Which version of Macbeth do you prefer?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Macbeth is a good man even though he committed great acts of evil in his time. Macbeth does a lot of evil killing innocent people and betraying his king. He suffers as he knows what he has done, and understands that he was wrong. In this play Macbeth begins, a great man but he is overcome by evil thoughts and greed. He gets what he always wanted, that is to be king of Scotland but he realises that this isn’t the valuable thing he thought he was.

At the start of this play Macbeth appears as a very good and trusts worthy person. His friends call him a “worthy gentleman”. He has a great reputation. When we see what he has done on the battlefield it seems like he single handedly destroyed MacDonald’s army. Every one knew what Macbeth had done and he was respected for saving Scotland from the traitor and the chaos he would bring. As well as being as a loyal thane, Macbeth was loyal to his wife sharing everything. They had no secrets from each other and together they were a powerful force.

We see Macbeth changing after he returns from the battlefield. He always wanted to get the crown but before the battle he knew deep own that Duncan would choose his own sons to succeed him. When the witches met him on the heath and prophecied that he would become king, greed and ambition overwhelmed him. He felt that his fate was to become king. This is when we first see Macbeth’s evil side. When he returns to King Duncan’s camp he is disappointed at the reward the king gives him. He wants to be more than Thane of Cawdor. He was devastated. Because of Macbeth’s greed and because his ambition was awakened by what he had heard from the three witches he was certain that he was going to become king. But even at this stage, Macbeth has not become completely evil. He has evil thoughts tempting him, but his actions are the actions of a good, loyal man.

When Macbeth returns to his castle and to his wife, his ambitions have faded. Lady Macbeth wants him to become king and she works hard to convince him even though he never mentions any word of a plan to her. After she works on him, Macbeth and his wife put together a plan to kill King Duncan but she seems to be the one who is determined to do evil. Lady Macbeth says to Macbeth he must “look like a flower but be the serpent beneath it”. She wants him to think evil thoughts, but to look like a good man. Macbeth didn’t like the idea but his wife forced to him to act this way by laughing at him when he tried to say he couldn’t kill the king. Finally Macbeth kills Duncan that night. The king is asleep. But as soon as he does, Macbeth knows it’s a mistake. We see this when he says “I wish Duncan would wake up” when there is a banging at the door. We can see in these words that goodness is in his heart. He regrets what he has done and wishes he could go back to the peace of mind he had before he let evil takeover him.

When Macbeth killed king Duncan he hoped that he would get the throne and would ever have to do evil again. He soon sees that he has to kill more people, because he has to stop people who think he is responsible for the king’s death from spreading their suspicions. He has to kill people who he thinks are a threat to him. We see Macbeth going on a sort of killing spree. Because he felt guilt he thought everyone who looked at him could see his guilt. First he killed the guards who might have seen him kill Duncan. Then he killed Banquo and then Banquo’s murderers. Every one was afraid of him. All his friends and peers started to avoid him as people became suspicious of him. No one wanted anything to do with him. We hear even the doctor and nurse are afraid of him. Behind his back people started to call Macbeth a “dwarf” and a “thief”. They knew that he was not the rightful king Macbeth knew that people thought of him as evil and he knew he was guilty of doing horrible, evil things but he also knew that he couldn’t stop.

Macbeth began to realise that he had lost everything that made his life valuable. He didn’t want to live anymore. Even though he got the throne, the possession he had wanted, he realised that he wasn’t happy. Lady Macbeth wasn’t happy, and in fact she suffered from having a guilty conscience. He knew his life was finished because he had committed so many evil acts in his life time that God would judge him and send him to hell.

At the beginning of the play Macbeth was a good man with good intentions. When greed took over his mind and he realised that the only way to get what he wanted was to use evil, he lost his way. Once he killed his king, once he betrayed country and his God, there was no turning back. He knew he was evil. He knew he had destroyed his life. Macbeth killed many people, hoping he would not get caught, but in his heart he knew there was no escape. Macbeth was full of goodness and that goodness made him feel awful at having lost his “jewel” or soul. At the end Macbeth dies but he knows that he deserved it. Living with his guilt is like a torture. Only a good man could feel this guilty about all the evil he has done.

No comments: