Macbeth’s Character Analysis


  • 1 Introduction
    • 1.1 Thesis
  • 2 Commentary and analysis
    • 2.1 Conclusion


Macbeth is one of the William Shakespeare’s works that have a tragic ending. In this tragic tale, Macbeth is described as a virtuous man by has been negatively influenced by greed and power (Baloyi 5). The character, Macbeth, is presented in the story as a Scottish general who has been corrupted by the prophecies of three witches who predicts even a more powerful and greater power for him.

In line with these prophecies, Macbeth is willing to use all his powers and courage in order to ascend to the throne even if it entails murder. After ascending to power to become the King of Scotland, Macbeth continues to commit atrocities. Macbeth’s response to problems is mainly through violence and murder which is attributed to his lack of the necessary skills to lead the kingdom (Burrow 16). As Macbeth become incessantly uncomfortable by being a criminal, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to psychological torture and distress.


The downfall of Macbeth can be attributed to three main reasons. These reasons include the influence of the witches, his wife Lady Macbeth and himself. This paper, therefore, analyses Macbeth’s character in relation to the reasons highlighted in the text.

Quotes and lead-ins

Macbeth’s quotes

The quotes below shows that Macbeth is aware of the atrocities he is committing, but he is unwilling to change his ways. For instance, in the first quote, Macbeth talks about the need to stop the business of murdering people after he murders Duncan. Macbeth states that,

“We will proceed no further in this business” (Shakespeare, I, vii, 32)

Furthermore, Macbeth claims that he is not committing the atrocities intentionally but to spur him in the realization of his ambitions. That is, Macbeth exclaimed that,

“…I have no spur

To prick the sides of intent, but only

Vaulting ambition…” (I, vii, 25-27)

Lady Macbeth’s quote

Lady Macbeth’s quote below show that she was in support of what Macbeth was doing and even implored him to continue with his atrocities,

“When you durst do it, then you were a man” (I, vii, 79-80)

Quotes of the three witches

Just like Lady Macbeth, the three witches showered Macbeth with praises highlighting Macbeth’s greatness in some of their exclamations i.e.

“All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee Thane of Cawdor!”(I, iii, 49)

In addition, the witches continue to predict even greater gains Macbeth continue to commit the atrocities i.e.

“The instruments of darkness tell us truths,

Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s

In deepest consequence” (I, iii, 124-126)

And also,

“Weary sev’nights nine times nine

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine:

Though his bark cannot be lost,

Yet it shall be tempest-tossed” (I, iii, 22-25)

Commentary and analysis

Macbeth’s downfall was as a result of his failure to listen to his conscience and greed. From the quotes highlighted above, Macbeth can be said to be responsible for his own actions regardless of the amount of provocations from Lady Macbeth and the three witches. These external forces had no direct control over the actions and decisions of Macbeth. These actions were mainly informed by his ambition to gain more tyrannical power and his unwillingness to listen to what his conscience was telling him ( 1). The path of darkness chosen by Macbeth was, therefore, a decision made with clear knowledge of the potential outcomes. From the first quote highlighted in the essay, Macbeth is fully aware that his actions are not correct and he needs to change i.e. “We will proceed no further in this business” (I, vii, 32). However, he convinces himself of the need to achieve his ambitions thus unwillingness to stop his actions. In this case, Macbeth’s decision making has been clouded by greed and quest for more power.

Lady Macbeth’s pressure and provocations considerably contributed to the downfall of Macbeth. After the death of Duncan, Macbeth is willing to stop his atrocious activities of murdering people. However, Lady Macbeth insists that he is doing the right thing and there is no need for him to stop. Here, Macbeth’s decisions and judgments are seen to be influenced by the emotional feelings of love towards Lady Macbeth (Powell 9). Lady Macbeth even provokes him by questioning his manhood i.e. “When you durst do it, then you were a man”. This quote implies that Macbeth will be even much greater if he decides to continue with his deeds. In this case, Lady Macbeth can be said to have shown him the path of death and destruction.

Finally, the role of the witches in Macbeth’s life could have significantly influenced his actions. Apart from hailing Macbeth’s greatness, the witches continued to make proclamations and prophecies that made Macbeth even more ambitious towards realizing of his political objectives and establishing his power in the Kingdom of Scotland. Admittedly, the witches used unholy ways together with proclamations that showed that they were in control of Macbeth. For example, by declaring Macbeth the future king of Scotland, the witches are using supernatural powers in order to control the future of Macbeth. For instance, the third witch proclaimed, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (I, iii, 50). Since most of the prophecies by the witches had come to pass, it became increasingly difficult for Macbeth to ignore their proclamations and prophecies (Bradley 13).


The goal of this essay was to use quotes from William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ to establish the causes of his downfall. Though Macbeth’s wife, Lady Macbeth, and the three witches had a massive influence on Macbeth’s actions and decisions, the most realistic argument would be to say Macbeth was responsible for his own downfall. From the essay, Macbeth is seen to succumb to his own urges, ambitions, and greed for greater power. These ambitions and greed show that the tragic fate of Macbeth was influenced by events or things of his own making. Nevertheless, the witches and provocations of Lady Macbeth were also decisive factors in Macbeth’s life. However, one cannot be able to establish if Macbeth was controlled by black magic or he purposely led himself to his tragic fate. Finally, Macbeth can be said to have allowed his flaws to destroy him.

Verbal Essence Shakespeare – English Literature Dissertations

In Roger Manvell’s Book Peter Hall is quoted as saying “Shakespeare is no screen writer. He is a verbal dramatist, relying on the associative and metaphorical power of words…Even his stage action is verbalised… This is bad screen writing. A good film script relies on contrasting verbal images. What is spoken is of secondary importance.” (Manvell, 1971, p.125)

It is certainly true that screenwriting and playwriting are two very separate arts, as is the discipline of acting in the two arenas. A screen actor has the advantage of the camera being able to pick out subtle facial expressions and body movements that will illustrate the characters emotion without the need for dialogue. A stage player must project his or her voice across the expanse of a theatre and cannot rely on the audience members at the back of a theatre being able to witness all the subtleties of their body movement. As such much more needs to be spoken.
On the screen expositionary dialogue is redundant and detrimental to the narrative drive. However Shakespeare infuses all his dialogue with rich textual imagery and double meanings. In translating this to the screen some of it is unavoidably lost.

This essay will explore the aforementioned contention with reference to three adaptations of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It aims to show that although it is very difficult to adapt Shakespeare’s poetry faithfully it is not impossible.
The version of principle discussion will be the 1948 version that was directed by and starred Orson Welles, as well as the 1971 Roman Polanski directed version starring Jon Finch and the 1957 Japanese retelling by Akira Kurosawa, Kumonosu jô (Throne Of Blood.)
The opening scene of Macbeth is extremely short yet extremely effective in establishing an atmosphere of mystery and the imagery of light and dark as an analogy of good and evil that runs throughout the course of the play. It opens to the sound of thunder and lighting. The turbulent and dark nature of the weather serves as an apt environment for the turbulent and dark events that unfold and effectively serving to set the tone of the play and the imagery of stormy weather that is used as pathetic fallacy throughout the play.
The witches mention a battle and Macbeth but their involvement in these maters is not clear; but what is clear is the atmosphere of mystery that is established.
They converse in verse with rhyming couplets and all chant the same couplet at the end of the scene as if they were casting a spell.
Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover through the fog and filthy air. (Act I Scene I)
The internal rhyme and inversion of values of good and bad warns the audience that something is amiss and is echoed in Macbeth’s opening line of the play, So foul and fair a day I have not seen (Act I Scene III) The verbal resonance of this line associates Macbeth with the will of the witches and foreshadows his entanglement with the forces of diabolism.

