
As the audience hears Macbeth´s thoughts, our opinion of him is beginning to deteriorate. It is important to note that although both the witches and Lady Macbeth have a very strong part to play in persuading Macbeth to commit murder, it is he who initially utters the word “murder” and thinks he must commit the deed.
In act I scene four, the audience´s perception of Macbeth further deteriorates as we witness how on the one hand, Macbeth accepts and the praise of his king, yet on the other he aligns himself with the dark supernatural world of murder. Macbeth´s keenness and gratitude here demonstrates how he is now a hypocritical nature:
“The service and the loyalty love,
in doing it, pays itself.
Your Highness´ part, is to receive our duties.” (I.4.22-4)
Macbeth expresses this seeming loyalty to King Duncan directly, however, in an aside a few moments later Macbeth expresses his absolute desire to fulfil the witches´ final prophecy. This double-dealing will be the cause of his final downfall. The King announces that his heir will be his eldest son Malcolm. He has conferred upon Malcolm the title Prince of Cumberland. This means upon the King´s death Malcolm shall become the King of Scotland. In this aside, Macbeth expresses his thoughts to the audience only, he pledges himself to the darker world of the supernatural.
“…Stars hide your fires,
let not light see my black and deep desires” (I.4.5I-2)
Macbeth is aware that those from the dark side bear no conscience, and for this deed he desires this quality. The witches possess no ethics and when Macbeth realises that Malcolm poses a threat to him directly, he loses his sense of right and wrong.
Here the audience is convinced that Macbeth´s intends to kill the King. Within the space of a few short scenes he has deteriorated from a worthy and brave soldier to a potential murderer. It is upon the entrance of Lady Macbeth that the audience sees a new dimension to Macbeth´s character.
In this exchange towards the end of act one the audience senses the deep irony in this conversation between and Duncan and Banquo. Both will become victims of Macbeth´s ambitions. In hearing them complementing the surroundings so vividly, the audience fears for their safety and conversely despise Macbeth all the more. Since, Macbeth´s closest friend and King trust him, the audience see that Duncan will die and that Banquo is in danger thereby adding to the treachery of Macbeth:
“Duncan: conducted me to mine host; where he allowed him highly,
And shall continue our graces towards him”.
The king has been invited as a guest to the house of Macbeth. Therefore, to invite the king to you´re house and then to murder him is a greatest act of disloyalty.
In his soliloquy, Macbeth expresses his complex thoughts, which demonstrate to the audience that he is in a confused state of mind. At this point the audience hopes that the deed can be avoided. Macbeth opens the soliloquy by asserting that if he has to kill the King, he should do so quickly. However, he then goes on to contradict himself by referring to this deed as a “poisoned chalice” (I.7.II). A “poisoned chalice” is something that seems good but in the long run it has negative implications and consequences.
In this soliloquy Macbeth clearly shows the audience that he possesses a deep conscience and that he feels a growing sense of guilt. “He´s here in double trust: first, as I am his kinsmen …then as his host” (I.7.I2-4)
Macbeth expresses to the audience that it is malevolent to kill Duncan, for two reasons. Macbeth imagines the king being killed by him, and how Duncan´s reputation will only improve and increase in the eyes of the public as he has been an honourable King. Secondly, Macbeth´s reign would forever be overshadowed by the popularity and untimely death of the King.
“So clear in his great office, that his virtues,
will plead like angels, trumped-tongued against
The deep damnation of his taking off.” (I.7.I8-20)
This is the closest that Macbeth comes to questioning his actions the deed he has chosen to undertake. However, the reasons are purely superficial, as he is primarily concerned with what others may think, rather than thinking about how much the King has done for him and cares for him.
Therefore, Macbeth is not simply the resolute and single-minded ambitious character we perceived him to be. It appears that when Macbeth is alone on stage he is a person with a conscience as well as a desire to succeed. However, it is when his wife appears to spur him on he becomes much more charged with ambition.
Macbeth´s indecisiveness towards the death of the King is shown in Act one scene 7, when he states clearly to Lady Macbeth that he has no intention of killing the King.
“ We will proceed no further in this business.
He hath honoured me of late and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people” (I.7.3I-3)
Macbeth appears at this stage absolutely determined not to continue. The chiding of his wife soon changes his opinion. In her speech, Lady Macbeth refers to Macbeth as a “coward”(I.7.43). She criticizes her husband for appearing on one hand determined and on the other hand fearful. She also refers to the fact that the prospect of killing the King under his own roof will make Macbeth look quite ill.
“And wakes it now to look so green and pale” (I.7.37)
From this quotation the audience senses that Macbeth is struggling with his conscience. The situation is affecting his health and judgement. Through the dialogue in scene seven we witness how Macbeth tries to assert his own authority but he ultimately proves to be weak and unsuccessful.
I dare do all that may become a man
Who dares do more is none.” (I.7.44-6)
Yet when Lady Macbeth describes in violent terms what she herself would be prepared to do in this situation Macbeth´s mind is instantly changed. She explains how willing she would be, by stating that she would go as far as murdering her own child if necessary.
“ I would, while it was smiling in my face,
have plucked my nipple from its boneless gums
and dashed her brains out” (I.7.55-6)
In this contrast we the audience see how Lady Macbeth is far more willing to commit brutal acts of violence in the name of ambition, compared to Macbeth.
Macbeth´s final comment at the end of Act one expresses how he has decided to complete this most evil deed.
“ I am settled, and bend up
each corporal agent to this terrible feat.” (I.7.80-I)
Therefore, Macbeth comes across to the audience, during Act one as a complex man. Also there are several dimensions to his character. Before the play begins he is acknowledged as a brave solider, an honest and loyal servant to his sovereign king. On the battlefield he has been described as an example to others, on how to fight bravely. Nonetheless, we see how through temptation and external forces (the supernatural and his wife) he is transformed from a loyal subject to a deceitful and evil man.
He shows through the course of Act I that he is capable of careful thought and reasoning with himself, for example, about whether or not to kill the king. However, our opinions of him at the end of the act have deteriorated dramatically from our original view of him as seen though the eyes of others. Therefore, the audiences´ perception of Macbeth comes full circle in terms of seeing what he was and what he has now become.
How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?
The single line that encapsulates Macbeth's personality on the battlefield and the audience's perception of Macbeth is "Till he unseamed him from the nave to the chaps And fixed his head upon our battlements." The first part of this line ("Till…Chaps") would suggest Macbeth's superiority as a soldier, his courage and that he is a model for all men under his command. The second part of the line ("And…battlements") shows that he is loyal to the king and punishes traitors. Ironically, it will be Macbeth who becomes the biggest traitor of all, and it is his head that is pierced onto the battlements.
Speak if you can: - what are you
Macbeth is very startled by the wyrd sisters' famous three "All Hails." The line "Good sir, why do you start." is effectively a stage direction. Macbeth is instantly entranced and "rapt withal" by the witches; because he believes them. In contrast, Banquo doubts them very much on introduction and tells them that he "neither beg nor fear Your favours nor you hate." Banquo has no reason to believe in them, and nor does Macbeth
The second step towards his dreams being realized comes with the title, Thane of Cawdor, as the witches had prophesised. As soon as the news of this title comes into Macbeth's knowledge, he whispers aside "The greatest is behind," which can be interpreted as Macbeth saying that two of the three prognoses have been fulfilled, and only one is left to be accomplished. At this point, the audience will be shocked by the twist in the storyline, and this will certainly intrigue them as much as it intrigued Macbeth. Somehow, Banquo remains pessimistic and warns Macbeth that often "The instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray's in deepest consequence," and of course, this is what exactly the witches are doing! Macbeth ignores this advice (in his glee of finally being told he will be king?) and moves onto his soliloquy. He cogitates thoroughly and indicates to the audience that he is already thinking of killing Duncan "Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair…whose murder is yet but fantastical," which should surprise the audience, as so far they have only seen Macbeth to be a loyal subject of the king. Even though he follows this with the flipside to the argument "Chance may crown me, without my stirring," the audience will not redeem him for the earlier thought. So very early in the play he is in two minds about killing the king, without Lady Macbeth even appearing on the stage. This vacillation of Macbeth is an aspect of him that is present throughout the entire play. For example, just after he has talked himself out of killing Duncan, another vision of killing comes to him when Malcolm is named heir to the throne. The audience know this because Macbeth says, "This is a step on which I must fall down or else o'erleap," referring to Malcolm. This will confirm to the audience about what Macbeth is capable of in terms of treachery, though I can imagine the audience trying to scream at him "Calm Down Macbeth, Murder isn't the right course of action!" There is an interaction between the audience and Macbeth, and hopefully by now the audience will realise that Macbeth's ambition is the flaw in his character.
Lady Macbeth, like Macbeth himself, instantaneously thinks of killing, or getting Macbeth to kill Duncan, though she exclaims that Macbeth "is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way." Unlike Macbeth, she doesn't have soliloquies contemplating the consequences of the murder of Duncan, so the audience will perceive her as a very impulsive woman who doesn't think things through well enough. She gives the audience a description of Macbeth as she seems him, and this will change the audience's perception of Macbeth accordingly. In her opinion, Macbeth knows that if he is to be king, then the king must die. Macbeth doesn't want to kill the king himself, though he would be happy for the king to be murdered and wants the king to be murdered, just as long as it is not he who does the deed; "what thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win," as Lady Macbeth puts it.
Suddenly, the audience doesn't have the perception of an honourable, loyal and brave subject of the king; but a man with burning ambition but thinks too much of the repercussions. His wife says "hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits into thine ear," which means that she has already made the intention of persuading Macbeth into killing the king, just moments after reading the letter. I think that it is this speech that makes the audience pity Macbeth at this point of the play, rather than hating him for his cruel intentions. This is because we know that when he returns weary to his castle, his wife will be there to greet him and ready to manipulate him. Also, this quote tells the audience what Lady Macbeth thinks of herself in that she assumes that she is stronger than Macbeth and she can persuade him to kill the king, regardless of the fact that he is too full of the "milk of human kindness."
However, I do not think Lady Macbeth wanting to kill the king is purely selfish, and I do think that there is love between them. In the letter, Macbeth calls her his "dearest partner in greatness," and when she considers Macbeth's character after reading the letter, she does not say that Macbeth stops her from greatness, but he stops himself. If she was as egoistic as some scholars would have you believe, I feel that she would have mentioned that Macbeth is stopping her from rising to power, instead of things like "All that impedes thee from the golden round." Another example is when Lady Macbeth orders the messenger who comes to her with news of Duncan's arrival to "give him tending."
In between the time the messenger leaves and Macbeth arrives she does something quite unexpected. Although there is never any indication of her being a witch, she tries to cast a spell upon herself to make herself a more cruel person. She asks the "spirits That tend on mortal thoughts…fill me…top full Of direst cruelty" and makes some other morbid demands, such as "take my milk for gall," which means that she is asking to become bitter and poisonous. Another request that she makes is for the "murdering ministers" to "unsex me here." This brings about the notion that only men can commit sin or atrocities, which even today is still partly true (if you look at government statistics, males commit a much higher proportion of crimes in virtually all countries). But why does she feel the need to chant all these disturbing incantations?
So what were the kinds of things that Lady Macbeth did, how did she persuade Macbeth to kill the king - or did Macbeth want to kill the king in the first place enough to do the deed himself? The audience have seen that there is a part of Macbeth with a desire to kill the king, and also have seen a part that feels that if it is his destiny, then the crowning will happen by its own accord. The audience have seen the loyal, strong Macbeth and they have also seen the plotting, treacherous Macbeth. In the next section of this play, the audience will see the conflicts that Macbeth faces with his wife and his own self, and delve into the subject of how Macbeth was persuaded to kill the King Duncan.
The instant Macbeth returns to his home, Lady Macbeth rushes out to welcome her beloved husband, and the words she uses to greet him implies that she assumes Macbeth will kill Duncan. She does this by calling him the greatest by "the all hail hereafter," and she declares that "the future is instant," by the death of the king. However, only moments before she claims that Macbeth will never "catch the nearest way" by killing Duncan. So why does she seem to assume that Macbeth will do the murder? An audience will see that Lady Macbeth is already trying to influence Macbeth by making this statement, knowing full well that he does not want to commit this murder, and the audience will see the self-conflict that Macbeth is going through.
Here we see another instance of distribution of the ten beats when Lady Macbeth says, "The future is instant." And Macbeth immediately follows this up with "My dearest love," to complete the ten syllables. This shows Macbeth trying to cut off Lady Macbeth from her speech in which she is trying to persuade him. Further evidence of Macbeth not really wanting to listen to his wife in case she may persuade him in the same conversation is when Macbeth says "We will speak further," which means he is trying to say 'we'll talk about it later', and trying to put the subject off. However, what Lady Macbeth does say in this conversation is "Leave the rest to me," which does imply that she will assassinate the king with her own hands. In this same dialogue, she also says "you shall put…into my despatch," which furthermore proves that she is leading Macbeth into believing that he will have no physical role in the murder of the king. Lady Macbeth thinks this strategy will work because she describes Macbeth as a man who "wouldst not play false, And yet would wrongly win;"
Imagery in Macbeth
In all of Shakespeare's plays he uses many forms of imagery. Imagery, the art of making images, the products of imagination. In the play 'Macbeth' Shakespeare applies the imagery of clothing, darkness and blood. (listed from least to most), Each detail is his imagery, it seems to contain an important symbol of the play. Symbols that the reader must understand if they are to interpret either the passage or the play as a whole. Within the play 'Macbeth' the imagery of clothing portrays that Macbeth is seeking to hide his "disgraceful self" from his eyes and others. Shakespeare wants to keep alive the ironical contrast between the wretched creature that Macbeth really is and the disguises he assumes to conceal the fact. In opinion, the reader thinks of the play honors as garments to be worn; likewise, Macbeth is constantly represented symbolically as the wearer of robes not belonging to him. He is wearing an undeserved dignity, which is a crucial point that Shakespeare has made. The description of the purpo se of clothing in Macbeth is the fact that these garments are not his. Therefore, Macbeth is uncomfortable in them because he is continually conscious of the fact that they do not belong to him. In the following passage, the idea constantly recurs that Macbeth's new honors sit ill upon him, like loose and badly fitting garments, belonging to someone else:
"New honours come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould, But with the aid of use."(Act I, iii: 144)
The second form used to add to the atmosphere, the imagery of darkness. In a Shakespearean tragedy, we have known him to create a special tone, or atmosphere to show the darkness in a tragedy. In 'Macbeth', Shakespeare draws upon the design of the witches, the guilt in Macbeth's soul, and the darkness of the night to establish the atmosphere. All of the remarkable scenes take place at night or in some dark spot; for instance, the vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the Murder of Banquo, and Lady Macbeth's sleep walking. Darkness is the time when the traveler hastens to reach safety in his inn, when Banquo rides homeward to meet his assassins; furthermore, it is the time when the wolf howls, the owl screams, and when murder steals forth to his work. In 'Macbeth' darkness symbolizes many things. First, and most important, it stands for the evil and death in the play. The darkness could partially blind out all of the horrible things that occur in the night. For, only in darkness can such evil deeds be done. Secondly, the darkness shows one of Lady Macbeth's weaknesses: her fear of dark. In the play, phrases of fear escape from lips even in her sleep. She believes darkness to be the place of torment. Within the whole drama, the sun seems to shine only twice. First, in the beautiful but ironical passage when Duncan sees the swallows flirting round the castle of death. Another time, when at the close of the avenging army gathers to rid the earth of its shame. Therefore, the reader can conclude that Shakespeare portrays darkness to establish the evil parts of the play; whereas, we employ daylight to define victory or goodness in the play. We have known blood to all of us to represent life, death and often injury. Blood is an essential part of life and without blood, we could not live. This is known to everyone, and because of this, when Shakespeare uses the imagery of blood to represent treason, guilt, murder and death. We have easily understood it and fits in perfectly with the ideas we have of blood. Therefore, this essay weighs blood to the most important imagery of Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth'. Shakespeare mentions the word blood, or different forms of it often in the play. Forty-two times to be exact (ironically, the word fear also is used the same amount), with several other passages dealing with imagery. Perhaps the best way to describe how the image of blood changes throughout the play, by following the character changes in Macbeth. First, he is a brave honored soldier, but as the play progresses, he becomes identified withe death and bloodshed, along with showing his guilt in different forms. The first sinister reference to blood is one of honor, showed in Act I scene ii. This occurs when Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says:
"What bloody man is that?".
This is symbolic of the brave fighter who has been injured in a valiant battle for his country. In the next passage, in which the sergeant says:
"Which smok'd with bloody execution,"
He is referring to Macbeth's braveness in which he covers his sword in the hot blood of the enemy. Act II, Scene ii. The symbol of blood now changes to show a form of treachery and treason. Lady Macbeth starts this off when she asks the spirits to "Make thick my blood." What she is saying by this, is that she wants to make herself insensitive and remorseless for the deeds that she is about to commit. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence of blood is a treacherous symbol, and knows it will deflect the guilt from her and Macbeth to the servants when she says:
"Smear the sleepy grooms withe blood.", and "If he do bleed, I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt."
Act V, Scene i - Lady Macbeth shows the most vivid example of guilt with the use of the imagery of blood, in the scene that she walks in her sleep. She says:
"Out damned spot! Out I say! One: two: why then 'tis time to do't: hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it when none can call out power to account? Yet who have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?"
All these references in the quotation are to murder and both include direct references to blood, again linking blood to treachery and murder. Yet, this speech represents the fact that she cannot wipe the blood stains of Duncan off her hand. It is ironic that she says this, because right after the murder, when Macbeth was feeling guilty, she said:
"A little water clears us of this deed."
When the doctor of the castle finds out about this sleepwalking, he tells Macbeth, "As she is troubled with thick-coming fantasies," meaning that Lady Macbeth is having dreams that deal with blood. Macbeth knows deep in his mind she is having troubles with her guilt, but does not say anything about it. Act V, Scene viii - just before the ending of the play, Macbeth has Macduff at his mercy, and lets him go, because of his guilt. He shows that he is guilty, when he says "But get thee back, my soul is too much charg'd with blood of thine already." Of which, Macduff Replies, "I have no words, my voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain than terms can give thee out." After the death of Macbeth at the hands of Macduff, the imagery of blood swings back to what it was at the beginning of the play. But, it is the honor of Malcolm this time. The death of Macbeth is honored achievement that they congratulate Macduff for. So as we have seen the imagery of blood change from honor to treachery, and then to guilt. After, it returns to honor again after the villain that changed the imagery of blood from honor to tyranny is killed. Due to these many changes, we have proved that the imagery of blood has many different forms that we can attribute to it during the play. Therefore, blood is the main imagery notion.
Macbeth : Ambition, Influence of the Witches, Influence of Lady Macbeth by
Macbeth´s strive for power affects every aspect of his life, and this motivation eventually leads to his demise. Many different factors play a pivotal role in deciding his ill-fated future. With his wife´s cajoling, and the three witches´ foretelling of his future Macbeth, will stop at nothing to gain position as King of Scotland.
The witches and their prophecies are the first major influence on Macbeth´s actions. Macbeth, Thane of Glamis is content with his position, until the three witches tell him, "hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor, thou shalt be King hereafter." (I, iii.). After hearing this, Macbeth and Banquo, his loyal friend, find out that King Duncan has named Macbeth "Thane of Cawdor." They contemplate about how the rest of the prophecy will come true. The witches also advise them that Banquo´s son would be King one day. Macbeth writes a letter to Lady Macbeth explaining what has happened.
Macbeth comes to the realization that for him to in fact become King, he will have to defeat recently named heir to the throne, Malcolm, the King´s son, and also prevent Banqou´s son from gaining access to the throne. Macbeth returns home and he and his wife must play host to the King. Lady Macbeth begins to contemplate what "impedes thee from the golden round" (I, v). She desperately wants her Macbeth to be King and she calls upon the "aids of sprits"(I, v) to help her in her quest for the throne. Lady Macbeth obviously has a very different reaction to Macbeth's. She seems almost more bloodthirsty so already we know she is very keen for Macbeth to fulfil this prophecy.
Lady Macbeth requests that the, "sprits that tend on mortal thoughts," to unsex her, and fill her with the "direst cruelty…" (I, v.). The supernatural world will aid her in the hardening of her heart and make it possible for her to carry out her malicious plan. Lady Macbeth wishes to throw out her morality for the sake of gaining a title. With the help of invisible sprits, she wants to make herself able to commit a heinous act of murder to make her dreams of the royal life come true, without having reservations or remorse. She approaches Macbeth with her intent to kill King Duncan. Macbeth, although wanting the prophecy to come true, and become king, lacks the enthusiasm as his wife does, to commit the murder. Lady Macbeth urges Macbeth to act on his desires or he will think of himself as a coward. All of this goes straight into Macbeth´s mind, which is full of ideas for glory and honour (after all he is proclaimed a great warrior). Maybe the dishonour that cowardice would bring is to great a burden for “brave Macbeth”.
King Duncan is invited to Macbeth´s castle, and it is there that he will be killed. Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to "look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it." (I, v). Lady Macbeth wants Macbeth to act as he normally would, to appear to be happy with the King´s visit and keep his malevolent plan in the confines of his mind. Macbeth still has reservations but, Lady Macbeth has already taken preparations towards the evil act, and his mind begins to wander. Macbeth shows signs of insanity, as he follows a dagger up stairs to King Duncan´s bedroom, "is this a dagger which I see before me, let me clutch thee." (II, i) He chases it and King Duncan´s reign as King of Scotland ends. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth the "deed is done." (II, ii) it seems that not only is he struggling with his morality but also his sanity this could also be a factor in the downward spiral of Macbeth.
After he is named king, Macbeth´s misery and eventual downfall is caused by his own insecurities and misguided determination to take control of his future. The witches´ prophecy concerning Banquo´s descendant´s and Macbeth´s feeling of inferiority to Banquo lead Macbeth to arrange for the murder of Banquo and his son Fleance. Having Banquo around reminds Macbeth of the evil deed that he had committed. Also, the thought that it will be Banquo´s son to take over the thrown from Macbeth rather than his own children makes him very angry. Macbeth believes that "none but he [Banquo]…I do fear." (III, I)
So far I have summarized the events leading toward the death of Duncan. I am yet to really comment on the question. So what affect did the supernatural have upon Macbeth will be the first part of the question I will address.
I believe this is the first step onto the road of destruction as far as Macbeth is concerned. There is a great contrast before and after the he meets the weird sisters. There affect has changed him from the hero to the traitor he has become. Although this is effectively putting the blame entirely upon the witches I think that the statement is correct. If you will they plant the seed of evil within him. Almost as if fate not only exists, but is inescapable. This also fits in with the supernatural theme (fate that is) as we must remember that the sisters are the first but not the last supernatural influence Macbeth experiences.
The other encounter of the supernatural is the appearance of the dagger. This object seems to be confirming the fate the witches have given Macbeth. As it restarts his urge for power and also I believe it is an urge to appease his wife and her own appetite for power. However I will talk about this in more detail later on. As the dagger appears Macbeth turns from a self-doubting man with a strong moral code into the murder that takes Duncan´s life. These glimpses into the future open a few questions. Firstly what are the witches intentions and secondly would this have happened if not for their intervention. The first question seems quite obvious as in the time Macbeth wrote there was only one purpose for a witch and this was to be evil. If this is the case I suspect it was there intention to sow the seeds of evil and bring about the downfall of Macbeth. After all the rise of Macbeth has many devastating repercussions. So the witches do in affect succeed. The second question I cannot answer as we only see what does happen not what might of happened. However I believe that Macbeth would not have taken the life of Duncan without serious encouragement (which I believe the witches supplied).
The influence of his wife is greatly over exaggerated in my opinion. She may have a eviler persona than Macbeth but this does not mean she is responsible for his actions. Many people say she had a craze for power and that she forced Macbeth into the murder. I believe that the supernatural affected Lady Macbeth as much as Macbeth himself. I say this because it is presumed before the witches visit Lady Macbeth and Macbeth lived perfectly normal lives. I doubt either of them mentioned murdering Duncan. The letter is the turning point for lady Macbeth just as the meeting with the weird sisters is Macbeth's. From that point on she is drastically transformed. Although I am defending her a lot by saying Macbeth is responsible his own actions she is also responsible for hers. And like it or not she does encourage Macbeth into the murder of Duncan.
Macbeth himself should seem like the obvious person to blame. However now people can pull off all sorts of tricks by blaming films, TV and computer games for their violent tendencies. So maybe we should apply the same philosophy to Macbeth. If Macbeth's actions are to be blamed on outside influences then we can look at the two sources I have already mentioned (lady Macbeth and the supernatural). However when I look at Macbeth I see different reason to blame Lady Macbeth then I do when I look at her actions. I think the fact that she wants him to do it is a lot worse then the fact she encourages him to. If he does indeed love his wife he will try to make her as happy as possible. Maybe even if this involves murder. However strong his ambition is I don´t think it has ever been his ambition to kill his king. I think this is true even after he has committed the murder, as he is far from happy in the aftermath. In truth I think he was content and that only the strangest of circumstances could change his stance on life. In the end I don´t think his stance was changed.
I see the downfall of Macbeth leading to Duncan´s murder like a out of a tree. The witches pushed him of the top, however on his downward fall there are branches to grab and save him. One was his wife and this branch fell off before he reached it. The other branch was himself. I believe this is what puts him in and out of his states of fear, regret and evilness. However the force of gravity (the witches in this particular metaphor) was too great.
So far my argument has been very contradictory. On one hand I think the evil fate of macbeth was pre arranged by the supernatural and on the other I am saying that people are responsible for there own actions. It all comes down to the question do you believe in fate? If you do most the blame rests on the supernatural. However if you do not then only part of the blame rests there the rest is shared equally around the three of them.
Macbeth the Dead Butcher and His Fiend Like Queen by
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are basically good people who make an ill judgement. It is unfair for Malcolm to describe them as "this dead butcher and his fiend - like queen". In the beginning they are respected people who share a loving relationship. Their downfall is caused by their ambition for Macbeth to be great, sparked by the witches' prophecy, and not because they are evil. Macbeth's indecision on whether or not to kill Duncan, and Lady Macbeth's begging of the spirits to take away her feminine qualities, show that ruthlessness does not come easily to them.
Macbeth is a Scottish nobleman and important kinsman of King Duncan, whose devising and heroic leadership of a winning tactic in a battle show his talent, courage and loyalty to his country. He is well respected, and after his feat of braveness, Duncan believes him worthy to receive the title of Thane of Cawdor, which is a huge honour to Macbeth. The problem with this, though, is that it helps to spark his ambition, which, we find later, is his tragic flaw.
Lady Macbeth is a loyal wife with ambitions for her husband. She believes that Macbeth deserves to be King, but thinks that he is too nice to do anything about it. She does not think that he could kill Duncan on his own. She is supportive of Macbeth, and is willing to do what she can to help him get what he wants. She is basically a caring and loving person, though, so she pleads with the Spirits to take away her tenderness and femininity and make her ruthless: " Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top full of direst cruelty." (I.v.38-41). This evidence on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth proves that, at the beginning of the play, they are both good, virtuous people.
When the witches predict that he shall be king, Macbeth does not think that he should do anything about making the prophecy come true: "If Chance will have me king, why Chance may crown me without my stir." (I.iv.43-44). However, when King Duncan places an extra obstacle in his way by naming his son, Malcolm, as his successor, Macbeth realises that, if he is to be king, then he must kill Duncan: "The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o'erleap for in my way it lies. Stars hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires." (I.iv.49-52).
When Lady Macbeth reads in her husband's letter of the witches' prediction, she, too, realises that Duncan must be killed for it to come true. She thinks that Macbeth deserves to be great, and should murder Duncan so that this can be so, but she believes that he is too noble and honest to do something so immoral: "Yet do I fear thy nature: It is too full o'the milk of human-kindness to catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great: art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it." (I.v.14-18).
Although Macbeth wants to be king, he does not wish to kill Duncan, and he thinks aloud to himself of his reasons: "First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then, as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself." (I.vii.12). Macbeth does not want to kill Duncan because he is his king and close relation, and because it is his duty as host to protect him. This shows that he is not evil. If he were, his kinship and duty to the king would offer no hindrance to his decision to murder him.
Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth's conscience and indecision will hinder his ambitions. It is because of this that she resolves to use brave, scolding and punishing words to drive away his doubts, and to encourage him to commit the deed that will obtain him the crown: "Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear, and chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round." (I.v.24-27).
Although Lady Macbeth is supportive of her husband, and tries to persuade him to murder Duncan, she does not force him to do it. Macbeth decides to kill Duncan on his own, with his tragic flaw, ambition, as the main influence of his decision. For Macbeth to be a tragedy, as Shakespeare intended it to be, no one must force him to make the decision that ultimately brings him down. He must make the decision, based on his tragic flaw, on his own.
