William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

1984 words - 8 pages

William Shakespeare's Macbeth

In William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, there is no doubt that the
“dead butcher and his fiend like queen” (V, 9, 36) are both
villainous; however they are villainous to varying degrees. We are
first exposed to both of their villainy when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
hear of the witch’s predictions, and their reaction is to murder
Duncan. Even though Macbeth is initially portrayed as being
courageous and honorable, he eventually becomes more villainous than
Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth appears very villainous to begin with,
because she encourages and provokes her husband to murder King
Duncan. However she has nothing to do with the murders that Macbeth
commits later on in the play: Macduff’s family, Banquo, and young
Seaward.

Upon hearing the three witch’s foretellings, “All hail Macbeth, hail
to thee, thane of Glamis. All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of
Cawdor. All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter.”(I, 3, 47)
Macbeth begins to contemplate the possibility of becoming king, and
even thinks about the possibility of murdering Duncan. “My thought,
whose murder is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man that
function is smother in summise and nothing is, but what is not.”(I, 3,
138) The villainy that Macbeth has already planned as a response to
the predictions of three supernatural beings shows his innate
villainy.

Similar to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth upon reading the letter that explains
the witch’s foretellings, and Macbeth’s appointment of thane of Cawdor
immediately begins to plot the murder of King Duncan. “All that
impedes thee from the golden round, which fate and metaphysical aid
doth seem to have thee crown withal.” (I, 5, 27) This immediate
reaction from both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, to the fate that the
witches foretell, and their immediate plans to murder Duncan show that
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were villainous from the start of the play.

The ambitions of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth lead to the death of King
Duncan. For the sake of Macbeth's ambition, he is willing to murder
his king, Duncan. Macbeth realizes that murdering his king is
perfidious and blasphemous because every king is set on throne by God;
he is driven by his undying aspiration to steal the throne and be
king: "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only
vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself and falls on th' other." (I,
4, 59) Lady Macbeth is also moved by her avarice to be alongside her
husband on the throne. She uses all her strength and intelligence for
evil purposes; this confident and arrogant authoritarian instills the
plan of the murder (of Duncan) to Macbeth: "We fail but screw your
courage to the sticking place and we'll not fail. When Duncan is
asleep."(I, 7, 60)

We see her as she analyses his virtues and...

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