The filmic versions of the play also stem their predominant imagery from this opening scene. The opening scene of Welles’ Macbeth shows the three Witches standing on the edge of a tall jagged rock face. The barren landscape is dark and shadowy and mist swirls in the dark night sky.
The production design is minimalist and actually resembles a theatre set rather than a filmic one. It recalls the visual style of German expressionism, which has a tradition within the horror genre. This design continues throughout the film. The lighting and the black and white photography have been composed to cast eerie shadows over the sets and faces of the players, perfectly visualizing the light and dark imagery in Shakespeare’s text.
The film actually opens with lines from Act IV Scene I.
Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

The film then cuts to a close shot of the cauldron mouth as the witches mix a potion and continue to chant Shakespeare’s words as if casting a spell. From the cauldron a clay doll is formed and as it is fully formed the word Macbeth is spoken as the films title appears on the screen. Although tonally much of what Shakespeare had written is retained within the visual style of the film, in this version of the scene the emphasis on the witches is changed from agents of diabolism to enforcers of it.
Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy of Act I Scene V bares none of the visual flair that Welles’ opening scene does. To momentarily go back to the source material this is the scene where she has just been informed in a letter from her husband about the fulfilment of the witches’ first prophecy. Her immediate concern is that her husband does not have the necessary character to murder Duncan for the crown.
‘I fear thy nature,
It is too full of the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way’ (Act I Scene V)
Her conceit is interesting as it is clear in the play that Macbeth struggles a little with his conscience he is quite easily persuaded to commit murder. She also calls to the spirits to ‘Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall.’ (Act I scene V) The inference here is that she wants to replace Macbeth’s milk of human kindness with her own diabolically polluted milk. She ally’s herself with the forces of evil in order to give her the strength of purpose to kill Duncan. Her words are about her adopting evil into her own nature and becoming one with the malevolent forces.
‘…Come you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty…
…Come thick night’
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell. (Act I Scene V)
The line from to the crown to the toe is at once a statement that she wishes to become engulfed with evil and a reference to the royal crown. The soliloquy also includes the images of darkness associated with evil. The words unsex me here recall Banquo’s comments on the ambiguous sexuality of the three witches.
You should be women
Yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so. (Act I Scene III)

In the play the scene establishes Lady Macbeth’s ambition for her husband as another factor in his downfall by associating her with imagery of diabolism.
The majority of the scene in Welles’ film is played out in a medium shot of Lady Macbeth in a bare bedchamber whilst the soliloquy is delivered in voice over. Jeanette Nolan’s deliver of the lines is extremely theatrical in tone and the back drop is unusually expressionless. The scene looks and plays as if it has been recorded at a theatre performance As such the scene is visually static and the power of Shakespeare’s words carry the scene as opposed to any cinematic elements.
Polanski dilutes the immediacy of Lady Macbeth’s turn to evil by having her deliver the first part of the soliloquy before Macbeths return to the castle and then the second part, where she calls upon evil spirits, after Malcolm is named successor and it is clear that murder is the only way for Macbeth to ascend the throne. Although this changes emphasis, like Nolan’s performance Francesca Annis delivers the soliloquy in voice over and a theatrical tone. Whilst Shakespeare’s words and imagery are retained there is nothing cinematic about the scene itself
Act I Scene VII suggests that Lady Macbeth was right about her husband’s willingness to perform the act of murder. In a soliloquy Macbeth talks himself out of the deed; he reasons to himself that it is evil and that he does not have the necessary character.
‘…I have No spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself.’ (Act 1 Scene 7)

Macbeth effectively talks himself out of the deed by considering the ramifications of killing Duncan. He employs imagery of heaven to illustrate Duncan’s virtue and the legitimate claim to the throne.
‘,Or heaven’s cherubin hors’d
Upon the slightest couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye

That tears shall blow down the wind.’ (Act I scene VII)
In Welles’ film this same speech in the film is relocated to a religious ceremony that precedes the battle. Orson Welles’s creation ‘Holy Father’ reads through a post battle service. In the background there are men holding huge Celtic crosses. This symbol of early Christianity illustrates an uneasy balance between Christian ethics and pagan mysticism. Again the expressionist set retains the constant presence of the forces of evil; the religious context of the scene emphasizes the conflict with the diabolical influence.

We are allowed inside Macbeth’s mind as he rationalizes what he is planning on doing and the evil nature of it, but the ‘I have no spur’ passage has been omitted. The scene plays out in a close shot of Macbeth’s face which remains resolute. There is no suggestion of a moral struggle in Welles’ delivery, merely an acknowledgement of the immorality of his intentions. However on the ‘Heaven cherubin hors’d’ line there is a cut to a wider shot of Duncan’s subjects genuflecting before him. This reinforces the notion of Duncan as the model ideal for king.
The Polanski version of the scene is fantastically captured on screen. Once again we hear Macbeth’s thoughts in voice over, this time in the full original text. The scene starts with a close shot of Macbeth’s pensive face, then tracks backwards to reveal the festivity and frivolity of all the others at the feast. This reiterates Macbeth’s position as Duncan’s kinsman and host, whilst placing Duncan within the context of a happy and prosperous kingdom. On delivery of the line ‘we’ld jump the life to come,’ there is a roll of thunder and the curtains are violently blown into the hall disrupting the festivities as if to disturb Macbeth’s train of thought. This scene at once retains Shakespeare’s poetry and accompanies it visually in cinematic terms.
The final soliloquy of the play comes in Act V Scene V after Macbeth’s learning of his wife’s demise. In is a dramatic pause before the arrival of Birnam wood to Dunsinane to allow Macbeth to mourn for his dead wife and contemplate his actions.
‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;’ (Act V Scene V)
The repetition of the word tomorrow gives verbal resonance to a sense of inevitability of Macbeth’s death and the inevitability of death as a universal truth. The word creep also has connotations of the subterfuge of malignant forces. Macbeth sees that he is backed into a corner and that his plans have been his own undoing.
‘Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.’ (Act V Scene V)

The ‘walking shadow’ that Macbeth speaks of hear exists between light and dark and is also an intangible and temporary thing. The reference to acting suggests that Macbeth feels as if he has been directed by some unknowable source, and the words sound a fury recall the lightning storm that heralded the arrival of the witches’. This soliloquy is rich and full with imagery and perfectly captures the mind of a man whose purpose has left him. After this point in the play all Macbeth has is an instinct of self-preservation.

