Macbeth's Corruption

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Throughout The Tragedy of Macbeth, we see Macbeth change from a noble and brave soldier into a mere shadow of his former self. We meet Macbeth after a battle, the result of which has him named Thane of Cawdor. From this position, he falls to a paranoid man willing to do anything to remain in power. We can see his deterioration from the murders of Duncan and Banquo, Macbeth's second meeting with the witches, his treatment of Macduff's castle and his mental condition just before he is murdered. In the beginning, Macbeth is a strong, brave and noble soldier. He is considered brave by all the people he was fighting around. When the captain is relaying the events of the battle, we find him saying to the king "For brave Macbeth- well he deserves that name" (1.2.16). As a result of Macbeth's actions on the battlefield, Duncan names him Thane of Cawdor in Act one Scene two. From this, we can see that Macbeth is a good soldier. He has no intention of doing anything other than serving the king. Following the meeting with the witches, Macbeth begins to think about killing Duncan and taking the throne by force. Macbeth becomes concerned with the witches prophesies and wants to learn more, as we can see from what he says after they leave, "Would they have stayed!" (1.3.82). After this, he begins thinking about his desire to be king. We can see that he is thinking about murdering Duncan from his soliloquy, "Stars, hide your fires, /Let not light see my black and deep desires;" (1.5.50-51). Macbeth has begun his path to corruption. After murdering Duncan, Macbeth feels that he needs to kill Banquo. He is afraid that Banquo is going to be a problem for him. He is suspicious that Banquo believes Macbeth had something to do with Duncan's murder, "Our fears in Banquo/ Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature/ Reigns that which would be feared" (3.1.47-49). He plans to kill him, though Banquo has made no direct threat against Macbeth. He speaks of feeling inferior to Banquo, even though he is king. "There is none but he/ Whose being I do fear; and under him/ My genius is rebuked" (3.1.53-55). Banquo is Macbeth's closest friend, he is starting to lose trust in everyone around him. Following this murder, Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost at the banquet. He is filled with feelings of regret and, as a result of his troubled mind, sees Banquo's ghost.

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