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Macbeth Essay

By alpbgp22797 Aug 21, 2013 936 Words
The Motivation of Macbeth
Many times people do things based off of motivation; in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare everyone motivates Macbeth to become a powerful evil individual. Macbeth is clearly motivated to a whole new level when he is given a lot of power of authority, but along the way he transforms that power into something bad, almost evil. Witches have many tricks up their sleeves and predicting the future is one of them. People always get an urge to want to do something, but it could get out of hand quickly. A general stereotype is that all women are controlling, in Macbeth this statement is true. Between the witches trying to influence Macbeth, Macbeth is becoming power thirsty, and his wife’s strong persuasive voice, he begins to turn evil. Guiding people in the right direction is not always easy, but the witches figured out the trick. The prophecies got into Macbeth’s head to try and make him believe he will be king by saying, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (1.3.53). Of course, their prediction was correct, but the things that Macbeth did to become king were not good. After Banquo’s brutal murder, he decided to come back and haunt Macbeth, making Macbeth sound crazy. He sounded mentally unstable by stating, “Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake thy gory locks at me.” (3.4.61-62). This is a specific point in the play when Macbeth stops caring about the good in life, but more about the evil. Macbeth was struggling on how to secure his kingship so he decided to pay another visit to the witches, and they had advice to offer him but it did not mean he was going to like it. Their advice was, “Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour stand aye accursèd in the calendar!” (4.1.149-150). When Macbeth went to the witches for help he never expected it to end as bad as it did. Witches are never up too much good but they are always right about one thing, predicting the future.

Power is something everyone wants, but wanting it too much might not end well. Macbeth kills Banquo because he is a threat to Macbeth not being able to become king. He comes to this conclusion when he says, “Two truths are told as happy prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme.” (1.3.140-142). To gain power, one should not threaten life, but Macbeth clearly did not follow that rule in this situation. Macbeth begins killing his friends because of an apparitions’ advice. One example is this, “ The castle of Macduff I will surprise, seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line.” (4.1.171-174). At this point in the play it is quite clear that Macbeth is not mentally stable and is following ghosts advice to kill people. Macbeth admits in his famous tomorrow speech that, “all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!” (5.5.25-26). Macbeth obviously sees no value in life and has no problem taking others’ lives away so he can have power. Sacrificing your beliefs or your friends’ lives so you can become king is evil.

People sometimes say women are controlling but Lady Macbeth takes controlling to a whole new level. Lady Macbeth insisted that Macbeth should kill Duncan so that he will be one step closer to king when she says, “when you durst do it, then you were a man; and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man. Nor time nor place did then adhere, and yet you would make both. They have made themselves, and that their fitness now does unmake you.” (1.7.56-62). Macbeth did not care what his beliefs are; he simply wants to make his wife happy and not disappoint her. Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth that killing Duncan is totally acceptable and that he needs to stop thinking about it in depth so much by saying, “You do unbend your noble strength to think so brainsickly of things. Go get some water and wash this filthy witness from your hand.” (2.2.59-61). It’s quite clear that Lady Macbeth is very power thirsty which explains why her husband slowly begins to become the same way. Lady Macbeth tries to cover up Macbeth’s out of control actions by lying at the dinner party by saying, “Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus and hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat. The fit is momentary; upon a thought he will again be well.” (3.4.64-67). While Macbeth was actually seeing a ghost, Lady Macbeth lied and said that it was a normal episode. Lady Macbeth clearly has more of a voice in their relationship and Macbeth is afraid to let her down.

By the many influencing voices around Macbeth including the witches, his own self, and his wife, evil is what Macbeth began to turn. Seeing into the future is not an easy task, but the witches do it with no problem. Wanting to much power is not good, especially when it begins affecting the morals you have. Do as your wife says and don’t question it is what Macbeth was learning throughout the play. Macbeth should have listened to his own common sense and became a leader instead of letting everyone else influence him.

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