In Welles’ film the scene is at once strikingly visual and completely verbal. Although the two sets of imagery do not properly resonate.
A close up of Macbeths face is cross faded with an image of swirling mist as the soliloquy is started then delivered in full by Orson Welles in voice over. The association between Macbeth’s face and the fade places the viewer firmly within Macbeth’s mind and indicates that we are privy to his innermost thoughts. The fact that there is very little to look at gives added gravitas to Macbeth’s words and makes the viewer reflect upon them more.

The imagery evokes a sense of inner-turmoil that reflects the mind of a man who has been corrupted by power and stricken with grief. However it evokes other thematic and narrative elements such as a sense of mystery that recalls the witches, a sense of foreshadowing that herald on the stage. In this scene the ‘verbal essence’ of the play is completely retained by the visuals of the film.
The end of the play restores a natural order to the kingdom of Scotland. Malcolm ascends to his rightful place on the throne. He is given a rhetorical speech in rhyming verse which serves as epilogue to the play.
‘And what needful else
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace,

We will perform in measure time and place:’ (Act V Scene VII)
Unlike the opening scene were rhyming couplets were used to mimic the casting of spells, in this speech the rhymed words produce a comforting and familiar sound. The phrase measure time and place suggests that the rightful order has been restored and reference to Grace alluding to the grace of god tells us that the forces of evil are no longer at work.

The ending of Welles’ film does not include Malcolm’s speech. As Macduff holds Macbeth’s head aloft and proclaims Malcolm king the rest of Malcolm’s subjects join in and repeat the cry of “Hail king Malcolm” this continues as the subjects hold aloft burning torches that visually symbolise the light returning to a darkened kingdom. There is then a cut to a wide shot of the castle no longer enshrined in darkness but in the pale morning light.
However Welles undercuts any sense of the restoration of order by placing the three witches silhouetted in the middle ground of the shot. Polanski’s film goes even further as we see Donalblain seeking out the witches’ council. He is presumably the next heir until Malcolm has a son and the suggestion is that he too will consult the powers of evil to aide his own bloody ascension.

As discussed earlier in the essay, these films place much more emphasis on the external factors that exert their influence over Macbeth. The play itself is more concerned with one mans decision to succumb to evil whilst the films of Orson Welles and Roman Polanski suggest that the force of the witches’ will is insurmountable.
What is clear from the Polanski and Welles version’s of the Play is that although both films manage to translate certain passages from the play and retain the verbal essence they are not entirely successful. However they are interpretations of the play as well as adaptations emphasis on theme and narrative has been shifted.
By far the most satisfying film version of Macbeth is Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood. However this version has been relocated to feudal Japan and falls within the context of a different cultural setting.

Kurosawa has done the best possible job in translating the text into a foreign context whilst retaining the essential essence of the source material. There is an attempt to retain a sense of the poetic within the dialogue. Kurosawa approximates Shakespearian dialogue with a Japanese equivalent of Noh. At certain key moments of the film the dialogue slips into Noh verse such as the end of the film when a chorus is summarising the story of Washizu (The Macbeth Character.)
Lived a proud warrior
Murdered by ambition
His spirit walking still.
Still his spirit walks, his fame is known,
For what once was is now yet true
Murderous ambition will pursue…

This technique is used sparingly throughout the film so as not to seem forced or alienate contemporary audience, but what it does do is infuse the film with Japanese storytelling tradition and give the film an added quality of timelessness.
Throne of Blood can also be considered as retaining the best qualities of Welles’s Macbeth in terms of its expressive production design. Kurosawa has spoken of the use of wide interiors with low ceilings and squat pillars to enclose the interior space and visualise a sense of oppression. This symbolises the forces out of Washizu’s control that are compelling him along his murderous and treacherous path. The exterior world of the forest is also expressionistic; the tangled treacherous forest is an inhospitable place where the witch and the hostile forces of nature conspire against the will of man. It also reaches out towards Washizu’s castle that has been made from the resources of the forest and is itself part of the forces of nature. Again the visual style has been interpreted in such a way to try to capture the essence of the tone of the source material.

Like Polanski and Welles, Kurowsawa has interpreted and adapt the play as he saw fit. The significant changes to setting and cultural changes mean that Throne of Blood has been scrutinised, studied and approached as a film in its own right and discussed in its own term’s without the direct comparison to Shakespeare’s exact words.
As mentioned at the outset of the essay the arts of screen and play writing are very different and that which has been written for the stage does not necessarily translate to the screen. Critics argue rightly that Shakespeare’s poetry has been in places mutilated to bring the plays to the screen. However as this essay illustrates; certain passages have been successfully translated into cinematic terms retaining the imagery and the poetry of original play. To say that ‘the verbal essence of a Shakespeare play is essentially non-cinematic’ is untrue. To say that it is extremely difficult to translate into cinematic terms is entirely fair.


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Art’ (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1979.)

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Kumonosu jô (Dir Akira Kurosawa, 1957 Japan)
Macbeth (Dir Orson Welles, 1948, US)
Tragedy of Macbeth, The (Dir Roman Polanski, 1971, US/UK)

Symbolism and Motifs in Macbeth

In any story the use of symbolism helps create meaning and emotion to convey the message behind that story while a motif is any recurring element that has symbolic significance in a story. William Shakespeare, the author of Macbeth, uses an array of symbolism and motifs in Macbeth. However, blood is one of the most prominent and well used motifs in the play.

As blood is usually the symbol for violence or death in real life, it is used in addition, as a different type of symbol in Macbeth. Blood will not only convey the idea of death and murder but also the idea of guilt. Shakespeare also used blood to symbolize the characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and the guilt they suffered. The first glimpse of Macbeth makes reference to him being a killer who takes others’ lives for personal gain, many see this as a foreshadowing of the bloodier things to come in the rest of the story. The placement and location of blood juxtaposes where Macbeth and Lady Macbeth would like to place the blame for the murders and where the responsibility is actually confined. The appearance of blood makes allusions to the text to reveal their uncontrollable, self consuming guilt.

Blood plays a key role for the foundation of Macbeth as it is mentioned in every act of the play. The use of blood in Act I appeared in a conversation between Duncan and the Captain which was a foreshadowing to Macbeth’s bloodthirsty nature and his ruthlessness in committing murder. Blood makes their conversation more serious because blood represents fight or war. This mention of blood shows Macbeth and his willingness to kill, which then hints at the future of the play. It also represents the captain’s bravery even in the current state he was in. Not only did it signify bravery but it gave presence to Macbeth’s heroic qualities. The allusions to blood don’t take away from the actual purpose of blood, which is a source of life and places a vital role in keeping us alive. As displayed, in order for blood to be a motif it has to be introduced and then continue to escalate in the play. Shakespeare makes sure he uses the motif, blood, not only to convey one central idea but several. Even though we see blood as an image of death, the use of blood in the first seen is used to balance out the negative connotations of blood that are still to come in the next four acts.

