Every human being has a weakness and that weakness is pride. ‘Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted (Matthew 23:12, The Bible)’. Pride is a natural flaw that most people do not realize. Some can control it, while others let their pride blind them from logic and truth. Naturally, Macbeth has this attribute and he demonstrates it throughout the play. Shakespeare purposely introduces Macbeth as a proud character. The witches’ prophecies give him his confidence. And as his confidence grows, so does his pride until it eventually consumes his power-crazed mind.
Macbeth is introduced to the audience as a noble general and thane with quite a bit of power. This can lead one to believe that he is proud of his position and his authority over others. It is this pride that sparks the ambition and desires locked within him. His greatest ambition is to be king, although that would mean Duncan must die. ‘If Chance will have me king, why, Chance may crown me/ Without my stir (I.iii.143-144). In this quote, Macbeth openly states how he is willing to seize the crown should he ever get the opportunity. This changes how he feels towards Duncan and the natural order of things, instead, he is scheming against it. Macbeth is very certain of his ‘fate’ to become king in the letter he wrote to his wife. ‘[…] and referred me to the coming-on of time with ‘Hail, King that shalt be!’ This have I thought good to deliver thee […] that thou might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee (I.v.8-13). He openly promises Lady Macbeth that she will be Queen soon without any concrete evidence. This shows how he is convinced by the witches’ prophecy that he will succeed Duncan as King. Furthermore, Macbeth’s status, power, and his achievements give him much to be proud of, as hard as he tries to hide it. One can see that he cannot help being proud.
Nevertheless, the witches’ prophecies...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Singapore: Longman, 1999.
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