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Macbeth: Protagonist Becoming Evil
|Term Paper Title
||Macbeth: Protagonist Becoming Evil
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Macbeth: Protagonist Becoming Evil
The story Macbeth is like no other in plot and poetry. It sets itself apart
from the rest by having a protagonist becoming evil. What makes Macbeth such a
complicated character is the way his outlook keeps on changing throughout the
play. This essay will prove that Macbeth is an evil man and was not overpowered
by ambition to get what he wanted. This essay will also determine that certain
characters like the witches did not force him to do evil; they simply triggered
In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is shown as a hero in the Scottish army,
that is ironic because Macbeth has defeated a traitor and he will become one.
We feel that a person of his loyalty could never commit evil unless he had a
good reason or if he would be provoked. After Macbeth's first meeting with the
witches, we learn from his aside that he has thought about killing Duncan " My
thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical" 1(Macbeth 1.3.152). Macbeth also
says " If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me Without my stir."
2(Macbeth 1.4.157-159) which means that maybe he does not have to murder the
king to gain that title. Luck has been very generous to him and might continue
and make him king.
Macbeth's true evil thoughts about being king are first shown when he finds out
that king Duncan has named his son Malcolm as Prince of Cumberland. He now
shows his evil and his true feelings.
" Stars, hide your fires; Let not night see my black and
deep desires. The eye wink at the hand; yet let that
be Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see." 3
Macbeth is actually seeking help from the dark and supernatural. Macbeth is
saying that he does not want to see the evil that he will commit until it is
done. It is now known that Macbeth is capable of evil and would commit it.
Upon meeting Lady Macbeth, we can assume that any evil done by Macbeth would be
contributed by her influence. Lady Macbeth is a very powerful women and she has
a-lot of power over Macbeth's decisions. After Lady Macbeth reads the letter
from Macbeth, she says that he is in fact too noble to kill Duncan in cold blood
but he would like to.
" It is too full o'th'milk of human kindness To catch
the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great, Art not
without ambition, but without The illness should
attend it. What thou wouldst highly, That wouldst
thou holily; wouldst not play false And yet wouldst
wrongly win." 4(Macbeth 1.5.17-23)
Lady Macbeth also talks about Macbeth's ambition and how he is not the kind of
person to let anything stand in his way if he wants it enough. Knowing there is
evil in him, once he starts with the murder he will not let anything else stand
in his way.
Macbeth's guilt is recognized after the killing of the king; in fact he is
filled with so much of it that he is unable to pronounce the word AMEN.
Macbeth shows once again his guilt when he says "Will all great Neptune's ocean
wash this blood Clean from my hands?" 5(Macbeth 2.2.78-79). At this point, we
can assume that Macbeth is in fact not an evil man instead one who was overcome
with the idea of great achievement (his becoming king of Scotland). His
attitude is shown to have been changed as he tries to put the blame of the
murder on Duncan's children. "We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed In
England and in Ireland." 6(Macbeth 3.1.33-34) This shows the reader that
Macbeth is trying to cover up his cruel actions by laying the blame on someone
else. Macbeth is trying to hide the evil that he has committed.
Macbeth's evil is now progressing. The assumption that Macbeth's wife was the
reason for the evil deed that was committed can now be no longer since he is now
planning things without her knowledge. Leary put it best when he said "Macbeth
makes the de...
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