The images of blood portrayed in the second act can be taken in a literal and figurative sense. The first use of blood appears in the soliloquy in scene one. Macbeth questions himself on the fact if the dagger is and image of his mind or a false creation. A bell is rung at the end of the scene and is a reminder to him that the things he is about to commit will either take him into heaven or hell. Lady Macbeth’s role comes into fruition in scene two when she states that she would have the courage to kill Duncan but she did not because she resembled her father while she was sleeping. After Macbeth killed Duncan, per her request, he appeared in front of Lady Macbeth with bloody hands and is instructed to wash it with water and put the evidence at the servants pillows so that they would take the blame for killing Duncan. For Macbeth and Lady Macbeth the blood represents their crime, and they can not escape the sin of their actions. Macbeth knows what he has done has been to a good king and he may not be able to live up to the expectations. In time Macbeth comes to a realization that he will get what he deserves. However he can not rid himself of guilt anymore and admits himself that all the water in the ocean could not cleanse his hands. Macbeth believes his actions from the murder will stain the ocean red, because of the blood spilt on his behalf. In scene three Macbeth notices Donalbain has a pale face because the fountain of your blood is stopped and Lennox reports the imagery of blood in the hands and faces of the servants. Still in Act two Macbeth feels no guilt becuase he is still putting his servants at blame. Banquo refers to Duncan’s murder as the most bloody piece of work. In the end of the act Macbeth, Malcom, and Donalbain are suspicious of the killing of Duncan because of how ambitious and were bribed.

Act three has limited allusions of blood but it still gets the point of guilt across. With the use of blood in scene one Macbeth refers to Banquo. “Bloody distance” is used to show that Macbeth considers Banquo a threat, but it also represents the danger that is yet to come. The next blood appearance does not come until scene four. Blood is used as a foreshadowing for a tragedy that might continue to happen. When they said “blood will have blood” it means that the people they have killed will have their revenge. Although there are only two uses of blood in Act III it plays a larger role.

Just like act three act four is limited in the mentions of blood, but deep with its meanings. During Act IV Macbeth is plagued with different types of apparitions, at this point Macbeth can feel the guilt. The witches make the apparitions to give Macbeth a glimpse into his future. The second apparition of the bloody child is to inform Macbeth that no one who was born form a woman can hurt him. This shows that blood represents badness and sadness. Foreshadowing comes into play again when Shakespeare continues to foreshadow the bad mood that will continue to loom over into the next few scenes and acts. During the second apparation blood is mentioned again to tell Macbeth to be cruel and cold blooded which lets the audience know that Macbeth will also act cruel. The last mention of blood comes between Macduff and Malcom discuss Macbeth. The sentence about blood means that they agree that Macbeth is a brutal person. Shakespeare will continue to point out how brutal Macbeth really is. Again with the dual uses of blood, Shakespeare adds a little tension to the scene because blood always seems to be connected to bad things. Despite the little uses of blood, it gives readers an insight on what will happen next.

Desire for Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely: Lady Macbeth’s Character Analysis

In the 19th century, British Politician became known for a famous excerpt from a speech “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” This quote is conveying that has a persons power grows their sense of morality diminishes. At the beginning of the play Macbeth by Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth has a penchant for power and will stop at nothing to become queen.

Yet, as the play progress, the atrocities that she and her husband have committed weigh too heavily upon her heart. From her bouts of sleepwalking to her constant referencing of blood, becomes apparent that it was too much for her to handle. Lady Macbeth’s lust for power and unfettered ambition leads to her emotional deterioration and ultimate demise, proving that her desire for absolute power corrupts absolutely.

With very few exceptions, no character in any of Shakespeare’s plays undergoes such a radical devolution as that which transforms Lady Macbeth from a nearly superhuman character in the first Act of “Macbeth” into a sleep-walking, nervous parody of the confident woman she once was, by the start of Act V. When we first see Lady Macbeth on stage, she is a commanding character. She conveys her intention to realise her dark ambitions in language that is as unforgettable as it is frightening: “The raven himself is hoarse…To cry “Hold, hold!” (Act 1, Scene 5, lines 27-48). But, after her ineffective efforts to control Macbeth’s reaction to the Ghost of Banquo in Act III, scene iv., Lady Macbeth virtually disappears from the play. We hear of her again at the start of Act V when a doctor and one of her ladies in waiting discuss her insomnia, but this hardly prepares us for the ghostly figure who next appears. As Lady Macbeth enters sleepwalking, uttering words that are laden with guilt and a pathetic longing for the comfort of her absent husband we are reminded of the just how corrosive the effects of power are. Even before Macbeth is told by Seyton that Lady Macbeth is dead (Act V, scene iv), we recognise that she is no longer herself. She has become merely a shadow, a living ghost, haunted by the memories of the night that changed her life forever.

We first see Lady Macbeth in Act I, scene v, alone and reading a letter from her husband that speaks about his meeting with the weird sisters and their prophecy that he will become Scotland’s king. Lady Macbeth issues no response to Macbeth’s account of events. She focuses instead on the prospects for Macbeth’s acting to fulfil the prediction and concludes that he may be “too full of the milk of human kindness” to carry out the required deed of killing Duncan. Her determination to remove any obstacle that prevents him from realising his ambition and potential is captured in her unforgettable summons to him: “Hie thee hither, | That I might pour my spirits in thine ear, | And chastise with the valour of my tongue | All that impedes three from the golden round, | Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem | To have thee crown’d withal” (I, v., ll.25-29). Even at this early stage in her engagement with power, her desires seem similar with those of the weird sisters, but Lady Macbeth’s invocation is far more powerful and disturbing in its language than the inarticulate (but cunning) statements of the witches. However, Shakespeare provides us with a number of subtle clues to an underlying vulnerability in her character. Learning that King Duncan is coming to their castle and thereby providing an opportunity to kill him, she finds it necessary to call upon “spirits” to “unsex” her;(I, v, ll.46-51). While the speech resembles Macbeth’s “stars hide your fires” speech in the prior scene, it is most memorable for the insights it provides us into her character. In particular, we notice that Lady Macbeth fails to consider that “compunctious visitings of nature” might return to haunt her after the crime has been committed, and that furthermore her frightening change of who she is will alter her natural bond with Macbeth.

After Lady Macbeth has ceremonially drained all feminine kindness from her spirit, Macbeth enters, and she tells him that Duncan must be “provided for,” the innuendo being that he must be murdered. He puts her off, saying that they shall speak about the matter later, but Lady Macbeth does not use the word murder, referring to it instead as “this enterprise.” Since she has already spoken openly about the plot kill Duncan with her husband, some moral inhibition must be preventing Lady Macbeth from from actually saying the word murder. Of course, things do not go as planned. Not only does Macbeth fail to carry out her instructions concerning the placement of the murder daggers, the blame does not fall upon Duncan’s guards but upon Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons, who have fled the scene. At the midpoint of the play, in Act III, scene ii, Lady Macbeth worries aloud, asks a servant whether Banquo is gone from the castle, and then sends him with a message for King Macbeth. For the first time in the play Lady Macbeth hints at the extent of what the murder has cost them,saying in a soliloquy:

“Nought’s had, all’s spent/ Where our desire is go without content; ‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy/Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy” (III, ii., ll.4-7). When Macbeth enters, she chastises him for leaving her alone and then advises him to “sleek over” his “rugged looks,” and be “bright and jovial” at banquet. (III, ii. ll. 27-28). He first advises her to do the same and then says that she should remain ignorant of his plans to dispose of Banquo and Fleance. In the banquet scene itself, Lady Macbeth is unable to rein in her husband’s guilty horror at seeing Banquo’s ghost, and although she is under incredible pressure her handling of the guests does leave much to be desired.

