Macbeth: Shakespeare's Tragic Villain

Topics: Macbeth, Guilt, Good and evil Pages: 8 (2454 words) Published: November 18, 2007
Macbeth: Shakespeare's Tragic ViLLain

From nobLe hero to ‘dead butcher', we witness the destruction of a man's character.

How did the destruction come about?
What was actually destroyed was Macbeth's mind. He lost his conscience, his morality, and any connection with goodness.
What he achieved by his overwhelming ambition wasn't exactly what he had intended to achieve. And so, he became more determined while his ambitions grew stronger. He couldn't digest the fact that he was winning yet actually losing. He had become king – but he didn't receive the respect, honour and love that Duncan had had.

He wanted to prove – to himself, to his wife, to the witches, to everyone – that he was capable of and rightful in being king.
But he knew that nobody was encouraging him, except for his wife and the witches. And having only them encouraging him, the spectator knows that Macbeth is bound to be as evil as them because we know that Lady Macbeth and the weird sisters are evil, so what can we expect when only evil people are helping him fulfil his ambition? We have a sense of foreboding that Macbeth is going towards his downfall and is walking down the wrong path, and of course also becoming more evil as he further walks down it.

If he had good people on his side, (which would be impossible because of the terrible murder he committed), then maybe Macbeth would have been successful. But no, Macbeth knew he had to carry on, even if it was by himself. He couldn't bear being rejected.

This is how his destruction came about. First the witches, then his wife, then his conscience itself – he didn't allow himself to vacillate any longer, for his fear of losing.

Why did it happen?
It happened because of Macbeth himself. Most people would blame Lady Macbeth and the witches, but it was actually Macbeth's fault. If he hadn't believed the witches in the first place, then he wouldn't have got into this mess.

Banquo was also there with him when the witches told them the prophecies. Did Banquo believe them immediately and also get deranged by what they had said and start making plans for it? No.
There was no reason for Macbeth to act or think that way because, after all, he was just as honourable, selfless, innocent and virtuous as Banquo was. Or was he?
The witches' prophecies changed Macbeth's life completely.
But if he hadn't listened to them or had ignored them, who knows, Macbeth could have had a chance to become King in any case without going through so much toil and trouble – and still be honoured and loved.

This was the mistake Macbeth made. If the prophecy was destined to come true, then he shouldn't have done anything about it - he shouldn't have indulged in foul play for it; he should have just waited for it.

The second blame does go to Lady Macbeth. Macbeth and the witches have equal blame - the witches due their evilness and cruelty, and Macbeth due to his avarice and foolishness.
Lady Macbeth encouraged him, and this is also why it happened. Before committing the sin, Macbeth had had a conscience; he knew what was right and what was wrong. He was guilty beforehand too, when the mere thought of murdering Duncan had entered his mind.

But when Lady Macbeth practically forced him to do the ‘deed' - using the tool of degrading and mocking his manhood as a method of stimulation and persuasion - his way of thinking began to change, resulting in the adulteration of his character and his development as an evil, amoral person.

What roLe did Lady Macbeth pLay in Macbeth's downfaLL?
Lady Macbeth played an important role in Macbeth's downfall. Without her, Macbeth mightn't even have had a downfall. She was greedier and more evil than he, and Macbeth's ambition was more important to her than it was to him.

Macbeth mightn't have even murdered Duncan in the first place because he was still innocent and was still equivocating, so his decision might've been the right choice, if it only wasn't for the...
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