Macbeth: The True Nature of Man

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In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the author tries to show the true nature of man by using the play’s main character, Macbeth, as an example. He is overly ambitious, courageous, and self-doubting. Throughout the play, Shakespeare displays these characteristics to the audience through Macbeth to show the true nature of man. At the end of the play, these characteristics ultimately lead to Macbeth’s downfall. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is described as being “valiant”. He is a skilled warrior, who is loyal to his king and his country. Almost single-handedly, he wins the war for Scotland. He defeats many of the enemy soldiers, including a traitor, all in the name of his king. But, when three witches encounter Macbeth and his friend Banquo, Macbeth’s ambition begins to grow. They tell Macbeth that he will be Thane of Cawdor and King. Soon after, Macbeth meets with King Duncan. He informs Macbeth that he is the new Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth is astonished, and from then on he is obsessed with being king. His ambition begins to become ruthless when Duncan proclaims that his son Malcolm is the Prince of Cumberland, and therefore, the heir to the throne: “The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step/On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, /For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;/Let not light see my black and deep desires:/The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be/Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.” (I,iv,48-53) At this moment, Macbeth, realizing that they stand in the way of the witches’ prophecies, decides that both Duncan and Malcolm need to die for him to be king. As soon as Macbeth kills Duncan, he enters into a world of evil. Later in the play, Macbeth’s ambition becomes increasingly ruthless. He kills his best friend Banquo, and almost kills Banquo’s son, Fleance, because he believes they would stand in the way of his reign. The witches told Banquo “Thou shall get kings, though thou be none.” (I,iii,67) This means that Banquo himself would not be a king, but that his successors would be. Macbeth tries to prevent this by killing Banquo and his son Fleance. Even though Macbeth can be called a tyrant and a murderer, he is nonetheless, very courageous. In the beginning of the play, he fights very bravely for his king and country.

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