Lady Macbeth is absent for most of the latter part play and her reappearance at the opening of Act V is foreshadowed by the worried comments of her doctor and one of her gentlewomen. As she enters silently, the two refer to her behaviour as if she no longer existed. They note her compulsive habit of washing her hands, and, consistent with this diagnosis, the first words that she speaks are “a spot.” We soon realise that in her own mind, Lady Macbeth’s hands are unclean and that she simply cannot command an imagined “damn’d spot” to disappear. Completely oblivious to those around her, she transfers this symptom of guilt to Macbeth, saying “Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on ‘s grave” (V, i., ll.62-64). Macbeth, of course, is not present, for he has gone to the battlefield, but in her final speech, Lady Macbeth’s desire for conjugal partnership comes forth, as she says to her imagined husband, “To bed, to bed, there’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed” (V, i., ll.66-68). In Act V, scene iii, Macbeth commands the doctor to cure his wife, but the doctor wisely replies, “Therein the patient must minister to himself” (V, iii, l.45), and shortly thereafter Macbeth is told of his wife’s death, presumably as a result of suicide.

Looking back, after the murder of the King, Macbeth withdraws from his marital relationship to Lady Macbeth and no longer relies upon his wife’s capacity to interpret events for him. He keeps his plans to have Banquo and Fleance killed from her, saying to his one-time partner, “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck | Till thou applaud the deed” (III, ii, ll.50-51). By the banquet scene of Act III, Lady Macbeth is no longer part of her husband’s world, he no longer needs her as a spur to ambition. Deprived of her function in directing Macbeth’s actions, Lady Macbeth is left alone and isolated. Long before Macbeth concludes that “life is a tale told by an idiot”, Lady Macbeth, no longer a wife nor even a natural woman, has entered into a twilight realm in which there is no active role for her to perform nor any means through which guilt can be extinguished.

Macbeth vs. Kanye West

Macbeth has many characteristics that relate to Kanye West. Macbeth ignored society’s laws values and betrayed people to fulfill his ambition and Kanye did the same. Some of Kanye’s songs can be related to the way Macbeth felt or what he was going through at a part of the play, ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare.

In the play, Macbeth wanted to become king and have power by killing King Duncan. Though he was supposed to be loyal to the king and be respectful. Macbeth decided to betray the king. He was told that he would become king by the three witched and that he had to be patient. However, Macbeth was able to gain power sooner. He did this by killing the king and his family, Macbeth also ended up killing his friend Banquo because he was scared of being caught after killing the king.

Kanye West has betrayed quite a few of his friends and celebrities to gain more fame. One person he recently betrayed was Drake. Drake mentioned on a show The Shop, he and Kanye met in the studio before they were going to release their albums. They played parts of their songs for each other and Kanye wanted to take Drake to Wyoming, so Drake went. Drake went on saying that most of the time he was helping Kanye with his music instead of working on his own music. They also talked about personal things and what some of their songs on the album mean a few days later the news about Drake’s son, which he told Drake about, was out along with Kanye’s release date for his album, which was close to Drake’s album Scorpion. Kanye also humiliated Taylor Swift during the Video Music Awards in 2009. Kanye interrupted her while she was giving her speech after receiving an award by going on the stage. Kanye said that Beyonce deserved the award more than her, embarrassing her.

A song by Kanye that relates to Macbeth is ‘Power’. Macbeth chose the unforgiving route to attain his authority. “Reality is catchin’ up with me, takin’ my inner child, I’m fighting for it, custody, with these responsibilities that they entrusted me, as I look down at my diamond encrusted piece, thinkin’, no one man should have all that power, the clock’s tickin’, I just count the hours, stop trippin’, I’m trippin’ off the power ‘Til then, f*ck that, the world’s ours.” In the song, Kanye talks about the burden of power, expressing the glory and its danger. Both Kanye and Macbeth represent how power is desirable but consuming, they also show how power has its desructive side-effects.

In Act IV scene 1, when Macbeth visits the witches and asks them about the prophecy. The witches plan to trick Macbeth into a fabricated sense of security, this scene convinces Macbeth that he is actually unbeatable. The song ‘Power’ by Kanye is a fitting song for Act IV. In Act IV Macbeth learns from the witches that he is unstoppable, or so he thinks. He is told “…for none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth,” (IV.i.80-81). From this Macbeth feels less vulnerable, because he thinks no man can exist that isn’t born of a woman. The way Macbeth feels in this part of Act IV is how Kanye wants his listeners to feel when they listen to his song.

Macbeth has many characteristics that relate to Kanye West. They both ignored society and betrayed many people to gain more fame. They both want power and want to feel unstoppable and will do what it takes to get it. Macbeth did this by killing the king and his family, he also ended up killing his friend Banquo because he was scared of being caught after killing the king. Kanye humiliated Taylor Swift by interrupting her while she was receiving an award at an award show.

The theme of Fear in Macbeth

What is fear? Why is it so impactful? Fear can be defined as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat” (Google). Fear is one of the most powerful emotions; it creates a paranoid, vulnerable state of mind which often leads people to making decisions that they normally would not. Many literary works incorporate fear into their themes to demonstrate how it can corrupt the way a person thinks and compel them to make irrational decisions.

William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Macbeth reveals that fear is the most powerful motivating force in existence through Lady Macbeth’s use of fear to manipulate Macbeth, and the dynamic change in each of their characters throughout the course of the play.

At the beginning of Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth receives news from three witches, who claim he will be the new Thane of Cawdor and become King of Scotland. Shortly after, Macbeth indeed becomes Thane of Cawdor, which makes him confident that the witches predictions are true. After Duncan decides to make his son Malcolm heir to the throne, Macbeth questions whether or not the witches are right about him becoming the future king of Scotland and considers the fact that he could technically still be the next king if Duncan were executed. It doesn’t take long before Lady Macbeth finds out about the meeting with the witches. She sees an opportunity for Macbeth to take the throne by murdering king Duncan, but fears that he will not be man enough to actually do it. “Yet I do fear thy nature: it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it” (1.5.16-20). Lady Macbeth knows her husband is afraid of her disapproval. She uses this to her advantage by telling Macbeth she doubts his ability to go through with the plan to murder King Duncan. The last thing Macbeth wants to do is disappoint his wife; he might be afraid of killing the king, but he’s even more afraid of what Lady Macbeth thinks of him. As if questioning Macbeth’s manhood wasn’t enough to convince him to get the deed done, Lady Macbeth goes on to tell Macbeth he should act like the innocent man he his to conceal his true intentions. “Look like th’innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t” (1.5.56-58). At this point, it is obvious that Lady Macbeth knows murder is not in Macbeth’s nature. Rather than considering her husband’s morals, she continues to encourage him to go through with the plan. Further into Act 1, Macbeth approaches his wife to tell her he’s having second thoughts about killing Duncan and questions what will happen if their plan fails; this doesn’t sit right with Lady Macbeth. “We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail.” (1.7.59-61). Once again, Lady Macbeth makes Macbeth question his manliness for not wanting to murder Duncan which makes him doubt the way he’s feeling. Macbeth doesn’t want to betray his cousin who trusts him and cares about him but he feels pressured to prove himself as a man. When Macbeth thinks he’s seeing a dagger which leads him to Duncan’s bedroom, he feels compelled to kill him. Lady Macbeth’s plan seems to have been executed practically perfectly, besides a few details that she takes into her own hands. This sequence of events shows how Lady Macbeth uses Macbeth’s fear of her disapproval to manipulate him into murdering King Duncan, which proves that fear can influence people to make decisions which are not in their true nature.

