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Explain how Macbeth has changed from the beginning of the play to the end of Act 2....

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blc08 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 9, 2008 at 11:37 AM via web

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Explain how Macbeth has changed from the beginning of the play to the end of Act 2. Consider what we thought about him when we first met him.

No enough space to right the rest... What kind of person was he? How was he regarded by others? Was he a seemingly stabl person? How and why has he changed into a murderer?

Please, Please help me this is a big essay for me and its 10:35pm i need to sleep its do tomorrow i dont have much time and i cannot think of anything, please i really need anyone to put in a couple paragraphs in like an essay form, ill thank you forever, thanks to those that decide to help!


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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted December 9, 2008 at 8:49 PM (Answer #1)

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In Act 1, sc. 2, the Captain describes Macbeth's victory in battle as being brave and noble.  Duncan is so impressed with the good, worthy Macbeth that he gives him the title of Thane of Cawdor and graces Macbeth with a personal visit to his home. As soon as Macbeth hears that he has been named the new Thane of Cawdor which the witches had predicted, though, his mind turns to thoughts of being king "...the imperial theme,".  By the next scene, he is asking for darkness to hide his ambition of becoming king and what it would take to become king.  In Act 1, sc. 5, when Macbeth returns to his home and his wife, we see that he is a man capable of being manipulated by his wife as she tells him later in the act that if he wants her to see him as a man, then he will kill Duncan.  In Act 2, sc. 1, he already has a guilty conscience as evidenced by the imaginary dagger.  He can't say "Amen" when he has killed Duncan because he has cut off all connection to God and his guilt is supreme.  In Act 3, sc. 1, Macbeth has become paranoid and desperate when he convinces the murderers to kill Banquo because he fears Banquo suspects him of Duncan's murder.  In Act 4, sc. 2, the killing of Macduff's wife and children show him as cold blooded.  He is sad and resolute in Act 5 as he prepares to meet his opponents.  He shows some remorse when he tells Macduff he doesn't want to fight him because he's killed enough of Macduff's family already.

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted December 9, 2008 at 1:34 PM (Answer #2)

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When we first meet Macbeth after a successful battle, he seems to be both noble and ambitious (and the others continue to regard him in this way), but it doesn't take long for him to reach the "vaulting ambition" that worried him at the beginning.  Macbeth begins his downward spiral by lying about his thoughts.  After a brief recoil because of the famous floating dagger, Macbeth murders Duncan in the middle of Act II.  Thus follows Macbeth's new life of glory amid torment, panic, and regret (no thanks to Lady Macbeth, of course).  Therefore, Macbeth shifts from noble ambition to murderous ambition in only two acts, proving that stability is not necessarily his friend.

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