Macbeth Character Analysis Essay

Better Essays
In Shakespeare’s tragic play Macbeth, Shakespeare creates the ruthless character Macbeth, who is willing to go beyond any measure in order to attain the power of being king, including murder, deceit, betrayal and overpowering the chain of being. Macbeth was first tempted by the idea of kingship when three witches presented him with their portent of Macbeth becoming the next King of Scotland. Ebullient, Macbeth, immediately informed his wife of the news and they both pondered the thought of having the power to rule all of Scotland. Lady Macbeth, a power seeker herself, promptly schemed a plan to kill King Duncan in order for her and her husband to rule, displaying her ready ambition for power. Macbeth’s thirst for power ate away at his conscience…show more content…
Lady Macbeth is the first to strategize a way to kill Duncan. As a character foil to Macbeth she juxtaposes their possession of guilt and ruthlessness, which creates irony and excitement to the play. Originally, she is very power hungry and wants to utilize her husband’s position in status to become queen. Macbeth objects to the plan to kill Duncan because he believes Duncan is Macbeth’s kinsman, host, and an overall virtuous ruler (Act. 1 Scene. 7) and thus feels very guilty for taking advantage of Duncan’s trusting quality towards the Macbeth family. She refers to Macbeth as weak and rebukes his manhood (Act 1. Scene 7.) . As the play progresses, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have a character role reversal of their possession of guilt and ruthlessness. The character foil is extant, however Macbeth’s ruthlessness overcomes his guilt, and Lady Macbeth’s guilt vanquishes her drive for power. In addition to an alteration in character foils, Shakespeare introduces situational irony because now Lady Macbeth succumbs to the weakness Macbeth once possessed and Macbeth is the one who is formidable and ambitious. Macbeth’s ability to transcend his guilt exemplifies his struggle for power and reinforces the theme of evil ambition because Macbeth is able to secure the throne and power only by mass…show more content…
Shakespeare is able to emphasize and enhance his meaning of work by alluding to the commonly known biblical and mythical figures such as Hecate, Beelzebub, Pontius Pilate and Neptune. Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft and wizardry. She is the “mistress of their [the witches] charms” (Act. 3 Scene. 5) and tells Macbeth his prophecy is to fear Macduff. Consequently, Macbeth orders his men to kill Macduff’s family, an additional example of Macbeth ruthlessly killing to further and augment his power. Hecate is the face of the witches and thus their leader in casting spells and controlling fate. When Macbeth tries to ruin the prophesies by trying to kill Banquo’s son, he is trying to overpower magic the witches posses in order to increase his power. Macbeth even returns to the witches a second time desperately seeking reassurance from the forces of evil that his fate is to remain king, but also displays a consciousness of guilt because he needs confirmation that what he has done is ordained thereby justifying his evil acts. Another allusion in Macbeth is Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. When the porter of Macbeth’s castle hears a knock at the door he yells, “Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there, i’ the name of Beelzebub” (Act. 2 Scene. 3). The allusion to the devil reveals that the porter is like a slave to a man who is
Get Access