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Macbeth: From Hero to Villain

Uploaded by hazel_b1 on Feb 21, 2001

Throughout Macbeth by William Shakespeare we see the transformation of the main character, Macbeth, from hero to villain. Translated, this basically means that Macbeth changes from a brave warrior to a serial killer!

The story of Macbeth takes place in Scotland in the 11th century. Shakespeare has written a tragedy about how a Scottish nobleman (Macbeth) who plots the death of the King in order to become King himself. Due to the tragedy aspect, things do not really go according to plan!

The first time we see Macbeth in the play, he is returning from the battlefield after a victory alongside the Norwegians against a rebel army. “For brave Macbeth” (I, 2, 16) is used by an army Sergeant to describe his actions in the battle. Such phrases as “worthy gentleman” (I, 2, 24) are used by the King. This shows that Macbeth really was a hero, as such a compliment from the King was considered a great honour.

The first murder Macbeth commits, is that of King Duncan. This murder, was ‘inspired’ by the witches. The witches first meet Macbeth while he and Banquo are riding by. The witches greeted him as, the thane of Glamis “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis” (I, 3, 48), and then as the thane of Cawdor “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor” (I, 3, 49). At this point in the play Macbeth had just become thane of Glamis, and the thane of Cawdor is still alive and well. Next, the witches greeted

Macbeth as the King of Scotland: “All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter” (I, 3, 50).

Shortly after the departure of the witches, Macbeth found out that he is the thane of Cawdor, as well as Glamis. If the three witches’ prediction about Macbeth becoming thane of Cawdor had been correct, did that mean that someday he would also become King? I believe that this is the point in the play where Macbeth starts to think as a villain. If the witches had never greeted him as King on Scotland, then he would probably never have contemplated killing Duncan in the first place.

When Lady Macbeth found out about the predictions, she pressurised her husband into killing Duncan. Anytime Macbeth had second thoughts, Lady Macbeth was there to spur him on – mostly by criticising him and calling him a coward! This could be another reason for Macbeth’s change of...

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Uploaded by:   hazel_b1

Date:   02/21/2001

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   6 pages (1,255 words)

Views:   2549

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