Macbeth

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Macbeth

Macbeth is presented as a mature man of definitely established character, successful in certain fields ofactivity and enjoying an enviable reputation. We must notconclude, there, that all his volitions and actions arepredictable; Macbeth's character, like any other man's at agiven moment, is what is being made out of potentialitiesplus environment, and no one, not even Macbeth himself, canknow all his inordinate self-love whose actions arediscovered to be-and no doubt have been for a long time-determined mainly by an inordinate desire for some temporalor mutable good. Macbeth is actuated in his conduct mainly by aninordinate desire for worldly honors; his delight liesprimarily in buying golden opinions from all sorts of people.But we must not, therefore, deny him an entirely humancomplexity of motives. For example, his fighting in Duncan'sservice is magnificent and courageous, and his evident joy init is traceable in art to the natural pleasure whichaccompanies the explosive expenditure of prodigious physicalenergy and the euphoria which follows. He also rejoices nodoubt in the success which crowns his efforts in battle - andso on. He may even conceived of the proper motive whichshould energize back of his great deed: The service and the loyalty I owe, In doing it, pays itself.But while he destroys the king's enemies, such motives workbut dimly at best and are obscured in his consciousness bymore vigorous urges. In the main, as we have said, his natureviolently demands rewards: he fights valiantly in order thathe may be reported in such terms a "valour's minion" and"Bellona's bridegroom"' he values success because it bringsspectacular fame and new titles and royal favor heaped uponhim in public. Now so long as these mutable goods are at allcommensurate with his inordinate desires - and such is thecase, up until he covets the kingship - Macbeth remains anhonorable gentleman. He is not a criminal; he has no criminaltendencies. But once permit his self-love to demand asatisfaction which cannot be honorably attained, and he islikely to grasp any dishonorable means to that end which maybe safely employed. In other words, Macbeth has much ofnatural good in him unimpaired; environment has conspiredwith his nature to make him upright in all his dealings withthose about him. But moral goodness in him is undeveloped andindeed still rudimentary, for his voluntary acts are scarcelybrought into harmony with ultimate end. As he returns from victorious battle, puffed up withself-love which demands ever-increasing recognition of hisgreatness, the demonic forces of evil-symbolized by the WeirdSisters-suggest to his inordinate imagination the splendidprospect of attaining now the greatest mutable good he hasever desired.

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