Macbeth Character Essay
In Act 1, Macbeth is described by Duncan as “O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!” By the end of the play, Malcolm calls him a “dead butcher”. Trace the changes in Macbeths’ character, analysing the reasons behind them.
Macbeth’s ruthless seeking journey for power, urged on by his wife, becomes his tragic flaw which leads to his downfall in all ways. The tragic hero is used by Shakespeare to show how the tragedy lies in the greatness that could so easily have been Macbeth’s. Inevitably, his conversion in character all results in his ambition which causes him to act in such brutal ways. We note how an idealised individual such as Macbeth’s changes into a despised one. We observe Macbeth’s greatness and bravery in combat through the Captain’s account of the battle. Macbeth is described as “Valour’s minion” who “carved out his passage till he faced the slave”. One examines the respect enclosed in his companion soldiers who give him the name “brave Macbeth”. This is followed by a line of reassurance which is “well he deserves that name”. Macbeth’s honour and excellence in battle is demonstrated in Duncan’s words “O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!”. His lack of fear displays his courage and heroism presented in the line “As cannons over-charged with double-cracks”. Shakespeare uses this to highlight the greatness he once had. We immediately suspect the thought of Duncan’s murder in Macbeth’s mind through the line “Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear things that sound so fair?”. Macbeth’s ambition seems to take control of him as he continuously orders the witches to inform him of the prophecies in the lines “Stay, you imperfect speakers! Tell me more” and “Speak, I charge you!”. One can imagine Macbeth’s subsequent actions in the line “nothing is but what is not” as through it we realise that the only values that exists for Macbeth are those which he does not yet have, the Kingship. This continues to demonstrate how his ambition...
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