The manipulation of Macbeth
Uploaded by frollypoo on Mar 02, 2002
Manipulation is a very effective tool. Macbeth, the main character in William Shakespeare’s play of the same title is very ambitious. There can be no doubt about this. A certain level of courage accompanies his ambition as well. As a noble he is an active one, fighting against the rebel hordes and Norwegians in defense of his king, no doubt for the purpose of gaining authority and other rewards. This is further illustrated by his gracious acceptance of credit for his deeds. He is a political figure, and shows ambition in this way. However, there is no sign of him altering his course of loyal nobleman until outside influences begin to interfere with his being. The people with greatest impact on Macbeth are the witches, his wife, Lady Macbeth, and King Duncan of Scotland.
The witches are the physical manifestation of evil itself, and they bring temptation, malice and disaster with their visits upon hapless mortals. This best illustrated by the witches’ quote "Fair is foul and foul is fair," (1.1.11). This illustrates the idea that every aspect of the witches is a perversion of natural moral character. It may be said that the prophecy set forth by the witches is the single cause for the entire story of Macbeth. Without the witches, Macbeth may never have thought of taking Duncan’s life at all. In Act 1, Scene 3, the witches tell Macbeth that he is thane of Glamis, thane of Cawdor and that he "shalt be king hereafter". (1.3.50). Immediately after hearing the witches’ prophesize that he will be king, Macbeth thinks that he must kill the current king to become king himself. Without the prophecy, even Lady Macbeth probably would not have thought of doing such a thing. It is not that the desire for Macbeth to become king would not have existed if the witches had not talked to Macbeth. The desire existed in both Macbeth and his wife naturally in their position as nobles. The significance of the prophecy is that it brought this desire to the foreground, and made it reality. The witches told Macbeth that he would be king. He took this statement for granted. For Macbeth, it suddenly changed from whether or not he would be king to how he would get to be king. Without the witches to suggest the major course of action, Macbeth would not have been so bold as...