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William Shakespeares Macbeth Essay Research Paper To

To Know My Deed, ?Twere Best Not Know Myself? How was it possible for

such an admirable and noble man, so established in society, to fall so greatly

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into a dilemma, full of murderous plots and deceit? In William Shakespeare?s

Macbeth, the idea of one character becoming both victim and villain is

introduced. Macbeth falls prey to others? deception, and is supplanted with

greed and hate when he is tricked by three witches. When told that he is going

to be King of Scotland, Macbeth does whatever he can to ensure his prophecy. In

Macbeth?s quest for power, he gains a flaw that ends in a deteriorated

relationship with Lady Macbeth, and his eventual defeat. ?All hail, Macbeth,

that shalt be King hereafter!? (I.iii.50) The three witches, with their

prophetic greeting? (I.iii.78) gear Macbeth?s drive for power. They

embody the supernatural element of this tragedy. With their imperfect

predictions, they play on Macbeth?s security and nourish the seed of his

tragic flaw, which flourishes in their manipulative prophecies and drives him

into becoming the King of Scotland. But the Scottish aristocracy comprises of

King Duncan, his two princes Malcolm and Donalbain, and various other thanes and

nobles, including Macbeth?s friend, Banquo. His desire for position on the

throne overrides his respect for the King and his own dignity, leading Macbeth

to slaughter him, and murder all those who serve as obstacles in his treacherous

pursuit of the throne. ?Yet I do fear thy nature. It is too full o? the milk

of human kindness to catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great; art not

without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.? (I.v.16-20) In

the beginning, Lady Macbeth has a kind of power over Macbeth that she can only

achieve through his devotion to her. She adds to his false sense of security,

and Macbeth confides in her and lets her persuade him. As the murderous plots

drag on, he loses his will to speak in confidence to her. As with Banquo,

Macbeth no longer looks to him as an ally, but rather a hurdle that he must

defeat in order to fulfill the divination that the witches have cast. Banquo is

near enough to draw blood, and like a menacing swordsman, his mere presence

threatens Macbeth?s existence (III.i.115-117). Macbeth is not sufficiently

cultivated in good or evil to gather poise for all occasions; thus he

experiences difficulty in sleeping, he uses rhetoric inadequately in the

presence of others when disturbed, and even resorts to improbability. ?That

tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but

only vaulting ambition, which o?erleaps itself and falls on the other??

(I.vii.25-28) Macbeth has a conscience that plagues him throughout the story,

prohibiting him from forgetting all he knows that is right. But again, the words

of his wife, Lady Macbeth, supplied with the warped foresights of the three

witches, impels him to stay devoted to his utterly selfish ends. Macbeth?s

fall from grace into sheer misery is truly tragic in it?s nature. Even his

soliloquies, notable for magniloquence and marked by voluptuous word-painting,

show more the stages of his corruption than its causes – the need for action to

cover his lack of poise in awaiting developments and the need to stifle the

moral imagination that enables him to foresee the consequences of his actions.

Macbeth was simply a weak soul that had been unfairly hoaxed.


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