Macbeth As A Villain In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play that deals with the consequences of a man relinquishing his morals in order to achieve his ambitions. A thane, Macbeth, murders his king in hopes of becoming king himself. From this point on Macbeth is plagued with a variety of difficulties in response to his decision to murder King Duncan. However, Macbeth is often portrayed as being a victim to his circumstances. His wife, or the witches who foresee him becoming king often take the blame for being the catalyst of Macbeth’s troubles and therefore are often portrayed as villainous. Macbeth himself is the villain of the play as he gives up his morals in order to fulfill his ambitions, thus enabling him to act un-ethically and assume a villainous role,…show more content…
Upon hearing the witches’ prophecy Macbeth does not immediately step into his role as the villain. He states that he will wait and see saying, “if chance will have [him] king, why (then) chance may crown [him] without [his] stir” (1.3. 143-144). However, he later asks that “stars, hide [their] fires, let not light see [his] black and deep desires” (1.4. 50-51). While it is clear that Macbeth would like to avoid doing anything harmful, he deeply desires to become king and is willing to commit un-ethical acts, such as murder, to achieve this goal. This is further confirmed when he is convinced by Lady Macbeth to kill Duncan. The witches did not say that he needed to murder Duncan to become king, and so presumably he would have been able to ascend the throne one day, however he was unable to wait and did usurp Duncan. He does protest the suggestion a few times arguing both with himself and Lady Macbeth against the idea, but ultimately he succumbs and kills Duncan. This is Macbeth’s first villainous act of the play and it shows Macbeth relinquishing his morals in order to fulfill his ambitions. Macbeth struggles with his morals throughout the scene, referring to the murder as a “terrible feat” (1.7. 80) or saying that he will not continue with their plans (1.7. 32). Despite these statements Macbeth acts immorally and does kill Duncan. Macbeth acts as a villain in…show more content…
The very nature of Banquo’s death makes Macbeth seem deeply nefarious. He decides to kill Banquo on his own without consulting anyone or being coaxed into it by Lady Macbeth as with Duncan. Additionally, his reasoning for killing Banquo is vague and questionable unlike with Duncan. The witches “hail’d [Banquo] father to a line of kings… [whilst on his] head they plac’d a fruitless crown” (3.1. 61-2). Banquo will pose a threat to Macbeth one day, but he is in no way an immediate problem. Macbeth killing Banquo is a calculated move by a villainous character as he arranges the death of a friend without consultation for a problem that likely could have been handled in the future. This is Macbeth’s first solitary villainous act made without the promise of any immediate gain. However, after Macbeth knows that Banquo has been murdered at his command he still cannot enjoy being king and begins seeing Banquo’s ghost. Macbeth continually makes a fool of himself in front of his peers by mentioning Banquo’s ghosts’ presence repeatedly and behaving abnormally. Lady Macbeth must then cover up for him saying that Macbeth “is often thus, and hath been from his youth” (3.4. 53-54), asking the men to “think of [his actions] … but as a thing of custom” (3.4. 97-98). This can be interpreted as Macbeth experiencing his morality and therefore feeling guilty about his crimes. His guilt physically manifests in the
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