After murdering Duncan, Macbeth is agitated and frightened. He forgets to place the daggers near Duncan's guards as he planned to, and is too afraid to go near the place of murder to correct the mistake: "I'll go no more. I am afraid to think what I have done; look on't again I dare not." (II.ii.50-53). Macbeth wishes to wash his hands of Duncan's blood, and thus the deed, but believes that no amount of water could remove all the blood: " Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No," (II.ii.60-61). He regrets killing Duncan, wishing that he would wake from his sleep of death: "Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!" (II.ii.74).
Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, is calm and logical immediately after the murder. She does not appear to be at all worried about being caught, believing that, by cleaning their hands of blood, they are cleaning their hands of the deed: "A little water clears us of this deed." (II.ii.67). The wine she has drunk has made her brave, and she fixes Macbeth's mistake by placing the bloodied daggers near the guards so that they are blamed for the murder. It seems as though the murder has had no effect on Lady Macbeth until she sees Duncan's body, when the realisation of what they have done hits her and causes her to faint. This shows that the wine she had drunk and the fact that she had not yet seen what they had done caused her visage of carelessness. It is because of these actions by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth that we see that they are good people who would not usually commit such a crime.
Soon after the murder of Duncan, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's relationship begins to change. During the planning of the murder, Lady Macbeth is in charge, instructing her husband on what to do. After hiring the murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance, Macbeth tells his wife to "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, till thou applaud the deed." (III.ii.45-46), showing that he is beginning to take control, plotting on his own and not even telling his wife what he is planning to do.
Where, before he was king, Macbeth was acting according to his ambition, by the beginning of Act III he is fighting for survival. He realises that he has come too far and killed too many people to turn back: "I am in blood Stepped in so far, that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er." (III.iv.136-137).
He has come to distrust everybody, especially Macduff, even to the point of hiring spies, and intend to kill any who get in his way: " There's not a one of them, but in his house I keep a servant fee'd ... For mine own good all causes shall give way." (III.iv.130-131,134-135). Macbeth is worried about the consequences of his actions. He is afraid that nature will somehow find away to avenge the murders that he has committed: " It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood." (III.iv.121). Macbeth soon realises that, if the witches told the truth, then all that he fought for will go to Banquo's sons instead of his own: " For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind, for them the gracious Duncan have I murdered, put rancours in the vessel of my peace, only for them." (III.i.64-67). This realisation frustrates Macbeth, and makes him even more determined to survive. Macduff leaving the country before he has a chance to kill him also frustrates him. If he is evil in this play at all, it is now, when he takes out these frustrations by having Macduff's family killed. Macbeth is no longer killing for entirely selfish reasons. He is now like a soldier, killing for survival and what he has fought for.
The last time that we see Lady Macbeth in command is at the banquet in Act III. In this scene, Lady Macbeth tries to protect and cover up for Macbeth by excusing his behaviour as a fit when Banqou's ghost appears to him and he addresses it in terror. The next time we see her is in the beginning of the last Act, and she is far from the confident, calm person that we see in Act I. She has begun sleepwalking, and is obviously tormented by the murders that she has had part in. Earlier, she thought that a little water was all that was needed to wash her hands of Duncan's blood, but, while sleepwalking, she thinks that her hands are covered in blood that cannot be removed: " Yet here's a spot…Out, damned spot! Out, I say! What, will these hands ne'er be clean? Here´s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." (V.i.31,34,42,48-49). By her behaviour, we see that Lady Macbeth is paying the penalty for the mistakes she helped to make. She was just trying to be a good wife by helping her husband receive what she believed he deserved. Her suffering is such that it leads to suicide, which shows that Lady Macbeth is not at all fiend-like. If she were, then the murders would have had no effect on her.
By the end of the play, Macbeth begins to be tired of living: "I'gin to be aweary of the sun." (V.v.49). As he prepares to defend the castle, he desperately holds on to the hope that the witches' prophecies are true, for he believes that, if they are not, then all that he has gained will be lost. While fighting, Macbeth does not want to kill Macduff, because he has hurt him enough by killing his family: "My soul is too much charged with blood of thine already." (V.viii.5-6). Believing in the witches' prediction that "none of woman born" (IV.i.79) could harm him, and believing that all men are of woman born, he is unafraid of Macduff. When he finds that Macduff was born by caesarean, and therefore is not, in the usual sense, of woman born, he realises that the witches have tricked him. He knows then that, as the witches predicted, Macduff will kill him, but refuses to surrender. This reminds us of the fearless soldier of the first Act and shows that he is not afraid of death, and that he knows that he is about to pay for his mistake. By the attempted kindness of sparing Macduff his life, and the courage he shows by fighting to his death, we see that Macbeth is not a butcher, but a good man with the tragic flaw of ambition.
It is clear by their behaviour that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are not evil. Lady Macbeth's obvious suffering and regret, shown by her sleepwalking and suicide, and Macbeth's fighting to his death, like the fearless soldier in the first Act, prove that Malcolm's describing them as "this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" is unfair and inaccurate.
The Rise and Fall of Macbeth by
In this essay I will discuss the effects that the witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have on the " Rise and Fall of Macbeth ". Macbeth is at the beginning a succesful general of the Scottish army and when he wins a battle for Scotland and king Duncan hears of it he holds Macbeth in the highest respect calling him a ;
" Valiant cousin, Worthy gentlemen "
Macbeth is awarded the title 'thane of Cawdor' for his bravery. Macbeth hears he has gained this title when told by some witches before the kings servants have a chance to tell him. The witches also predict that he will be "king hereafter". Macbeth consults his wife and she uses psychology to push Macbeth in to killing King Duncan. Macbeth does kill the King and this is when his downfall begins .
His good friend Banquo starts to be suspicious and Macbeth kills him without a second thought.
Later he sees Banquo's ghost and he begins to go mad as so does Lady Macbeth and she commits suicide. Macbeth runs Scotland very badly and Duncan's son Malcolm comes to claim his throne. With the help of the English army Macbeth's castle is taken and Macbeth is killed by Macduff.
As you will see in my outline of the play Macbeth committed a number of crimes killing King Duncan, Killing Banquo and attempting to kill Fleance I will examine these crimes in more detail and try and come to a conclusion of why Macbeth committed these crimes.
The witches predict two things:- that Macbeth will become the thane of Cawdor, and that he will be king hereafter. They also predict two things for Banquo that he will be lesser than Macbeth, and greater also he shall get kings, though be none meaning that he will not become king but his children will. When Macbeth hears of the witches predictions that he will become thane of Cawdor, he is scared we know this by what Banquo says to Macbeth; " Good Sir, why do you start, and seem to fear "
But after they have spoken more, he wishes them to stay and tell him how this can be true as he does not see how this is possible. They vanish in to the air and Macbeth says he " Would they had stay,d ? " which means he wished they had stayed to find out what they meant .
When the kings servants arrive to tell Macbeth he has the title of Thane of Cawdor , Macbeth does not believe them when they explain though that the thane of Cawdor has been executed he is very happy he says;
" As happy prologues to the swelling act "
He then starts to discuss whether he will become King or not with Banquo.
When we first meet Lady Macbeth she has just read the letter from Macbeth which tells us of " what greatness is promised ", that the witches have proclaimed him "King hereafter" Lady Macbeth tells us that she thinks Macbeth would be a bad King as his nature she said is " too full o' the milk of human kindness "
and that he has "ambition" but not the "illness" that makes a king. She puts him down in her soliloquy. Lady Macbeth decides that she will have to help Macbeth find the necessary determination. When a messenger tells Lady Macbeth that King Duncan intends on staying at their castle she gets excited and sees this as an opportunity to kill Duncan. She calls up the spirits of darkness and asks them to "unsex" her to take away all that makes her a woman. She asks to be made insensitive so that she may carry out her scheme, she wishes to be filled with "direst cruelty". This shows that her character is strong she is sure that she can get Macbeth the crown she seems to welcome evil whereas Macbeth seems wary and even fears it. We have seen his reaction to the witches and their predictions.
In Macbeth's soliloquy he tells us about his doubts and fears. He starts to question good and evil he seems to think if the witches are so bad hoe come they bring such good news. Macbeth cannot make up his mind whether to kill Duncan or not. He says that if the murder could be done quickly without the inevitable consequences then he should do it quickly. He lists the reasons why he should not kill the King. He is his 'kinsman', his 'host' and as he is Duncan's subject Macbeth should therefore protect him. He tells himself that Duncan is good and kind and that killing him will provoke a tremendous out cry. Duncan's goodness will "plead like angels, trumpeted-tongued ". If Macbeth murders him he will be condemned to 'deep damnation'.
Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that he will not murder Duncan he says that Duncan has given him "new honours" lately and that he wants to enjoy the "golden" opinion of everyone. He sees himself "dressed" in the good opinions of other people. He does not give her the reasons that he has just said in his soliloquy as he may think they make him look weak. This shows that he is afraid of his wife and knows if she knew the real reasons she would be able to persuade him otherwise.
Lady Macbeth calls him a coward and tells him how far she would go to get what she wants. She tells him that if like him she had sworn to do something, she would not go back on her word she would "pluck" her own baby from her nipple and "dash'd the brains out"
Lady Macbeth seems to have joined forces with evil. She has had a chance to make her husband king and is determined not to let it get away. She is forceful in her language and conjures up images of horror. She seems to have been granted her earlier wish to the evil spirits to " fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty.
Before the murder Macbeth sees a vision of a dagger covered in blood with the handle pointing towards him. Macbeth speaks another soliloquy. He wonders whether the dagger is inviting him to do the murder. His mind is now full of dark thoughts. When Macbeth sees the dagger this shows us that he is going slightly mad even before the murder. He talks of things inviting him to do the murder. This shows us that he thinks everything is right about the murder and he should do it.