Study on the Failure of Macbeth’s Morals as Illustrated by William Shakespeare in His Play, Macbeth
Macbeth Character Analysis
At the start of Macbeth, Macbeth and his friend Banquo encounter three witches after a tough but successful battle. They prophesize that Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor, and then king soon after. They also declared that Banquo’s son, Fleance, is in line to be king too. Macbeth is shocked by this because in order to be king, he would have to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth is immediately on board and tries to sway him towards the path she wants.
Macbeth was indecisive of whether he should kill Duncan or not. He didn’t want to discuss any more plans when Lady Macbeth tried harder to make him go through with the assassination. He just simply dismisses her as follows: “We will proceed no further in this business”. Even when the power of a king is tempting, he still has a conscience.
When Macbeth finally killed Duncan, he is almost immediately regretful of his actions. Lady Macbeth ordered him to take the bloody daggers back to the grooms, but Macbeth couldn’t do it. He tells her the following: “I’ll go no more. I am afraid to think what I have done, Look on’t I dare not”. He did not want to be reminded of the murder he just committed.
The guilt of committing three murders has made Macbeth paranoid. Every little movement and noise in his environment spooked him. He says this when he hears knocking at his castle doors in the night: “Whence is that knocking? How is’t with me, when every noise appalls me?”. He even begins to hallucinate figures, such as Banquo sitting at his banquet since he just sent murderers to kill him.
As Macbeth lives the life of the king, he becomes even more paranoid, unable to trust anyone. As he converses with the three witches again, he thinks that his power is unstoppable, but nonetheless he plans to kill Macduff. He tells the witches: “But yet I’ll make assurance double sure, and take a bond of fate”. He wants to kill Macduff, and all who may oppose him, just so he can feel secure.
It seems as though Macbeth has completely lost his conscience; he is willing to slaughter anyone who might be against him with no remorse. Previously, he felt a huge weight on his shoulders for killing Duncan. But now, he’ll just terminate anyone who he feels like will turn on him. Macbeth declares to himself: “From this moment the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand”. He shall go and take action without a second thought; Macbeth sends the same murders after Macduff and his family.
Macbeth has no more reliable allies, Lady Macbeth took her own life, so he is all alone. He knows that his death is now inevitable, since so many people have turned against him. Macbeth now views his life is completely meaningless. After finding out that Lady Macbeth had died, Macbeth only responds with this: “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day…”. Macbeth has completely lost the will to live, so he just accepts his fate and dies fighting.
So to conclude, Macbeth was scared of committing such treason at first. He had a conscience and logical reasoning, therefore reluctant to follow Lady Macbeth’s plans. But as soon as Macbeth killed Duncan, everything went downhill for him. His trust in others completely broke, resulting in more murders just for his sense of security. His guilt slowly fades away, so he carries out his plans without a second thought. When his crimes finally takes its toll, Macbeth just loses the will to live and accepts his tragic fate.
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