In ‘Macbeth’ Shakespeare shows how a man once considered noble and brave can become an evil tyrant. Trance the changes in ‘Macbeth’, looking closely at the language used by him and about him. Was he entirely responsible for his actions?
Brave or brutal? Which word best describes Macbeth? At the start of the play Macbeth is said to be brave, noble, worthy and valiant showing that Macbeth had a good reputation. The king thinks very highly of him and to show his trust in Macbeth makes him Thane of Cawdor. But do these words unnecessarily violent, extreme, brutal, ruthless describe more accurately the real Macbeth. The man who ‘unseamed [an enemy] from the nave to the chops, and fixed his head upon [the] battlements.’ Could this prove that under Macbeth’s skin runs evil blood?
‘All hail Macbeth hail to thee Thane of Glamis! All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor! All hail Macbeth! That shall be king hereafter’ could this have been what planted the evil ambition in Macbeth? If the witches had never confronted Macbeth, would Macbeth of even thought about being Thane of Cawdor let alone king? In scene three Macbeth shows two different side of his self. Although Macbeth seems not to believe what the witches were saying, he orders them to stay and tell him more. This shows that he is willing to contemplate what they were saying. Macbeth seems curious about the witches and what they have to say. The fact that Macbeth would even talk to the witches is quite shocking since witches and other things supernatural were considered evil and people that were seen in the company of witches were also thought to be wicked. So was Macbeth evil or was it just a case of curiosity.
‘I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent but only vaulting ambition’ Macbeth sees no reason to kill the king other then his own ambition but it seems that Macbeth has forgotten about his wife’s ambition. ‘It is too full of the milk of human kindness’ this suggests that Macbeth was basically a good man who would not do evil to get what he want. Through out the next scene Lady Macbeth tries to convince her husband that the only way for him to be king would be to kill King Duncan. Macbeth resists this shows that Macbeth was good. But still Lady Macbeth kept on at her husband until he finally gave in this shows that maybe Macbeth was a weak man but not necessarily evil. However at the time this play was written people believed that the king was appointed by God so by killing the king you were going against God which is evil, so does this mean that Macbeth was really evil for carrying out the deed that his wife planned for him? Or was he just a partaker pushed by his own wife’s evil plans and thoughts?
Banquo, Macbeth’s best friend but also the man whose children threatened to take the crown from Macbeth and Macbeth’s family. Macbeth decided that the only way to keep the title of king was to kill Banquo and Banquo’s son. This time Lady Macbeth and the witches held no part in the murder. Macbeth plans and hires the murders his self. The fact that Macbeth was alone in this murder suggests that Macbeth was the evil party in this play. The fact that Macbeth was able to hire murders to kill his best friend implies that Macbeth is indeed malevolence. Although after the murder Macbeth did seem to think that he sees the ghost of Banquo, which could mean that he wasn’t totally evil since, he felt guilty for killing his best friend.
Macbeth has two encounters with the witches one he could not have help happening and the other he made happen. Macbeth went and finds the witches wanting them to use their powers and tell him that he was safe that his kingdom would remain his. This could leave Macbeth open to evil meaning that the witches could try to control him and plant fresh and evil plans into Macbeth’s mind. Because Macbeth went to the witches this could mean that he is the evil party in this. The witches speak in riddles confusing Macbeth into a fake sense of safety.
The witches tell Macbeth two main things:
1.Beware of Macduff
2. None of woman born shall harm Macbeth
One of the many things the witches told Macbeth was to beware of Macduff; the witches did not mention anything about Macduff’s family yet Macbeth has Macduff’s whole family killed brutally which shows once again that Macbeth can be unnecessarily violent. Once again Macbeth is the one that plans the murder with no help from Lady Macbeth. Macbeth is the only one can be see as bad for this uncalled for act of cruelty.
‘Tell thee Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped’ one thing Macbeth did not count on was the fact that Macduff was not born naturally. Macduff calls Macbeth a ‘Tyrant’ and also a ‘coward’ before he kills him.
Macbeth, tyrant or noble? In my opinion Macbeth was an evil man that hide behind a mask of bravery. Yes he may have need pushing on the murder of kill King Duncan but he was quite able to do the other to murders without any help although I also believe that the witches and Lady Macbeth were also to blame. If the witches hadn’t had start the whole chain of events then maybe Macbeth would never have had connected to his dark side. If Lady Macbeth had obeyed her husband when he told her that he did not want to kill the king then maybe Macbeth would not have ended the way he did. However if Macbeth had just killed the witches or stood strong against his wife none of this may have happened. In conclusion I believe that Macbeth was an evil tyrant.