Character Changes in Macbeth

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This famous tragedy of William Shakespeare is about Macbeth, Lord of Glamis, who heeding the predictions of three witches, plots along with his wife to kill Duncan, King of Scotland. After Duncan's murder, Macduff, Lord of Fife and the sons of Duncan, Malcolm and Donalbain flee the country.


He kills his friend Banquo, his wife and son fearing that Banquo's son would one day be king. He thirsts for the blood of Macduff and Duncan's sons. He literally wades through blood until his inevitable fall in the hands of Macduff. The play opens with Macbeth's victory and ends with his defeat, death and dishonor.
Our initial impression of Macbeth is of a brave and capable warrior- basically a good man with loyalty to the king. Even the king addresses him as 'brave...worthy gentleman" to whom Macbeth pledges loyalty "by doing every thing. Safe toward your love and honor"(1.4.29-30). Three Witches set Macbeth upon his murderous path. They tell Macbeth that he will be Lord of Cawdor and later the King. Banquo, his friend, realizes that there must be a trick hidden in the witches' prophecies somewhere but Macbeth refuses to accept this because their prediction that he will be king brings him joy. Three attributes-bravery, ambition, and self-doubt-become the main weaknesses of Macbeth. His ambition makes murder itself seem to be less evil than failure to achieve the crown. From a position of fear, doubt and distrust he turns a despot. Before he kills Duncan, Macbeth is hesitant and decides to stop the crime. It takes Lady Macbeth's strong sense of purpose to push him into the deed. Lacking strength of character, he repeatedly draws strength from his wife as she is easily able to influence him. . ...
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