After murdering King Duncan, Macbeth’s paranoia sets in almost immediately. He tells Lady Macbeth about the dagger he saw before going into the king’s room and the voices he thought he heard. Lady Macbeth warns her husband that if he thinks too much about what he has done, he will go crazy, but Macbeth is already struggling to think and act normally. When Duncan’s death is revealed to the rest of the characters, Macbeth kills the guards that him and Lady Macbeth framed as the killers to make himself appear loyal to the king and to ensure that the guards could not attempt to prove their innocence. Duncan’s two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, flea to England and Ireland in fear that they may be killed next, but this makes them look guilty. For now, Macbeth is in the clear and he is named the new King of Scotland. Banquo becomes suspicious of the witches’ prophecies and starts to wonder if Macbeth had anything to do with them coming true. Macbeth, already paranoid, begins to fear that Banquo may know what he has done. “Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared.” (3.1.50-55). Macbeth remembers the witches saying he would become king but that Banquo’s descendants would follow after him. He understands that this means his future children would not inherit the throne, but the children of Banquo would. Macbeth becomes terrified at the thought of having murdered the king just to have someone else’s children take the throne after him; he decides to take matters into his own hands once again, and have Banquo and his son killed. Macbeth convinces two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance in secret. The murderers kill Banquo, but Fleance escapes. Macbeth is ecstatic to hear that Banquo has been executed, but the thought of Fleance still being alive makes him feel trapped by the fear of losing his crown. Determined to get more information, Macbeth goes back to the witches and demands answers. First Apparition says, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; Beware the thane of Fife” (4.1.77). After hearing this, Macbeth becomes even more fearful of Macduff; he is convinced that he needs to kill him immediately to get rid of his troubles and fears. Macbeth soon discovers that Macduff ran away to England and decides to kill his family instead. At this point, Macbeth is desperately trying to secure his title as king. His actions clearly show that his morals have completely changed. In the beginning, Macbeth was hesitant about murdering Duncan; he did not want to betray his leader. Once the evil deed was done, the evil within Macbeth only grew. He has become a tyrant leader who no longer feels ashamed of his actions. Macbeth’s fear of losing power controls his thoughts and actions; he is now willing to murder anyone who stands in the way of his power. This drastic change in Macbeth’s character shows how fear can corrupt a person’s mind and motivate them to do the unthinkable.

In England, Malcolm and Macduff discuss the disastrous state of Scotland. After Ross informs Macduff that his wife and children have been killed under the orders of Macbeth, he is even more prepared to get his revenge. Malcolm agrees to help Macduff save his country and tells him he has already arranged for England to help them. The leader of the English army and 10,000 of their soldiers follow Malcolm and Macduff to Scotland in hopes of defeating the evil Macbeth. Back at Macbeth’s castle in Dunsinane, Lady Macbeth has been seen acting suspiciously by a gentlewoman who works for her. Unsure of what to do, the gentlewoman reports Lady Macbeth’s strange behavior to a doctor, “Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.” (5.1.5-9). Lady Macbeth is beginning to feel guilty for the murder of Duncan and the murders that followed; after all, she did push Macbeth to kill Duncan knowing it was not in his nature. As Lady Macbeth realizes that she is responsible for most of her husband’s wrong-doings, she becomes overwhelmed with paranoia and guilt. The woman who once thought her and Macbeth were untouchable, has been driven to insanity. “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.” (5.1.32-35). Lady Macbeth has gone mad to the point that her mind is creating visuals which do not exist. She imagines the blood of King Duncan on her hands and is incapable of washing it off. The fear of living with the guilt that she’s been carrying around for the rest of her days begins to consume her thoughts and control her life. Right before Macbeth goes to battle he is informed that his wife, the Queen, is dead. Shakespeare does not specify the cause of Lady Macbeth’s death, but it appears as if she has taken her own life. At the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is the more evil of the two Macbeths. She pressures Macbeth into murdering the king and encourages his sinful behavior. Eventually, she realizes the severity of her actions and loses her sanity. The way Lady Macbeth’s character shifts from being manipulative and ill-intentioned to fearful of her own thoughts proves how powerful fear can be.

William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Macbeth demonstrates the theme that fear is a powerful motivator which can lead people to making unimaginable decisions. Lady Macbeth utilizes fear to make her husband go against his morals and murder King Duncan. As the play progresses, Macbeth faces some obstacles which make him fearful of losing power. Macbeth’s character undergoes drastic change; he goes from being a noble, well-respected man, to being the most evil tyrant leader Scotland has ever seen. As Macbeth becomes a different man, his wife soon realizes that she is the one to blame for the poor choices he has made since taking the throne. The fear that Lady Macbeth faces after coming to realization that she would have to live with her guilt forever affects her everyday behavior and permanently scars her. Shakespeare’s play reveals that fear leads to corruption, irrational thinking and even insanity.

Why Macbeth is a Tragic Hero

A tragic hero is a person with a high social status, somebody who has a secret weakness that could eventually lead to a downfall, and when the characters life faces a downfall with courage and dignity. Generally, a tragic hero is a grievous legend that is seen as a respectable character. To go moreover, the character Macbeth happens to consist of these traits. With this in mind, I assert that Macbeth is, in fact, a tragic hero.

To begin with, Macbeth was born into a noble family. After all, he was King Duncan’s cousin. But, more importantly he was a Scottish general that served under the king. In Act 1, scene 2, Macbeth led King Duncan’s forces in to battle. Macbeth had killed Macdonwald which led their troop into victory (Shakespeare). More into scene 2, his defeat stood out to King Duncan and he granted Macbeth nobility (Shakespeare). For Macbeths loyalty to King Duncan, he was awarded to be Thane of Cawdor (Shakespeare). He was previously the Thane of Glamis; but, was practically promoted, causing his status to increase. To put into other words, Macbeth was already considered a valiant and worthy general and Duncan was astonished by his bravery, leadership, and successfulness in battle. So, King Duncan decided to ascent him into Thane of Cawdor; which, was a big deal since that position held a great amount of power.

