character of powerful contradictions. He is evil
and all-powerful. Are his violent acts and his
criminal activities simply the result of Macbeth's
ambition to be King of Scotland? Why is he willing
to kill his king and his best friend with
apparently no remorse? Are his acts the result of
blind ambition? No, Macbeth is the target of
manipulation. He is not the manipulator, but
instead is manipulated by different people and
Macbeth encounters his first group of manipulators
in the form of witches. The witches prophesize
that Macbeth will one day be King of Scotland and
that the descendents of Banquo will become kings.
Having shared this prophecy with Lady Macbeth, the
goal of being king becomes very enticing.
Macbeth's first act of evil is the killing of
Duncan. Before the murder, Macbeth tries to tell
Lady Macbeth that he will not go through with it.
She has to goad him into killing the King. After
committing the murder, Macbeth seems almost
delirious. He says that " all great Neptune's
ocean will not wash this blood clean from my
hand"(Act II, Scene ii, lines 60-61). When he
murders Banquo, Macbeth is still in torment, but
the cause of his anguish seems to have changed.
He is afraid of Banquo, because Banquo knows about
the witches and because the witches predicted that
his descendents would be kings. Banquo's death,
he says will put his mind at rest.
As the play goes on, there is a fundamental change
in Macbeth's character. Due to the manipulation
of others, Macbeth has lost all sense of morality
and right and wrong. The craving for power and
obtaining more control consumes Macbeth. Macbeth
orders the murder of Macduff's wife and children.
Their killings gain him nothing. He has good
reason to fear Macduff, but slaughtering his
enemy's family is pointless. Macbeth wants to
spite Macduff. He kills Macduff's family to...