Which version of Macbeth do you prefer?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, we see a good man who does great evil and pays a great price for it. Macbeth loses his power, his reputation, his mind and the love of his wife. Macbeth kills his king believing that in doing so he will become king and get the power and position he deserves. Macbeth knows he must kill anyone in his way to become king as Duncan has heirs. Macbeth began as a good man, who was widely loved and praised. He gave into doing evil to get the thing he wanted most but in doing, in the process so he lost everything he valued.

At the beginning of the play, Macbeth was most highly regarded. He fought ruthlessly in the battle against the traitor Macdonald, cutting through other soldiers as if he was carving a joint. He was admired for his ferocious valour as he sliced an enemy from the ‘knave’ to the ‘chops’. In acts such as these he showed his courage, determination and power. As the play opens, we see Macbeth as unstoppable. His soldiers watch him in admiration. No one in his path could slow his stride. Word was quickly carried to king Duncan of Macbeth’s nobility and valour on the battlefield. Macbeth was celebrated as a ‘worthy gentleman’ and honoured by his king. A brave and unstoppable soldier and a loyal servant of his king, he took the lives of others to protect his king and country.

The noble Macbeth appeared to be a good man and the king trusted him completely. But the king had no idea of the many evil thoughts that where filling his friend’s mind. The witches met Macbeth after the battle and gave him great hope when they told him he would become king, but those evil thoughts were already in Macbeth’s mind. The witches told him one day he would be king and rule Scotland. On hearing this Macbeth suddenly realised that he must turn these hopes and dreams into plans. These prophecies spurred Macbeth into action. Macbeth told Lady Macbeth about the prophecies and that it seemed it was his fate to become king. Macbeth was a good man and a brave soldier but once he associated with evil he become evil. With the witches’ words tempting him and Lady Macbeth eager to help him realize his dreams, Macbeth began on a path that would take him to hell.

Macbeth embraces evil knowing full well what he is doing. Macbeth yearns for the crown but such desires he knows are ‘black and deep’. For Macbeth’s plan to kill King Duncan to work, Macbeth knows he must ‘look like the flower, but be the serpent underneath’. He must continue to seem loyal and honest, but to plot and scheme and kill. Macbeth kills the king as he sleeps. He orders the dagger into his hands with the words ‘come let me clutch thee’. Macbeth wants a quick death for his king. He wants to do one evil act and have that be the ‘be-all and end-all’. What he does not realize is that once he breaks that great bond between himself and God, there is no way that this horrible murder can be the end.

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