How and Why does Macbeth Turn from War Hero to Evil Murderer?

Topics: Macbeth, Three Witches, Macbeth of Scotland Pages: 3 (1038 words) Published: November 2, 2010
How and why does Macbeth turn from War Hero to Evil Murderer? At the start of the well-known (and written) play ‘Macbeth, you would have had no idea that the main character even had the capability to become the ‘evil butcher’ that he does by the end of the play. This impression is etched into our minds by speeches by the sergeant (all the way through act 1, Scene 2), who seems eager to praise and upgrade Macbeth’s status as much as he possibly can; “Brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name” he gushes. He also seems to enjoy describing the gruesome details of Macbeth’s battle acts – “Till he faced the slave (traitor); which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, till he un-seamed (ripped apart) him from the nave to the chops (guts to gullet), and fixed his head upon our battlements” He was portrayed as a totally respectable, gallant, selfless hero – which was, of course, how he started off in the play. After the scene in which the sergeant is talking, Macbeth comes across three witches, who tell him wonderful and dreamlike prophecies – “All hail Macbeth! That shalt be king thereafter” (Act 1 Scene 3). Because this is an unlikely (although very likeable) idea, Macbeth does not fully believe the witches – but still fantasises over the idea. He was most probably trying to figure out whether the witches were trustable – he questions them – “I know I am Thane of Glamis, since Sinel, my father, died. But how can I be Thane of Cawdor...? As for becoming King, that’s beyond belief...” But the witches disappear before he can worm the answers out of them. Macbeth’s reaction to the three witches is typical of the times in which the play was set, because the belief in witches was widespread and powerful, and witches were extremely feared as helpers of the Devil, even though their medicines worked wonders (they were herbal) Many so-called ‘witches’ were actually just old, helpless women who owned black cats, ravens or frogs, or who brewed medicines. Sometimes these...
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