Analysis of the Character of Macbeth in Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Character Analysis of Macbeth
Macbeth is the tragic hero of William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth.” The play tells the story of a Scottish nobleman who, upon receiving a prophecy from three witches that he will become king, becomes consumed with ambition and ultimately meets his downfall. Macbeth’s character is complex and multi-faceted, exhibiting a range of emotions, motives, and flaws. Here, we will explore the character of Macbeth in depth, analyzing his actions, motivations, and development throughout the play.
Macbeth is first introduced as a brave and loyal warrior, highly respected by his peers and king. He has just defeated the traitorous Thane of Cawdor and is praised by King Duncan for his valor on the battlefield. However, despite his initial positive traits, Macbeth is immediately shown to be susceptible to the influence of others, particularly his wife, Lady Macbeth. When he receives the prophecy from the witches that he will become king, he is hesitant and doubtful, but Lady Macbeth is determined to make the prophecy a reality. She urges Macbeth to murder King Duncan and seize the throne, appealing to his ambition and masculinity. Macbeth ultimately succumbs to her persuasion and commits regicide, setting in motion a chain of events that leads to his downfall.
After Duncan’s murder, Macbeth becomes increasingly paranoid and guilt-ridden. He is haunted by visions of the murdered king and fears that his own subjects will turn against him. He becomes ruthless and violent, ordering the deaths of anyone he perceives as a threat to his rule, including his former friend Banquo and his family. He becomes isolated and mistrustful, unable to confide in anyone and consumed with fear and suspicion.
Macbeth’s descent into madness and tyranny is driven by his own ambition and insecurity, as well as the influence of others. He is a complex character, capable of both great courage and great cruelty. He is haunted by his own guilt and driven to ever more extreme measures in an attempt to maintain his grip on power. At the same time, he is deeply human, struggling with doubt and uncertainty and ultimately undone by his own flaws.
One of the most interesting aspects of Macbeth’s character is his relationship with Lady Macbeth. While she is often portrayed as the driving force behind his actions, it is clear that Macbeth is a willing participant in his own downfall. He is susceptible to her persuasion and ambition, but he is also deeply in love with her and seeks to please her. Their relationship is complex and multi-layered, with both characters influencing and manipulating each other in different ways.
Lady Macbeth’s ambition and ruthlessness are matched by Macbeth’s own, and together they become a formidable force, willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. However, their partnership is ultimately destructive, as they become increasingly isolated and paranoid, unable to trust anyone, even each other. Lady Macbeth’s guilt and madness ultimately lead to her suicide, while Macbeth’s own downfall is brought about by his own actions.
Macbeth’s character is also shaped by his relationship with the supernatural. The prophecy of the witches sets him on a path of ambition and violence, and their supernatural interventions continue throughout the play. Macbeth is haunted by visions and apparitions, including the famous scene of the floating dagger. His belief in the supernatural ultimately leads to his downfall, as he becomes increasingly reliant on their predictions and unable to trust his own judgment.
Despite his flaws, Macbeth is a sympathetic character. He is driven by his own ambition and desire for power, but he is also deeply human, struggling with doubt and uncertainty. He is haunted by his own guilt and ultimately undone by his own flaws. He is a tragic hero, brought down by his own hubris and the machinations of fate.
In conclusion, Macbeth is a complex and multi-faceted character, exhibiting both positive and negative traits throughout the play. He is a brave and loyal warrior who becomes consumed with ambition and ultimately meets his downfall. His descent into madness and tyranny is driven by his own flaws and the influence of others, particularly Lady Macbeth. Despite his flaws, Macbeth is a sympathetic character, struggling with doubt and uncertainty, and ultimately undone by his own hubris and the machinations of fate.
Read More: Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Written by Koushik Kumar Kundu
Koushik Kumar Kundu was among the toppers when he completed his Masters from Vidyasagar University after completing his Bachelors degree with Honours in English Literature from The University of Burdwan. He also completed B.Ed from the University of Burdwan.