Do you have any sympathy for Macbeth at this point in the play? Why or why not?This is in reference to Act 4

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markchambers1966 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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I feel that in Act 4 there is little opportunity to feel any sympathy for Macbeth, unlike in Act 5 where there is some possibility that you can see him as a man who appreciates he has wasted his life and thrown away opportunities. In Act four he abuses his power as king to destroy the family and home of MacDuff. This action goes far beyond the warning the witches gave him to "beware MAcDuff."

Of course, we may feel some sympathy for him in the way that the witches are deliberately giving him half truths and are pulling him away from the right track. But he is still ultimately responsible for his actions, and his actions are completely wrong. It is also notable that he now takes decisions without consulting his wife first, he has become a 'monster' and is not the figure who contemplates his actions that we meet in Act 5.

So very simply, in this scene where we see less of Macbeth and a lot of the consequences of his actions and the misery he is causing, we can have little or no sympathy for him. 

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