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The Character Of Macbeth

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The character of Macbeth was a classic example of a tragic hero. Though many factors contributed to the degeneration of Macbeth, the one that stuck out most was his uncontrollable urge to attain and retain power. His over ambitious desire to acquire power was let loose by the witches, with their prophecies of Macbeth becoming the Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King of Scotland. At first Macbeth replied that such foreshadowing couldn't be taken seriously, because of the evil forces that lay behind them. However, when Macbeth was declared Thane of Cawdor, almost immediately after the witches' prophecies, he had private thoughts and ambitions that he could become King of Scotland. In an instant the witches had let loose Macbeth's over ambitious nature for imperial power. (An aside in I.iii.127-130 is a perfect example)
Now that Macbeth's uncontrollable desire to become king had surfaced, he became solely focused on obtaining this goal. This included the murder of King Duncan. Lady Macbeth, wanting to be queen of Scotland, provided her husband with a plan to assassinate King Duncan. At first Macbeth hesitated to murder Duncan. He was afraid of the aftereffects and didn't deem it right to kill a king who was just and of such high stature. Unfortunately for Duncan, Macbeth's ambitions slowly overpowered his morals and loyalty. Even though Macbeth was uncertain, his ambition for power was able to take over his mind, and provided him with a sufficient excuse to murder King Duncan.
Macbeth had now achieved his goal, being the King of Scotland. His urges should have diminished, but they didn't. Macbeth was now dead set on retaining his new power. He became paranoid and feared Banquo, whose integrity and loyalty could allow him to avenge Duncan's death. Even though Banquo thought it was quite odd that Macbeth quickly acquired the titles the witches hailed him, he did not think Macbeth was capable of murdering Duncan. However, what really was bothering Macbeth was Banquo's sons were prophesied to inherit the throne. Macbeth would do whatever he could to prevent anyone, even after his death, from taking the throne. Macbeth wasn't just satisfied with being king; he wanted to have his descendants share the title as well. Acting on these passions, Macbeth hired two assassins and tried to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. Even though Fleance escaped, the murder of Banquo calmed Macbeth's nerves because he was safe from being charged with the murder of King Duncan.
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