William Shakespeare's Macbeth Not only is Macbeth the main character in William Shakespeare's
Macbeth, but he is also one in the history of Scotland. Macbeth is
certainly not the only play with historical themes that is full of
inventions. Macbeth represents a human of ambition, guilt and most of
all, different degrees of loyalty as he takes on different roles.
Despite his deficiencies of proper values and "vaulting ambition,"
Macbeth is a character who seems infinitely real to audience members.
Shakespeare's version uses several similar characteristics and events
that the real Macbeth experienced. However, there are quite a few
modifications to the character of Macbeth and the incidents he
encounters. Shakespeare tends to choose what parts of history he
prefers, and alters them to create his edition of Macbeth as a family
member, a subject to the king, a king, a friend and as a person. By
changing and/or keeping parts of history, Macbeth's character becomes
an interesting one to analyse. Macbeth is a basically good man who is
troubled by his conscience and loyalty though at the same time
ambitious and murderous.
The Macbeth of Scottish history shares the same commitment to family
members, as does the Shakespeare's adaptation of the character.
History states that Macbeth's father Findlaech was killed by his
nephew, Gillacomgain. It is believed that Gillacomgain and fifty other
people were burned to death in retribution for the murder of
Findlaech, probably by Macbeth and other allies (Ed Friedlander, M.D,
www.pathguy.com/macbeth.htm). This loyalty shown towards his father is
adopted in Shakespeare's version of Macbeth. By conforming to Lady
Macbeth's twisted values of what a man should be Macbeth shares his
degree of obedience and love as a husband. He "dare do all that may
become a manâ€¦" (I, 7 line 47) in order to sustain the relationship he
holds with his family members. However loyal he may be, his character
is seen as one who will go to any extent to maintain a bond shared
with a relative; that is commit murderous acts.
In both history and Shakespeare's play, Macbeth acts as a subject to
Kind Duncan. The beginning of Shakespeare's play suggests that Macbeth
is a devoted individual and he would never deceive the king. However,
the play progresses to inform the viewer (or reader) that Macbeth is
told, and he obligingly measures up, to "look like the innocent
flower/ But be the serpent under't." (I, 5 lines 63 - 64). So
Shakespeare uses the loyalty that Macbeth has as a family member to
create a deceptive personality to the king. History's Macbeth shares
this same deceptiveness to the king with a Norseman, Thorfinn of
Orkney (www.pathguy.com/macbeth.htm). Thorfinn and Macbeth killed
Duncan I and ruled...