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Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Updated August 24, 2022

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Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth essay

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In Ducan’s Reign Macbeth was a noble and highly respected figure in King Duncan’s reign. He lived a brave and honest life, serving the King and his country against evil. The Tragedy of Macbeth occurred when the weird sisters met Macbeth for the first time. An evil mind took over Macbeth, and he was doomed to the witches prophesies until his death. Macbeth was a General of the King’s army, and served the King with honor and dignity. After success in the battle against the Thane of Cawdor, which was Macbeth’s final serving for King Duncan, Banquo and he met with the King. Banquo was commended, and “To make thee full of growing.- Noble Banquo” (Act 1 Scene 4); but Macbeth was given all the credit, and titled “My worthy Cawdor!” (Act 1 Scene 4), Thane of Cawdor for his service. It was during this scene, where Duncan announced Malcom as his future successor, that Macbeth’s thoughts became evil obsessions. A power was taking over him, his own flaw from evil, brought about by the weird sisters. “Stars, hide your fires, Let not the light see my black and deep desires.” (Act 1 Scene 4). Macbeth’s flaw is highly influenced by his wife, Lady Macbeth, who has wicked thoughts, and persuades Macbeth into many actions he would not normally do. “Only look up clear: To alter favour ever is to fear.

Leave all the rest to me” (Act 1 Scene 5) shows her strength over Macbeth. As Macbeth prepares to kill Duncan, he hallucinates, and many thoughts cross his mind, but when the bell sounds, “Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to hell.” (Act 2 Scene 2) and Macbeth acts promptly. After the murder Macbeth regrets his actions, but again Lady Macbeth is influential toward him, reminding his that “These deeds must not be thought After these ways; so, it will make us mad.” (Act 2 Scene 2). Macbeth’s true self again break through when he has false thoughts about his actions. “Had I but died an hour before this chance I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant, There’s nothing serious in mortality.

All is but toys; renown and grace is dead, The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of.” (Act 2 Scene 4). All the confusion surrounding Macbeth has prompted him to make some errors. He did not place the daggers on the guards after the murders, and then before anybody was able to talk to the intoxicated guards, he killed them. Suspicions arose around Macbeth, and even his closest friends fears the worst. A flaw in Macbeth’s character is how he is easily led astray. The main influential party in this is the weird sisters. “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” (Act 1 Scene 3) says Macbeth after he won the battle, but met the witches (fair and foul). Banquo realises there is evil occurring when Ross delivers the message that Macbeth is to be Thane of Cawdor, and aside, Banquo says “What! Can the devil speak true?” (Act 1 Scene 3) referring to the witches’ prophecies. There are many thoughts that cross Macbeth’s mind during the story, some evil and some good. There are those who commit good, and those who are evil.

The evil ones have the greater power over Macbeth. They are the witches and Lady Macbeth. Whenever Macbeth is heading for disaster (ie from evil to good) Lady Macbeth draws attention to herself. She is an evil follower and is the driving force behind Macbeth’s actions, whereas the witches only lays a foundation for which Macbeth builds upon. When Duncan is in the castle, and Macbeth is questioning the plans for his murder, Lady Macbeth says “What beast was’t then That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man” (Act 1 Scene 7) showing a strong power over Macbeth, making him feel guilty for letting his wife down and weak.

Macbeth still doubts her, “If we should fail?” (Act 1 Scene 7) but again Lady Macbeth rescues his thoughts and destroys his conscience. Macbeth was a noble servant and gentleman, who was destroyed by four females – the weird sisters and Lady Macbeth. He had no control over his actions, was highly influenced by greed. The prophecies lay the foundation for evil, and Macbeth builds upon this until it was too late to retreat. Macbeth’s flaw was his inability to maintain the good aspect and reject the evil aspect within him, and the evil grew with the help of the ladies.

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Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. (2019, Mar 28). Retrieved from