Macbeth Term Paper Macbeth is a story that demonstrates profound change in human character in times when a strong belief becomes the focal point or reason for existence. In extreme cases, as in the story of Macbeth, he becomes so in tuned in his beliefs that he went through remarkable changes both mentally and spiritually.
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If th’assassination, could trammel up the consequence, and catch with his surcease success: that but this blow might be the be-all and the end-all, here, But here upon this bank and shoal of time, We’d jump the life to come” (act 1, scene 7). This quotation demonstrates Macbeth and his struggle with his new personality trait: greed. Macbeth’s greed begins to take over his train of thought early on, after his visit with the witches. After visiting with the withes he finds that he is going to be named King if he goes through with various acts. Instantly his worldview changes and he begins to go through changes.
Macbeth begins to loath the idea of doing anything other than capturing the thrown. This scene shows how Macbeth is contemplating the act of killing Dunkin (King of Scotland). As he explains in this quote, he realizes there are great consequences if he should be caught and he also believes that the benefits in his mind are very worthy as well, should he succeed in killing the king. This is a monumental change in his attitude or personality because before he was just a noble man, who happened to be legitimately respected. Undoubtedly Macbeth would never have considered killing King Dunkin before he saw visions of himself as king.
This is especially true due to the fact that Macbeth and King Dunkin have a courteous and well-known relationship as cousins (Bates, Alfred). Very little evidence would show Macbeth as a careless and murderous man. Greed and passion however lead him to contemplate murder. "Yields to that suggestion, Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, And make my seated heart knock at my ribs" (Act 1, scene 3, 133-135). Undeniably, at this point in the story, Macbeth is rapped up in greed and the power he yearns to grasp. This is the tipping point for Macbeth.
He knows that he will not be the same person should he go through with the act of killing King Dunkin however his urge to put himself in a better position is eating away at his conscience (Bates, Alfred). This is a good example of how Macbeth cannot control his desires when he describes his “heart knocking at his ribs”. He is indirectly holding his life above others as his conscience is telling him to take power over the thrown, in any way possible. This shows that not only the personality trait of greed is taking over, but also the traits of becoming egocentric and self-centered are coming out of Macbeth.
There is not a time in this part of Macbeth where he describes reasons for taking power other than the sheer fortunes that come with being king. In other words, Macbeth never states that he can do better as king than King Dunkin had done, rather he only wants to become the most powerful man in Scotland. Macbeth is in the middle of developing a self-centered personality trait because his thoughts do not consider anyone other than himself when he contemplates murder as a means to become king. Before Macbeth even thought of taking control he was a strong soldier who had the personal qualities to become king in a more natural way.
However, he proved to fall into the trap of questioning his own self-confidence. Macbeth was completely influenced by his wife Lady Macbeth. “The raven himself is hoarse, That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan, Under my battlements. Come, you spirits, That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood, Stop up th’access and passage to remorse” (Act 1, scene 5, lines 36–52). This quote from Lady Macbeth has tremendous importance. The quote shows how Lady Macbeth had her heart set on killing King Dunkin and how she was totally behind her husband in doing so.
Macbeth did not feel as though it was a good idea for a lot of reasons however his wife Lady Macbeth begins to make him feel like he is a coward. Lady Macbeth explained, in the quote above, how much ambition she had in favor of the act of killing King Dunkin. Within the quote Lady Macbeth calls Macbeth’s gender or man hood into question, which will cause Macbeth to alter his emotions and change his beliefs. She elucidates how she cannot commit the act of killing the King because of her nurturing and female genes however if she could change herself and be a man she would do so in order to kill Dunkin (Coriat, Isador).
The idea that Lady Macbeth would kill King Dunkin in order to take power, essentially transforms Macbeth and his personality in a whole new way. Macbeth could not let his wife threaten his strength as a man and this pressure from Lady Macbeth proves to push him over the top. After this Macbeth feels a new urgency to fulfill his desires along with his wife’s wishes. This passage illuminates how easily Macbeth changes his mind because of the pressure his wife has presented him. The original personality that Macbeth expressed before this passage is much different than the one seen after he meets with the witches.
