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Macbeth Character Analysis

The play of Macbeth is an example of power at the expense of everything else; he begins the play as a strong character who is greatly admired, however as the play progresses, Macbeth’s personality and actions become more and more deceitful, which eventually leads to his destruction. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is seen as a character with a good personality. However, after the battle, Macbeth is being admired for his bravery by the captain. This shows a lot of people had respect for him and looked up to him.

Macbeth is prophesized by the witches that he is to become king. Macbeth is considering the thought of killing Duncan for his ambition but is optimistic. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth has already read the letter from her husband and has started planning Duncan’s murder. It is clear to me that at the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a brave hero and that his character’s personality is loyal, strong, and willing to die for their country. After the battle, at the King’s Headquarters, Duncan praises Macbeth in this way;

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“O, valiant cousin! Worthy Gentleman” From this quotation, I believe that Duncan thinks highly of Macbeth. The captain also praises Macbeth; “For brave Macbeth- well he deserves that name” From this statement, I think the captain praises Macbeth for how he fought in the battle and his bravery and leadership skills while participating in the battle against the Norwegians. Overall, at the play’s beginning, I see Macbeth as a loyal, well-respected and caring character.

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Shortly after this, Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches, and they prophesized that he is to become a king; “All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter” For me, this is the point in the play where Macbeth’s evil side has been shown, as it is after the witches told him that he is to be king he starts thinking about Duncan’s murder. Up until this point, Macbeth is weary of killing Duncan for his ambition to become king. It is Lady Macbeth who blackmails him into participating in the killing of Duncan. I assume she touched a nerve by;

“I would while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, And dashed the brains out, had I sworn,” I think she had no right in saying this. I suspect this is why Macbeth changed his mind to prove to her he dared to participate in murdering someone. This illustrates that he was influenced by Lady Macbeth so strongly that he would kill someone. I think Lady Macbeth should not have become involved in what the witches had prophesied.

Immediately after he had killed Duncan, Macbeth contemplated his thoughts on murdering him. Macbeth is shaken by the afterthoughts of murdering the king and wishes he had not killed him. He is so traumatized he is terrified of every noise he hears in the castle. Overall they are making him feel guilty and making him regret the terrible deed which he has accomplished. Macbeth is disgusted with himself for murdering Duncan. This is revealed when Macbeth states, “I have done the deed.”

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This shows me that Macbeth is deeply ashamed of what he has done as he doesn’t acknowledge the killing of Duncan in a simple way. By the beginning of Act 3, Macbeth is determined to kill Banquo and Fleance as Banquo suspects Macbeth of killing Duncan. As Banquo leaves the castle, Macbeth reveals his fear that the prophecy concerning Banquo might come true. He entertains two murderers whom he instructs to assassinate Banquo and his son Fleance. He puts this instruction across by using this quote; “Fleance his son, that keeps him company, Whose absence is no less material to me than his Father’s?” At this stage in the play, the more Macbeth tries to cover things up, the more powerless he is in being king.

Macbeth visits the witches and also meets their masters. He discovers that he should fear Macduff through an apparition, but nobody born to a woman can harm him, he believes that everyone on earth is born by a woman, but Macduff wasn’t. Also that he will reign until Birman Wood comes to Dunsinane Castle, which he considers to be impossible. He immediately orders the destruction of Macduff’s whole family. Ross warns Lady Macduff, but it is too late; she and her son are murdered. There is intense imagery between Lady Macduff and her son, which makes their murders more savage. Ross arrives and informs Macduff of the slaughter of his family. Malcolm informs Macduff that England will provide an army under Seyward to defeat Macbeth. Macduff vows to kill Macbeth personally.

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In the opening scenes, Macbeth is described as “brave,” “valiant,” and “heroic!” and is even described as “noble” by the king. The role of Macbeth in the play shows his complete change in character and the evolution of his character. Macbeth begins as a respectable person, and gradually his personality descends until Macbeth eventually falls apart and loses control. Throughout the play, Macbeth changes dramatically into a murdering, lying fiend. Finally, ambition and greed get the better of Macbeth as he only has one thing on his mind: to become king. In conclusion, it is considered that Shakespeare is trying to portray to us that no good will come from destroying rivals on the way to the top, even if it appears that you will not be found out.

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Macbeth Character Analysis. (2021, Sep 23). Retrieved May 27, 2022, from