Macbeth is presented as a mature man enjoying an enviable reputation.
throughout this Shakespearean play, however, Macbeth’s emotions change
drastically. His abilities in battle are stupendous, yet his abilities as a husband and
King are on the contrary. His overvaulting ambitions overcome his morality, and
lead him to do “the evil deeds” that he commits during his reign.
Macbeth’s prophecies begin with his encounter with the three evil women,
the witches. They put the thought into his mind that if he were to kill Duncan, he
himself may become king. When Lady Macbeth found out about this, she liked the
idea of becoming a queen. She uses many techniques throughout the first act to
convince him to execute the King, including questioning his manhood. He appears
to be a very strong individual before all of this occurred, being very stable mentally
and being a hero in the eyes of his countrymen on the battlefield. All of this changes
as the play progresses.
The “angel” on one of his shoulders is telling him how kind this male ruler
has been to him and the country of Scotland. The little “greedy devil” on his other
shoulder that wants to be King finally overcomes the “angel.” His mind finally
warrants him the justification to kill King Duncan. He has deep regret for what he
has done shortly thereafter. The murder of the King is the first to slowly break down
his now fragile emotional state. He feels that after murdering the King, he has given
his mind and soul to those evil and demonic forces which are the enemy of mankind.
It seems as though he is addicted to a drug; he must kill those who oppose
him or those who (he feels) will do him harm in the future, yet he does not enjoy
this. He is “hooked” on this drug and he knows it; however, he cannot stop until he
is happy. He gains no satisfying peace because his conscience still obliges him to
recognize the negative qualities of evil and the negative results of evil action. The
individual who once prized mutable goods in the form of respect and admiration
from those about him has now lost his sensitivity towards good and evil. His
conscience is numbed, and he has almost reached a “peace” with himself, being
morally obsolescent from what is really going on. The environment that he is subject
to is continually being intensified, until his final encounter with Macduff ends
everything.
Macbeth is a man who I believe could have been a great King if he had
waited until Duncan’s natural death. He had strong morals and character before his
“evil side” suddenly took over. Lady Macbeth couldn’t handle what was going on -
what she helped start - and she took her own life. Malcom became King, and as I
imagine, did a pretty good job at it. Macbeth, by the time of his death, was so
psychologically temperamental, he was capable of doing any conceivable evil. This
is what makes Macbeth one of Shakespeare's most mysterious tragedies.
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