Shakespeare's Macbeth - Innocent and Naive Macbeth

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Innocent and Naive Macbeth Innocence is a quality that few people take to their grave, although all are born with it. At some point in one's life, an event or circumstance removes that shield from both moral and legal guilt, whether in one's own eyes or in the eyes of another. In such a case, innocence is cast off, or innocence can be stolen. Both are true of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's tragic work Macbeth. The hero's innocence and naïveté make him vulnerable prey for those who feel completely at home in a subhuman realm of malice and disintegration - the witches and Lady Macbeth. Inevitably, Macbeth is eventually worn down enough to be pushed into this dark and evil abyss by his wife, Lady Macbeth, who leaps frantically in after him to join the witches where they are most at home. The robbery of Macbeth's innocence begins with allowing the witches to brainwash him with their predictions forcing him to step closer and closer to the edge of their dismal abyss. They take advantage of the surplus of ambition that had served him so well in his desire for victory over Macdonwald and use it to instill in him the need to be King. Still, desire is not enough for Macbeth and he is thus driven "to seek certainty as his one objective. He wants certainty from the witches . . . at whatever cost" (Campbell 228). Macbeth, however, is not completely lost yet; honour and justice remain in him, and although it takes him some time to fully consider the consequences of the witches' words on him, he rejects his horrible thoughts of murder and postpones all action: "If chance will have me king, why,chance may crown me, / Without my stir" (I. iii.143-144). For the time being, Macbeth's true essence is in control, that of loyalty and honour. However, Macbeth again undergoes a change of heart in scene four, at the announcement of Malcolm as the Prince of Cumberland and as successor to the throne of Scotland, the same throne upon which Macbeth had his eyes set upon. The effect of the King's proclamation on him can be seen through his reaction: The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step, On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap, 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 .
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