Before we see a resilient militaristic man with a strong willed personality but after this point Macbeth seems to be greatly influenced by his wife (Coriat, Isador). This becomes a key point in his personality change because after this point he begins to totally become enwrapped in the insensitive decisions that appoint him king. Greed over comes all other traits and in turn makes him act upon his wishes. Macbeth experiences genuine and true personality changes when his actions lead him too far to cover up his act of killing King Dunkin. Banquo was Macbeth’s true best friend before he had gained power after killing King Dunkin.
They worked together under the king and they were often seen together in the beginning of the play. Banguo is even present when Macbeth received the prophecy from the witches. This proves to be the major problem that Macbeth recognizes after he fulfilled the prophecy. “We have, scorched the snake, not killed it. She’ll close and be herself whilst our poor malice, Remains in danger of her former tooth”(act 3, scene 2). This quote explains how Macbeth recognizes that Banquo is a major threat to him. Macbeth believed that Banquo would reveal his secret because Banquo had been an advocate for Dunkin before.
Banquo also knew that Macbeth had good reason to kill Dunkin after he heard the prophecy of the witches. This passage shows that Macbeth allows fear to influence his actions and take over his life. Macbeth had gone from having Banquo as a good friend to contemplating killing him because he knew too much about what he had done. The trait of fear truly started to take form is Macbeth’s life after this point since he began to always have to cover up his previous actions. Macbeth is no longer even remotely a good or a noble man after this point since he decided to kill his friend Macbeth.
After this point he becomes vastly self-centered and wrapped in his fears that control his life. “Macb: Both of you Know Banquo was your enemy. Murderers: True, my lord. Macb: So is he mine; and in such bloody distance that every minute of his being thrusts Against my near'st of life” (Act III, scene 1). Macbeth proves, within this conversation with the murderers, that he does not see Banquo as his friend anymore. He convinces the murderers that Banquo is their enemy along with his. Macbeth is very clear about his word use and how he feels about Banquo, which in turn shows how he has totally changed his mind about Banquo.
This is a worthy example of a personality change in Macbeth’s makeup. Macbeth has completely changed his feelings towards a very important person in his life with no feasible purpose or reason other than the reason that Banquo was a liability towards him and his goal of staying king. Lastly Macbeth states that the blood of Banquo is better off on the murderers rather than in Banquo. The passage clearly shows a changed man who, because of fear, makes major changes in his character and personality. Macbeth is becoming a man who does not care about who he hurts or what he does as long as he stays King.
This shows how he completely changed his makeup as he went from being thoughtful and careful to insensitive and irresponsible. Macbeth’s spinning relationship with Banquo is not the only time when he changes his feelings towards someone or a group of people. Throughout the play Macbeth has changing feelings towards the witches. In the begging of the play Macbeth has a great deal of trust in what the witches have told him through their prophecies. He goes as far as committing murderous acts because of the witches prophecies. Later on however, Macbeth begins to change his feelings towards the witches.
Macbeth begins to loose trust in them and develops a loathing emotion for the witches. His new feelings towards the witches develop after he committed the murders and realized that he had put himself in a dangerous situation (Lou Ching). Macbeth knows he must go back to find out the rest of his destiny. When he returns to the witches he demands them to tell him what will happen. In act 4 scenes 1-3 Macbeth meets with the witches and demands to see his fait. The witches show him three visions. The first vision is of a floating head, which was a symbol of Macduff.
After this the witches warned him of Macduff. The second vision was of a bloody child, which was a metaphor or symbol proclaiming that no man who was born of a woman would kill Macbeth. After these symbols the last and most important because he saw himself walking with eight kings who were all in the form of ghosts. Once Macbeth had seen this he knew something was wrong however the witches would not explain it. Macbeth becomes very angry with the witches and begins to worry about his future. Macbeth exclaimed “Infected be the air whereon they ride, And damned all those that trust them! ” (Act 4, scene 1).
The quote shows how Macbeth has become enraged with the witches because he believed that they had been toying with him. The witches made Macbeth feel very uneasy after this point because he was still unsure about his future. Unlike the beginning of the play, Macbeth clearly looses trust in the witches as they left Macbeth with no clear sense about where his fait would rest. This shows how Macbeth had gone from a person who had trust in people to a man who could trust no one. This personality trait of never keeping faith in himself or anyone around him is a trait that continually comes up throughout the play.