Subsequently, Macbeth had his flaws. His biggest weakness that stood out was his strong ambition. Although, it may not seem like a weakness; but it unravels a dark side to Macbeth. In scene 3, one of the witches told Macbeth that he will soon become king (Shakespeare). Macbeth believed it since the witches had predicted that he would become a thane earlier on in the play. Anyways, Macbeths aspiration and wanting to be top dog, is more essential to him than everything else is throughout his everyday life. He will surrender everything that he has throughout to have the opportunity to sit on the position of authority. For example, in Act 1, scene 7, Lady Macbeth is trying to convince Macbeth to kill Duncan, but he is very hesitant about it because he has no reason to do so (Shakespeare). Yet, this was the start to his strong desire of power. After he went through the murder of Duncan and was awarded King of Scotland (Shakespeare), he slowly regained his conscience after a rough patch and acknowledged his strength and power. Macbeth then became fearful of his position and would do anything to stay as king, so he started to kill any potential candidates that could take that power from him. Another example would be in Act 3, scene 3, Macbeth became worried that Banquo was a threat to the throne so, he ordered three people to murder Banquo to be safe (Shakespeare). Overall, Macbeth’s heavy ambition caused him to kill for power and to soon feed off of fear in order to become more indomitable.

As a final point, Macbeth faced a large downfall with courage and dignity. Towards the end in Act 5, Malcolm starts a battle against Macbeth in Dunsinane (Shakespeare). This battle was the main decline of Macbeths power. Although, Macbeth understands that he will die but he refuses to commit suicide (Shakespeare). He claims he would rather fight until the end. On the battlefield, he encounters Young Siward and faces off with him, eventually Macbeth kills Young Siward (Shakespeare), leading him to regain courage. Later on, Malcolm came across Macbeth determined to kill him. So, Malcolm and Macbeth commence to a match. Malcolm brutally kills Macbeth, ending the battle and Malcom gaining the title of king. This is to say, he fought with dignity until his faith came to an end.

However, Macbeth does not draw any sympathy from the audience by claiming he doesn’t have time to mourn over his wife, Lady Macbeth’s death in Act 5, scene 5 (Shakespeare). Also, all the deaths like the servants he killed for his cover up, for the murder of Duncan. He insisted they were all just a part of his life. Yet, that sympathy within Macbeth varies from time. For example, when Macbeth hesitated on killing Duncan because Duncan has done nothing wrong to him and that was his cousin. He felt as if it was wrong and he wouldn’t deserve to be king after committing that crime.

To conclude, Macbeth is a tragic hero by being born into a royal family, having a tragic flaw that he didn’t acknowledge was a problem, and he faced a downfall with courage. Overall, he fits the standards of being an unfortunate hero based on Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. Even though all the obstacles he has come a crossed, he held on to his sense of direction to reach the goal of being king.

The Supernatural Events in Macbeth

A supernatural occurrence is described as an event or thing that are assumed to come from beyond or to originate from otherworldly forces and cannot be explained by reason or science. The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a tragedy that highlights the danger of too much ambition without moral consciousness through the development of Macbeth’s character. The plot of the drama explores topics including, corrupt power and tyranny, gender stereotypes and the role of masculinity, and the use of faith and belief as a source of motivation.

Also incorporated throughout the play are various supernatural and mythical occurrences, these are portrayed as witches, ghost, prophecies, and other examples. These Supernatural events are included in Macbeth, because of their contribution to the overall theme, and because of their relevance to each character depending on how much they believe in them. Shakespeare uses these events to highlight existing qualities in Macbeth and to show how these qualities are intensified when Macbeth is exposed to them. Some of these qualities can be identified as ambitious, greedy, malevolent, and destructive which all become exacerbated throughout the book and help show the development of Macbeth’s character.

The first mention of mythical events is at the very start of the play. It opens on page 17 to the witches huddled in a circle conversing with each other, until Macbeth and Banquo enter the scene. Each witch shouts a line at the two men “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis! / All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! / All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (1.3.51-53). This information becomes the newly formed prophecy which predicts that Macbeth will become, the Thane of Glamis, Cawdor, and future king. The two men are immediately confused and startled, why should they believe this nonsense? Only because prior to this scene, the play reveals that Macbeth was to be named Thane of Cawdor in a few short minutes, confirming the legitimacy of this mysterious prophecy. This is the very beginning of Macbeth’s strong desire for success. Here, in the beginning, Macbeth’s character is naive and passive. When the supernatural prediction begins to come true by naming him Thane of Glamis and Cawdor he says “Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion/…My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, / Shakes so my single state of man / That function is smothered in surmise, / And nothing is but what is not” / (1.3.146-155). Macbeth asks himself why he is feeling bad if something good is happening. He talks here about how the thought of these goals as just a fantasy. It shows his true naivety when he speaks about committing murder, he explains how the mere thought “Shakes so my single state of man” (1.3.153). It seems here as if Macbeth would never commit such a horrible act because just the thought of it gravely scares him, this portrays Macbeth’s character now before the development begins. He doesn’t know yet the extent that his future self will go to, to achieve his goals.

After the prophecy is introduced Macbeth is urged to take drastic measure and murder Duncan for his benefit. Even though he has doubts occasionally, he eventually does the deed and kills King Duncan. After this Macbeth becomes even more confident and convinces a couple assassins to kill Banquo. He tells them “Fleance, his son, that keeps him company, / Whose absence is no less material to me / Than is his father’s, must embrace the fate / Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart. / I’ll come to you anon” (3.2.154-158). Now Macbeth is plotting to murder more people in comparison to him before being shaken up by the mere thought of it. Not only has he murdered one person, but he is also now conspiring another homicide and is becoming insane, all because of the prophecy that he is so fixated on. He becomes determined to make it come true no matter what it takes.

Jumping ahead in the play to when the witches reappear, there is already a huge shift in his personality he has now not only killed Duncan to fulfill prophecy but has also murdered Banquo and Macduff’s family in a bloody rage. His personality has grown power hungry, desperate, even described as mentally ill. His descent into madness is displayed in his second encounter with the witches, he orders them to “answer [him]. / Though you untie the winds and let them fight. / Against the churches, though the yeasty waves. / Confound and swallow navigation up, / Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down, / Though castles topple on their warders’ heads /…Even till destruction sicken, answer [him]./ To what [he] ask[s] [them]” (4.1.52-64). Macbeth commands them to tell him everything they know and has no regard to what the consequences are including unleashing violent winds, tearing down churches, etc. He doesn’t care what it takes but he demands that they tell him his future once more. This is a huge character shift from the previous Macbeth who was scared of the thought of murder. This change is primarily due to the original prophecy and its effects, it made him yearn for power so much so that he would do anything to get it. This greed and selfishness shaped his character to become a vile human being. He had so much fixation on these events that the obsession is bringing out his inner evil and morphing his mental-state.

