Examination of Macbeth's Character

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Power can be taken, but not given:

An Examination of Macbeth's Character in William Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Character develops itself in the stream of life. Individuals in society each contain unique character traits that are constantly evolving. In William Shakespeare?s Macbeth, Macbeth undergoes many tremendous changes in his character. Macbeth?s character changes throughout the play because of the murders of King Duncan, Banquo and Macduff?s family.

First, Macbeth?s murder of King Duncan changes him by triggering his ambition, revealing his fear and revealing his regret. For example, in his first appearance on stage, the Macbeth described as brave and noble has his ambition triggered:

First Witch. All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second Witch. All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third Witch. All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter!

Banquo. Good sir, why do you start [?] (Shakespeare I.iii.48-51)

Clearly, Macbeth?s sudden movement at the news that he will be king shows how his ambition is triggered. Macbeth is so excited that he starts, and Banquo notices this. In addition, Macbeth?s soliloquy in scene seven reveals his fears about killing Duncan:

Macbeth. But in these cases

We still have judgement here, that we but teach

Bloody instruction, which being taught, return

To plague the inventor. (I.vii.7-10)

Evidently, Macbeth is afraid of killing King Duncan because he believes if he performs an act of evil, then it will come back to haunt him. This is the first time in the play where Macbeth shows any sign of fear. Furthermore, the murder of King Duncan reveals a deep sense of regret within Macbeth: ?To know my deed, ?twere best not know myself. / Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou could?st!? (II.ii.73-75). Already, Macbeth is regretting killing King Duncan, and this drastically changes his character (before committing the murder he was confident due to Lady Macbeth?s persuasions). Thus, Macbeth?s murder of King Duncan changes him by triggering his ambition, revealing his fear and revealing his regret.

Second, the murder of Banquo changes Macbeth by causing psychological harm, creating unease within Macbeth, and making Macbeth determined to continue with his plan of evil. For example, at the feast Macbeth hosts, he sees the ghost of Banquo:

Macbeth. The table?s full.

Lennox. Here is a place reserv?d, sir.

Macbeth. Where?

Lennox. Here, my good lord. What is?t that moves your

Highness?

Macbeth. Which of you have done this?

Lords. What, my good lord?

Macbeth. Thou canst not say I did it: never shake

Thy gory locks at me.

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