Macbeth had become a vicious and insensitive King. Murderous acts require a man who is unstable. Killing an innocent person to obtain benefits demonstrations a self-centered inhumane characteristic. By the time the murders of Banquo and King Dunkin had been committed Macbeth had completely turned into a new man. In no possible way was the Macbeth who did not kill anyone, in the beginning of the play, the same man as the Macbeth who murdered two close friends (Wykes, Walter). Macbeth was a murderer, which became a personality trait in that he no longer feared murdering a man.
Macbeth continued to have murderous thoughts as he told the witches that he would murder Macduff if he needed to. Murder became a way of life or a means to live for Macbeth, which proved to be his most significant characteristic throughout the play. Often tremendous traumas will change a person, usually in a negative way. Murdering someone is a trauma that puts great amounts of guilt as well as other conscious thoughts in ones head. Throughout the play Macbeth becomes a totally new person because of the stresses that a murderous act puts on a man (Ross, Julia).
Murderous actions and hard to deal with ordeals also change Macbeth and his ways of suppressing bad memories. Macbeth clearly accepts the idea that he has become a murder especially after he commits the second murder. This is a monumental change in his personality because the idea that Macbeth is completely accepting of the idea that killing someone is tolerable, is without a doubt, an insane thought (Wykes, Walter). “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well, It were done quickly”(act 1, scene 7). This quote comes from the time before Macbeth killed King Dunkin.
It shows how he is explaining the importance to get over the murder quickly. Macbeth shows how his conscious is very weak and how the act of the murder will not bother him because he will make sure to get over it quickly (John Boe). It is clear that the witches become a main focus for Macbeth and the trust he has in remaining king. The built up of insecurities and fear inside of Macbeth however create a new personality trait in order to contemplate the idea of trusting the witches. Rash impulses and hasty thoughts allow Macbeth to trust the witches.
If Macbeth had a clear mind and realized the right thing to do would be to ignore the witches and their prophecy, Macbeth would have never even contemplated the idea of killing Dunkin with his wife. Greed and impulsive decisions take total control over Macbeth and in turn make him do things that he would not have normally done. The witches clearly are the source for Macbeth’s decisions and because of this he does not trust his own thoughts rather he trusts the visions of the witches (Lou Ching). Macbeth is a proven story of a man with many psychological problems, which truly come out of him because he sees and opportunity to be King.
Macbeth shows a side of him, which he may not have even known about, however under the immense pressure of the act of murder his personality and human characteristics change. The people around him become mere objects he moves like chess pieces within his selfish efforts to remain in power, because of his dominate personality trait of greed. Murderous acts become second nature actions for Macbeth, which is a proven example of how he had become insane and developed new personality traits. Bates, Alfred. "Macbeth. " TheatreHistory. com. London: Historical Publishing Company. Web. 6 Apr. 2012. ;lt;http://www. theatrehistory. com/british/macbeth001. html;gt;. Boe, John. "John Boe, The Tragedy of Macbeth: Character Studies | Open Shakespeare. " Open Shakespeare. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. ;lt;http://openshakespeare. org/2011/03/22/john-boe-the-tragedy-of-macbeth-character-studies;gt;. "Character of Life in Macbeth. " The Mother's Service Society. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www. motherservice. org/content/character-life-macbeth>. Chou, Lou Ching. "Witches in Macbeth. " Web Hosting Provider. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www. mseg. info/ib/essays/witches. tm>. Coriat, Isador H. "The Hysteria of Lady Macbeth - An Analysis of the Sleepwalking Scene. " Shakespeare Online. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www. shakespeare-online. com/plays/macbeth/macbethsleepwalking. html>. Ross, Julia. "TuftsRoss. " Meredith College : Raleigh, NC. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www. meredith. edu/english/walton/TuftsRoss. htm>. Wykes, Walter. "The Personality of Murder in Shakespeare's Macbeth. "Http://ezinearticles. com/. 30 Aug. 2007. Web. <http://EzineArticles. com/? expert=Walter_Wykes Article Source: http://EzineArticles
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