After Macbeth’s outburst with the witches they do end up telling him what happened he finds out that he will never be harmed by “none of woman born” (4.1.91) and he will never be defeated until “Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him” (4.1.106-107). Macbeth now puts a lot of faith into the prophecy and inflates his ego to the point where he thinks nobody will ever defeat him. In his mind it makes sense, a forest will never uproot and move and no human is not born of a woman. In his mind, this makes him invincible. This ego inflation results in another personality transformation, he becomes the most arrogant, and irrational man who believes he is immortal and will never die. He announces “Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane / I cannot taint with fear. What’s the boy Malcolm? / Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know / All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus: / ‘Fear not, Macbeth. No man that’s born of woman’” (5.3.3-6) Macbeth’s newfound smugness compels him to talk to others like so as if he has nothing to fear. Macbeth’s tone here is representative of how the prophecy leads him to become conceded. His reliance on the prophecy makes him to continue to believe that he fears nothing until “Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane” or he meets “a man not born of woman” This prophecy is what primarily affects Macbeth’s character to be this way because it gives him confidence that nothing will happen to him until impossible events take place.

Violence in Macbeth

The context of violence can be interpreted in many ways. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, violence is either viewed as courageous or psychologically destructive. In the story, figures of witches come to the character Macbeth consulting him of prophecies, raising his curiosity and his ambition, which eventually lead to his downfall. Macbeth’s attempt to cover his journey to fulfill these prophecies, which includes becoming king of Scotland, involves increasingly desperate acts of violence. The theme of violence is central to the development of the narrative and the characters by fulfilling the prophecies; violence manifests within.

Macbeth exemplifies a very violent man throughout the play but in this it is portrayed as courageous. The war fought in the beginning of the story after the battle is won, a bleeding soldier gallavants over Macbeth’s victory, “For brave Macbeth/ Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel/ Which smoked with bloody execution/ Like valor’s minion carvèd out his passage…” ( ). Because of Macbeth’s admiration he starts to take pleasure in the murder of other people. Then comes the admirable Young Siward, “Thou liest, abhorred tyrant/with my sword I’ll prove the lie thou speak’st” ( ). He speaks of standing up to Macbeth and killing him as a way to avenge the murders that Macbeth has caused. Eventually in battle Macbeth kills the young child but has a great significance on how the morality of violence can be interpreted in a valiant way. Also, the murder and beheading of the traitor Thane of Cawdor, “No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive / Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, / And with his former title greet Macbeth” ( ), gives King Duncan an image of respect and authority. If you are able to take a man’s life you are looked at as a true honorable leader. In these instances, violence can be elucidated as respectable instead of a horror.

Macbeth’s desire to fulfill the prophecies leads to the murder of King Duncan, his most trusted friend and his king. Blatant murder for Macbeth a thought so far from his mind, “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical/Shakes so my single state of man/That function is smothered in surmise/And nothing is but what is not” ( ). At first the mere thought of murder shakes Macbeth up so bad that he starts to lose his own identity. He wants to be king but he does not yet know how far he will go to get there. Then as time passes, him and his wife plan to murder duncan so he can be king. Macbeth hesitates saying, “We will proceed no further in this business/He hath honored me of late, and I have bought/Golden opinions from all sorts of people,/Which would be worn now in their newest gloss/Not cast aside so soon” ( ). Until Lady Macbeth names him a coward for not proceeding with his plan, as though a man’s honor consists of the willing to commit acts of murder and violence. What beast was’t, then/That made you break this enterprise to me?/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” ( ). Lady Macbeth practically convinces Macbeth to go through with the plan and murder the king for his throne. The violence ends up being on her hands and effects her conscience just as it does Macbeth’s. After the deed is done, he feels extremely distraught after what he has done, “To know my deed/’twere best not know myself” ( ). He essentially would rather be dead than look upon the horror that he committed. Macbeth suffocated himself with the thought and the reality of becoming and staying king; he completely lost himself with the act of one violent submission leading to another. The small seed of brutality planted in Macbeth’s head sprouted into something uncontrollable.

Shakespeare infuses the play with blood and uses it symbolically throughout the story. Macbeth says, “What hands are here! Ha! they pluck out mine eyes” ( ). The idea is that the sight of the blood, the idea of murder, is so horrific it metaphorically tears his eyes out, indicating the horror and shock he feels after his actions. Macbeth suffers greatly from his guilt of his violent actions with King Duncan, being that he killed him. Not only does blood relate to Macbeth’s acts but also his wife Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is a born instigator of violence until her hands become bloody of her own and the feeling of guilt washed over her while Macbeth reigns. She envisions blood on her hands and unceasingly tries to take it off while saying, “Out, damned spot! out, I say!” ( ). Lady Macbeth wants to cleanse her hands of blood which reveals her haunting guilt over the murders that occured in her presence. Macbeth’s dry acceptance in “I am in blood / Step’t in so far that, should I wade no more / Returning were as tedious as go o’er” ( ), shows his cease to murder and evil. This blood metaphor relates that Macbeth has gone so far deep into acts of violence that he just plainly accepts it. Macbeth’s ambition to be king treads on a bloody path just to come to the conclusion that hollow and empty enterprise of surviving to become and be king is not what he thought.

Violence is not only the linking element of the entire story but the driving force of the plot. Shakespeare explores the morality of violence and the true fight between good and evil. The violence that Macbeth causes in the lives of others fatefully impacts his own life. Violence can control the lives of everyone and become one’s downfall which is the message Shakespeare portrays.

Macbeth Critique

The play I chose to write my critique about is none other than Shakespeare’s shortest and most intense drama known as “Macbeth”. I personally never seen the play Macbeth but heard a lot about it throughout my high school. Shakespeare is a great playwright known for writing the very famous Romeo and Juliet and also for Macbeth.

Since I knew how great of a play Romeo and Juliet was, I knew Macbeth was going to be right up there with it. I watched Macbeth on youtube and what a play it was. I actually enjoyed it and that surprised me. It was a very well written play where a once loyal soldier gets a message from some witches that he would be the King of Scotland one day and would rule Scotland. Him and his impatient wife could not wait for that and took matter into their own hands and killed their king and took over and blamed the killing on some guards.

When Macbeth seen that what the witch said came true, he went back to them for more information and was told that he should look out for an enemy “not born of woman” and he believed that was nonesene. Until he was sneak attacked by Malcolm and his army and when he was about to get murdered he was told by Malcolm that Malcolm was born by c-section and that he was not precisely speaking “born of woman”. So it was a very intense play for sure.

The play about Macbeth that I had watch was a more modernized one it had some very createful theatrical elements. First off since the play had witches in them, the director had to come up with the way to make the witches disappear from time to time. So the director had to have a gauze curtain that was transparent. And for sound design, there was voice overs used for the witches so that it could look like they are actually talking. And the lightning was designed really well, where the goal was to inject a natural light setting. Lightning poles were set to create visual effects for the audience. As for costumes go, most of the characters at the start were wearing informs since they were in a war. The King of Scotland was wearing his silky robe which assures of how wealthy he is. Macbeth costumes changed since he went from a soldier to a self appointed King. But mostly costumes were like they were from the old medieval days.

In conclusion Macbeth was a very well written play that had everything. And since I watched a modernized version, the director did very well with the theatrical elements to make it very entertaining for the audience to watch. It was a great action play that I would love to watch in a real live play.