The Personality of Macbeth

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Macbeth is first presented as a mature man of definitely established character, successful in certain fields of activity, and enjoying an enviable reputation. One must not conclude that all Macbeth's actions are predictable. Macbeth's character is made out of potentialities and the environment, and no one, not even Macbeth, can know all of his inordinate self-love. Macbeth is determined by a desire for temporal and mutable good.

Macbeth is driven in his conduct by an inordinate desire for worldly honors; his self emulation lies in buying golden opinions from all sorts of people. One must not deny Macbeth a human complexity of motives. For example, his fighting in Duncan's service is magnificent and courageous. Macbeth also rejoices in the success that crown his efforts in battle. Macbeth's services are also for his own glory. Macbeth says, "The service and the loyalty I owe, In doing it, pays itself." While Macbeth destroys Duncan's enemies, such motive work but are obscured in his consciousness by more vigorous urges. Macbeth by nature violently demands rewards. Macbeth fights courageously so he may be reported as a "valor's minion" and "Bellona's bridegroom." Macbeth values success because it brings fame, new titles, and royal favor. As long as these mutable goods fulfill his desires, which is the case until he covets the kingship, Macbeth is an honorable gentleman. Once Macbeth's self-love demands a satisfaction that cannot be honorably obtained, he employs dishonorable tactics to gain his selfish desires.

As Macbeth returns victoriously from battle, his self-love demands recognition of his greatness. The demonic forces of evil that drive Macbeth, symbolized by the witches, suggest to him to obtain the greatest mutable good he has ever desired, the kingdom. The witches observe Macbeth's expressions to understand the passions that are driving his dark desires he is so valiantly attempting to suppress. The witches predict Macbeth will be king. The...
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