Opinion of Macbeth in Act 3

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Opinion of Macbeth in Act 3

Shakespeare's Macbeth is the story of a good man turned evil by a dark

ambition he cannot control…

Macbeth is tragic hero whose character can be viewed from different

prospectuses. It is wrong to categorise him as either a tormented man

or a callous tyrant because in the play he is displayed as both. We

see him digress from, at the beginning of the play a courageous man

driven by ambition to become a cruel and arbitrary man.

I am going to examine Shakespeare's portrayal of the downward spiral

of a man once called a "worthy gentleman" and now "fiendish hell


In Act 3 the murder of Duncan has already taken place. During this

murder Macbeth is apprehensive and is persuaded into it by Lady


Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'/ Like the poor cat I' th'


Macbeth needed no persuasion, however to decide to kill Banquo and

attempt to kill Fleance. He is worried that if the witches' prophecies

are true his dynasty will be short lived and he will be replaced by

Banquo's sons:

For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered,/ Put rancours in the

vessel of my peace/ Only for them, and mine eternal jewel/ Given to

the common enemy of man,/ To make them kings, the seed of Banquo


Here, although speaking sympathetically of Duncan he is already

planning his next murder and is not actually sorry for his actions.

The planning of Banquo and Fleance's murders are cruel and ironic. It

almost seems he is taking delight in speaking about Duncan's supposed

murderers, Malcolm and Donalbain, knowing that he is the real killer:

Our bloody cousins are bestowed/ In ...

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...suffering country/ Under a hand accursed"

Many are now more suspicious of Macbeth than of Malcolm and Donalbain

for the murder of Duncan. Macbeth may be in danger although he will

not believe it.

Macbeth's downfall is himself, he becomes hubristical, thinking he can

defy fate. He becomes brutal and but is tormented by his actions.

Macbeth is caught up in a vicious circle he cannot control, he murders

Duncan and to stop himself feeling guilty for that murder he starts to

plan the next but that leaves him feeling guilty and so the cycle goes


Macbeth is tormented by his strong sub conscience that cause his

hallucinations and 'terrible dreams'.

On the one hand readers can almost feel sorry for the tormented

Macbeth but then his callous, calculating side is revealed and it is

hard to believe he is human.
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