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In the Shakespearean novel Macbeth, the protagonist Macbeth is caught in a down spiral induced by his ambition which in the end, was the cause of his tragic end. Macbeth, once a great hero falls victim of his ambition for power. Although the protagonist initially tries to resist his human urge, he in the end committed crime his country, his friends, and sadly himself.
Macbeth's first great crime was the crime against his country. In the beginning, Macbeth was described by his fellow noblemen as a great, loyal soldier, giving all he has for his country. Soon, it becomes evident when the witches foretells Macbeth future: "All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter" (I. iii. 53) that Macbeth will be destined for greatness but not in the way he thinks. After receiving the three prophecies, Macbeth is intrigue by the idea the he will be king hereafter. He soon shows his intention to carry out the prophecies in his aside: "The prince of Cumberland! that is a step on which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap, for in my way it lies" (I. iv. 55-57). With the help of his wife, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth was able to kill the Duncan, the king of Scotland, a man whom trusted and loved Macbeth. With Duncan dead and the two princes fleeing, Macbeth was crowned king of Scotland. In the end, Macbeth had fulfilled his prophecies but in doing, he had committed treason against his country.
Macbeth's second great crime was committed against his friends, the people around him whom use to admire him. After he had been crowned king, Macbeth believed his greatest obstacle had been overcame but that assumption was far the truth. By committing the first great crime, Macbeth had unconsciously paved the way for his downfall. Perhaps the turning point of the novel in which Macbeth kills Banquo; his loyal friend, that Macbeth's character begins to deteriorate. In one of his aside: "The very firstling of my heart shall be the firstling of my hand" (IV. i. 161-162) Macbeth's mental deterioration becomes visible. This aside is crucial because it foreshadows the future events to come. Macbeth now seems to have not a shred of decency or guilt left in him. Because of his irrational thinking, Macbeth commits probably the worst crime he had every committed. Macbeth had his Macduff's family slaughtered. This crime was so horrendous because unlike Macbeth's prior murders, this one had no other purpose but to quench Macbeth hatred of his rival Macduff. It soon became clear that Macbeth's plans were not working out as he had planned. His destiny now lies in the hands of those he had committed crimes against, his former friends.
Macbeth's final great crime was the crime against himself. Macbeth throughout the play was struggling with his inner conflict. On one hand, Macbeth's ambition influenced him to strive for power and on other hand, his moral sense was trying to resist the urges. Nevertheless, like any tragedy, Macbeth fell victim of his ambition. In his quest for power, Macbeth abandons his moral sense. What is worse was that others suffered because of his inner conflict. As the play progress, Macbeth loses control of himself. It is ironic that Macbeth's quest for power and happiness would leave him weak and alone. Macbeth expresses his loneliness and regret in his final soliloquy:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this pretty pace from day to day, to the syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterday have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (V. v. 21-30)
Macbeth now realized his tragic flaw. Nevertheless, like the warrior he once was, Macbeth would not surrender to his enemies. In the end, Macbeth was slain.
In conclusion, Macbeth's punishment was fitting for his crime. In his quest for power, Macbeth did everything necessary to obtain his goal but in doing so, isolated himself from the world. With the death of his wife, Macbeth realizes his isolation and crime but he also knew it is too late
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Characters in Macbeth, English-language films, British films, Regicides, Macbeth, Banquo, Macduff, Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, Three Witches, Fleance
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