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Play Macbeth
At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a respected general, a devoted husband, and a loyal subject of the king. The first of the witches' prophecies bring out his ambitious nature, but he struggles with killing the king. By attacking his manhood, Lady Macbeth convinces him to committ the first of his evil deeds. Macbeth's evil deed causes him to suffer from fear and guilt, which leads to even more evil crimes. Then Macbeth becomes paranoid, suffering from hallucinations and sleeplessness. He becomes less human as he tries over and over to establish his manhood. His ruthlessness in killing Banquo and Macduff's family shows how perverted his idea of manliness really is.

Macbeth's degeneration is also seen in the collapse of his marital relationship. They are loving and have a mutual respect for one another at first. Lady Macbeth becomes more and more unimportant to her husband after killing Duncan, however. He leaves her out of the plan to kill Banquo, Fleance, and Macduff's family. Macbeth allows the witches to take the place of his wife by allowing them to boost his ego, thinking he cannot be harmed by any man. Macbeth is, of course, mistaken about the witches' prophecies, but this just that he now allows his evil nature to control his actions. By the end, Macbeth has degenerated into evil personified, totally inhumane in his actions.

Macbeth is nobleman and a Scottish general in the king's army. At the beginning of the play, he has gained recognition for himself through his defeat of the king of Norway and the rebellious Macdonwald. Shortly after the battle, Macbeth and another of the king's general's, Banquo, encounter three witches (or weird sisters) who greet Macbeth as thane of Glamis, thane of Cawdor, and future king. Macbeth, unaware that King Duncan has bestowed upon him the title thane of Cawdor, appears to be startled by these prophesies. As soon as the witches finish addressing Macbeth, Banquo asks him, "why do you start, and seem to fear /

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