Macbeth

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Reading Task Part 2

Macbeth

1. Is Macbeth basically a good man led astray?

In the play, Macbeth is portrayed as evil. I wouldn’t call Macbeth 'evil'. I would call him disillusioned. He was a good man, capable of serving his family, the royal family and the country nobly. He was an efficient soldier and worthy of respect. It was his ambition that became the cause of his downfall. He let his vaulting ambition get the better of his morals, his values and defeat his clear sense of purpose.

The Witches' prophecies coupled with his wife influence were able to spur him on to action and do what he later regretted. But none of this would have possible, had it not been for his ambition, which was an inborn, innate thing. It wasn’t his evil nature. It was his greed for power.

2. How does Macbeth change as the play progresses?

At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a respected general, a devoted husband, and a loyal subject of the king. The first of the witches' prophecies bring out his ambitious nature, but he struggles with killing the king. By attacking his manhood, Lady Macbeth convinces him to commit the first of his evil deeds. Macbeth's evil deed causes him to suffer from fear and guilt, which leads to even more evil crimes. Then Macbeth becomes paranoid, suffering from hallucinations and sleeplessness. He becomes less human as he tries over and over to establish his manhood. His ruthlessness in killing Banquo and Macduff's family shows how perverted his idea of manliness really is.

Macbeth's degeneration is also seen in the collapse of his marital relationship. They love and have a mutual respect for one another at first. Lady Macbeth becomes more and more unimportant to her husband after killing Duncan, however. He leaves her out of the plan to kill Banquo, Fleance, and Macduff's family. Macbeth allows the witches to take the place of his wife by allowing them to boost his ego, thinking any man cannot harm him....
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