Homework Help

Why does the character of Macbeth change throughout the play? (use quotes)anybody in a...

user profile pic

hughfitz | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 7, 2010 at 8:01 AM via web

dislike 2 like

Why does the character of Macbeth change throughout the play?

(use quotes)

anybody in a good mood and want to write a paragraph or twelve for my essay?? thanks ;)

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

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

Posted October 7, 2010 at 9:09 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a good and valiant soldier who is happy to serve his king.  In Act 1, sc. 2, ll. 17-25, the Captain tells Duncan of Macbeth's valor in battle.  We see Macbeth start to change as early as Act 1, sc. 3 after Angus delivers the news about Macbeth's new title as Thane of Cawdor.  Since this confirmed the witches' second prophecy, Macbeth lets his thoughts go to the possibility of becoming king (ll. 148-163).  He quickly, at the end of that aside, decides that he will let fate run its course rather than help it along though.  When Macbeth's wife gets the news about the prophecies and Macbeth's new title, she decides he must become king and fulfill the prophecies.  When Macbeth decides he will not kill the king as Lady Macbeth wants, she gets angry with him and insults his masculinity.  This, then, convinces him that, to appease his wife and his own ambition, he will go through with the deed (Act 1, sc. 7, ll. 92-95), even though he is obviously still reluctant.  His reluctance is also shown in Act 2, sc. 1, when he delivers his soliloquy.  He knows that the dagger he sees in front of him is a product of his imagination stemming from the guilt he feels over his impending deed (ll. 45-51).  Macbeth still has a conscience that is telling him killing Duncan is wrong.  By the time, we get to Act 3, sc. 1, Macbeth's conscience, if not gone, is on its way out.  He tells the murderers here to kill his friend, Banquo, and tells them that Banquo is their enemy (ll. 125-126).  In Act 4, sc. 1, after the witches' apparitions have appeared, Macbeth has become cold-blooded.  He plans to kill off Macduff's family (ll. 173-177).  Macbeth has now become extremely paranoid also.  The paranoia shows itself in Act 5 when Macbeth keeps grasping on to the apparitions' prophecies (Act 5, sc. 3, ll. 4-9 and Act 5, sc. 7, ll. 2-4). By the end of the play, Macbeth has become resolved to his fate, which is death at the hands of Macduff (Act 5, sc. 8, ll. 35-39).

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes