Macbeth: Protagonist Becoming Evil

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Macbeth: Protagonist Becoming EvilThe story Macbeth is like no other in plot and poetry. It sets itself apartfrom the rest by having a protagonist becoming evil. What makes Macbeth such acomplicated character is the way his outlook keeps on changing throughout theplay. This essay will prove that Macbeth is an evil man and was not overpoweredby ambition to get what he wanted. This essay will also determine that certaincharacters like the witches did not force him to do evil; they simply triggeredit. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is shown as a hero in the Scottish army, that is ironic because Macbeth has defeated a traitor and he will become one. We feel that a person of his loyalty could never commit evil unless he had agood reason or if he would be provoked.

After Macbeth's first meeting with thewitches, we learn from his aside that he has thought about killing Duncan ' Mythought, whose murder yet is but fantastical' 1(Macbeth 1.3.152). Macbeth alsosays ' If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me Without my stir.'2(Macbeth 1.4.157-159) which means that maybe he does not have to murder theking to gain that title. Luck has been very generous to him and might continueand make him king. Macbeth's true evil thoughts about being king are first shown when he finds outthat king Duncan has named his son Malcolm as Prince of Cumberland. He nowshows his evil and his true feelings. ' Stars, hide your fires; Let not night see my black anddeep desires. The eye wink at the hand; yet let thatbe Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.' 3(Macbeth 1.4.57-60)Macbeth is actually seeking help from the dark and supernatural. Macbeth issaying that he does not want to see the evil that he will commit until it isdone

It is now known that Macbeth is capable of evil and would commit it. Upon meeting Lady Macbeth, we can assume that any evil done by Macbeth would becontributed by her influence. Lady Macbeth is a very powerful women and she hasa-lot of power over Macbeth's decisions. After Lady Macbeth reads the letterfrom Macbeth, she says that he is in fact too noble to kill Duncan in cold bloodbut he would like to. ' It is too full o'th'milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great, Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it.

What thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false And yet wouldst wrongly win.' 4(Macbeth 1.5.17-23)Lady Macbeth also talks about Macbeth's ambition and how he is not the kind ofperson to let anything stand in his way if he wants it enough. Knowing there isevil in him, once he starts with the murder he will not let anything else standin his way. Macbeth's guilt is recognized after the killing of the king; in fact he isfilled with so much of it that he is unable to pronounce the word AMEN. Macbeth shows once again his guilt when he says 'Will all great Neptune's oceanwash this blood Clean from my hands?' 5(Macbeth 2.2.78-79). At this point, wecan assume that Macbeth is in fact not an evil man instead one who was overcomewith the idea of great achievement (his becoming king of Scotland). Hisattitude is shown to have been changed as he tries to put the blame of themurder on Duncan's children. 'We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed InEngland and in Ireland.' 6(Macbeth 3.1.33-34) This shows the reader thatMacbeth is trying to cover up his cruel actions by laying the blame on someoneelse. Macbeth is trying to hide the evil that he has committed. Macbeth's evil is now progressing. The assumption that Macbeth's wife was thereason for the evil deed that was committed can now be no longer since he is nowplanning things without her knowledge.

Leary put it best when he said 'Macbethmakes the desicions to murder of his own free will, sins and falls from grace'7(Leary,200). He doesn't want anyone to take his hard earned title away fromhim and is willing to kill everyone who he considers a threat. Evil isoverpowering him as he decides to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. The witchespredicted Banquo's children to be kings but not him. Clearly Banquo was nothreat to the title of Macbeth yet Macbeth had him killed anyway. Macbeth nolonger thought of the loyalty he owed Banquo as he had done in Duncan's case. The banquet scene is very important and symbolic. Shakespeare shows thatMacbeth is so evil that he is in some way not human anymore. 'The table'sfull.' 8(Macbeth 3.4.

54) said Macbeth. The place where he was suppose to sitwas taken by the ghost of the now dead Banquo. Macbeth now doesn't have a placeamong the others. He became enraged as he knew that that was true but lateraccepted it by going to meet with his own evil kind, the witches. The witches do play an important part in Macbeth's evil actions and his downfallbut can't be held responsible for it. The witches told him more or less exactlywho were a threat to him.

If it were not for them Macbeth would have had tocontinue on guessing and might have killed many people who pose no threat to him. Until now, everybody that died was a threat to Macbeth in some way or another. To a certain degree, Macbeth is considered only an evil man to who he thinksstand in his way of greatness and happiness. All that changes when he hasMacduff's castle attacked by a band of murderers. The murderers killed manypeople who have nothing to do with Macbeth's continuing reign over Scotland. Macbeth's evil is now at its peak. Nobody can blame Lady Macbeth for his actionsnow. She doesn't even know what he is doing at this point. The witchesprophecies told him that Macduff poses a challenge for him.

Still they nevermentioned his family or even anybody else. That didn't stop Macbeth fromkilling anybody and everybody at the castle. Macbeth is in fact an evil man. Maybe at one point he could have been admired asa soldier, a brave man who would fight willingly for his country. He had thetitles of Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor but that wasn't enough for him. Atthe beginning of the play he would contemplate evil actions and then he wouldfeel the guilt for these actions. The play concluded with him killing at thechance that someone was against him without giving it a second thought.

To thevery end, Macbeth proved to be a traitor and felt no longer any remorse for hisactions. The play concluded with a satisfactory ending and Macbeth wasn't knownfor his great achievements and his aid to Scotland but as 'this dead butcher'9(Macbeth 5.8.82.) Scotland had seen it's worst king and awaits its new fate. Harold Bloom put it best when he said that ' we welcome the daylight as if wewere awakening from a nightmare.' 10(Bloom,131)WORKS CITED1. William Shakespeare, Macbeth, The Folger Shakespeare Library, New York, 1992.2. ibid3. ibid4.

Ibid5. ibid6. ibid7. Daniel Leary, Macbeth, in the original and modern english, The perfectionform company, New York, 1987.8. William Shakespeare, Macbeth, The Folger Shakespeare Library, New York, 1992.9.

Ibid10. Harold Bloom, Major Literary Characters, Macbeth, : Oxford University Press, Toronto, 1939.BIBLIOGRAPHYShakespeare, William, Macbeth, New York: The Folger Shakespeare Library, 1992.Ribner, Irving, Patearns in Shakespearean Tragedy, London: Meutheun, 1960.Bloom, Harold, Major Literary Characters, Macbeth, Toronto: Oxford UniversityPress, 1939.Leary, Daniel, Macbeth, in the original and modren english, New York: Theperfection form company, 1987.Harbage, Alfred, A Reader Guide to William Shakespeare, New York: The NoondayPress, 1963.

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