Angel Lopez

Period Two
December 17, 2003
Macbeth Essay Prompt #3
In Shakespeare’s tragic play, Macbeth, the audience experiences the
development of the protagonist’s personality as the plot unfolds, and sees
how these important events have changed him. Throughout the play,
Shakespeare reveals several stages of the main character’s transformation,
and shows how each experience has revealed a different light of the
protagonist, Macbeth.

Macbeth was first introduced as a valiant and honorable war hero. In
the opening of the play it is apparent that King Duncan trusts Macbeth,
initially giving credit to Macbeth in the reader’s minds. Shakespeare
portrayed Macbeth as a respectable character by naming him Thane of Glamis,
and after the successful war scene, he seemed worthy of a promoted
title. . “What was lost, noble Macbeth hath won.” (Act I scene 2 line 102).

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Referring to the title ‘Thane of Cawdor,’ this promotion plants the seed
of greed in Macbeth’s mind. He instantly hungers for a better name. This
is where his integrity is discredited, and this event marks the beginning
of the development of Macbeth’s evil side.

The transition from good to evil is apparent in Act II scene 1, just
before the climax of the play, when Macbeth is hesitant to kill Duncan. He
hallucinates a bloody dagger before him, and feels guilty before he has
even committed the crime. He knows it isn’t real; instead it is the last
time his purity attempts to shine through his shameful acts. “Art thou but
a dagger of the mind, a false creation?” (Act II scene 1 lines 34-35)
Macbeth ignores this omen of regret, and continues on with his plan, with
the encouragement of his wife. This is his turning point, and he’ll spend
the rest of the time trying to cover for his malevolent actions.

Proceeding Duncan’s murder, Macbeth’s fear began to grow. He was
afraid of his title as King being stolen. After a prophecy supplied by
three witches, Macbeth began to worry about Banquo and his sons. They were
told that Banquo would “beget sons,” so he decided to kill him and his
offspring. Banquo’s son, Fleance, fled just in time to escape his murder
but his father wasn’t as lucky. This flaw in his plans caused Macbeth to
become insecure and afraid of his downfall as King. This event led to a
killing spree that Macbeth committed in hopes of protecting his crown.

Consequentially, Macbeth’s character showed yet another development
of guilt and exposed his approaching insanity. Shame played heavily on his
conscience, and caused him to hallucinate many things that reminded him of
the bloodshed in his name. For example, in act III scene 4, a sign of
Macbeth’s madness takes place at a dinner banquet. Macbeth begins to “see”
Banquo’s ghost. The ghost haunts him and Macbeth begins to get paranoid
and yells. When Banquo’s ghost takes a seat, Macbeth tells him that the
table is full. His reaction exposes his insanity to the rest of the guests
as the dinner table. At this point, Macbeth can hardly differentiate real
life from these guilty images.

Due to the activities that have taken place thus far, Macbeth starts
to become desperate. He has lost his clear conscience, is in the process
of loosing his mind, and is in fear of loosing his throne. Macbeth turns
to the witches for another prophecy. The third apparition revealed
“Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until Burnam Wood… shall come against
him.” (Act IV scene 1 line 120-121). This served to ease Macbeth’s mind
temporarily, because he did not think it was possible for the woods to come
to him. Of course, this statement was misleading, because in actuality,
and army will come to kill him, disguised in branches and leaves.

Finally, the last stage of Macbeth’s personality is developed into a
sad and hopeless character. Towards the closing of the play, Macbeth is
obviously in fear for his life. He wears a mask of faux courageousness,
and exclaims, “I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked.” (Act V
scene 3, lines 50-51). But when a messenger tells him that he saw the wood
move, Macbeth didn’t want to believe it because he was too scared. Instead
he chose to be in denial and call him a “liar and a slave!” (Act V scene 5,
line 23).

All of these important events led to many changes and developments of
Macbeth’s character. Eventually, his evil and cowardice sides consumed him
and ultimately sparked his downfall and death. Due to the series of lies,
deceit and murders, Macbeth paid his final dues when he was beheaded by
Macduff, and lost the war he brought upon himself.

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