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What are the unhealthy motivators for Macbeth in the play Macbeth?the unhealthy...

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kelvin1218 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 12, 2009 at 6:38 AM via web

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What are the unhealthy motivators for Macbeth in the play Macbeth?

the unhealthy motivators that encourage Macbeth to get the crown or something else... I think...

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blacksheepunite | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 12, 2009 at 7:12 AM (Answer #1)

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Macbeth's motivation is power and status. Initially, his motivation is sparked by the weird sisters, who suggest to him that he is "fated" to have the crown. The weird sisters would have been seen as suspicious by an Elizabethan audience, hence unhealthy. They are other-worldly, and not the kind of spiritual beings who should be trusted.

Macbeth's wife also has some rather unhealthy means to motivate him. She berates him by calling him a coward, questions his manhood, and then drives the nail home by saying that he can't possibly love her if he can break a promise to her so easily.

He says himself that he has no reason to kill Duncan but pride and ambition.

As for the other killings that follow the killing of the king, they are all done to ease his paranoia and to keep him in power. He finds that once he has power, he can't rest in it, but has to keep killing to hold on to it.

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mshurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 12, 2009 at 7:15 PM (Answer #2)

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Macbeth's political ambition leads him to murder Duncan to gain the Scottish crown, and once he has become the king, he uses his power to order the murder of other innocents. Not only is Macbeth very jealous of his own power, he is concerned about who will wear the crown after him. The witches had prophesied that Banquo's line would become Scottish kings. Macbeth's great ego cannot tolerate the idea that Banquo's heirs, and not his own, would rule in Scotland. He is bitter that he has sacrificed his immortal soul so that Banquo's heirs can wear the crown. Consequently, he orders the murders of both Banquo and his son Fleance to prevent this from happening. Macbeth orders these murders, then, because he was motivated by enoromous pride and self-love.

The murders of Macduff's entire family and all his servants were motivated purely out of Macbeth's hatred and desire for revenge. He orders these murders immediately after discovering that Macduff has gone to England to join forces with those who intend to remove Macbeth from the throne. Macbeth acts as the tyrant he has become; he will tolerate no opposition, and he punishes Macduff for joining the uprising against him. Murdering Macduff's household also serves as a warning to any others who might oppose Macbeth.

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