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Macbeth’s Descent Into Evil

By katiebossin Mar 20, 2011 873 Words
Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” is a tragedy that begins with a hero who transforms into a immoral King. Macbeth’s descent into evil was influenced by the witches, Lady Macbeth, and the maintenance of the throne. After Macbeth regains the throne, his next task is protecting it. Maintaining the throne calls for more lives to be lost. With each murder Macbeth’s guilt is weakened as his evil nature infected nature itself. Each murder takes away more of the meaning behind life for Macbeth. Macbeth no longer feels anything towards human life by the time he has become fully evil. The witches convince Macbeth that they can see the future of the kingdom by proclaiming Macbeth as “the Thane of Cawdor”. This information was already known by the King who decided to give Macbeth the title, but not known to Macbeth at the time the witches shared with him this information. Macbeth shares with his wife Lady Macbeth the witches’’ second prediction, that Macbeth “shall be king thereafter.”When Lady Macbeth hears this news she begins to plot how Macbeth is to acquire the throne and become the new king of Scotland. She insists that Macbeth murder King Duncan. Macbeth is a loyal “kinsman and subject” to his king and willingly risks his life in battle for his country which is why he is hesitant to betray his king. After Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband and forces him to believe that it is in his best interest to dishonorably steal the throne Macbeth says, “ I am settled, and bend up each corporal to this terrible feat.” Macbeth’s loyal nature has been compromised by the witches pushing him to believe he is destine to become king and his wife igniting the willingness in him to commit such an evil act to achieve the throne. Macbeth commits the murder of the King and feels enormous guilt which reflects the good still in him. He looks at his hands covered in blood and says, “What hands are here!”, which is shows how he cant believe that his own hands commited such a crime. Macbeth’s guilt overwhelms him and he feels that he would taint “Neptune’s ocean (if he was to) wash this blood clean” by making the “seas incardine, making the green one red.” Macbeth is aware of the crimes he is commiting against nature by murdering his King. Nature is chaotic after macbeth’s first murder when horses break free from their stables and go against their very nature by killing and eating each other.

When Macbeth needed to maintain the throne he targeted his best friend Banqou because he threatened its security when the witches’ predicted Banqou’s children becoming the hier to the throne. Macbeth doesn’t hesitate when he plots how to commit his second murder. Macbeth arranges murderers to kill Banqou and his son. Macbeth’s guilt takes the form of a hallucination of the ghoust of Banqou after it is confirmed that he had been killed. At this point Macbeth’s guilt is becoming less intense and he no longer hesitates when protecting the throne which shows how Macbeth’s nature is becoming more evil.

Macbeth orders the murderers to kill Macduff’s wife and child out of anger against Macduff. The witches’ again use their predictions to pave the path of Macbeth’s demise by sharing with him that the only competition Macbeth has left is Macduff. Macbeth is overconfident and eagerly acts out on his anger. He does not think before deciding to slaughter the innocent that have no threat against his throne. There is no guilt left inside Macbeth because he is becoming unhuman because he is desensitized to death.

Lady Macbeth dies from the guilt she felt for the domino effect of the first murder. Lady Macbeth knew that if she wasn’t so manipulative during the first murder that Macduff’s family would still be alive. Macbeth was so consumed by the demands of protecting the throne that it completely changes his nature into that of someone who doesn’t hold any meaning to life. When Macbeth hears of his wife’s death he is numb to the fact that he has lost her. He apathetically states, “Out, out brief candle” which makes the death of his wife seem merely trivial. He sees life now as, “ a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage…signifying nothing.” Macbeth feels that life is predetermined and that nothing a person can do or say will change their destiny; in short humans are living to die. Macbeth sees no meaning behind human life which is a final account of Macbeth’s descent into evil.

Macbeth was originally a loyal kinsman and subject, but with the aid of the witches’ manipulation and Lady Macbeth’s plan to take the throne it is obvious that Macbeth was doomed from the start. The security of the throne demanded protection because of the way it was attained. Life becoming more worthless and the guilt behind each murder weakening showed Macbeth’ nature and nature itself was changed into evil. Macbeth’s lack of appreciation for life and finding no meaning in it finalized his descent into evil.

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