How does the character of Macbeth change throughout the play?
Macbeth's transformation throughout the play is remarkable. At the beginning of the play, we learn Macbeth is a noble, valiant warrior, respected by his kinsman the King, who he loyally serves by putting down Macdonwald's rebellion. When he and Banquo encounter the witches, who hail him as a future king, he is quickly seized with ambition, which he describes as "dark desires." Even as late as the end of Act I, Macbeth experiences deep misgivings about the murder of the King, though his wife talks him into going through with the plot. After Duncan is dead and Macbeth is king, he begins to turn on the men around him, who he views as threats to his power. His hired assassins murder Banquo, an act for which he obviously feels remorse (as evidenced by his vision of the murdered man's ghost at the banquet table later.) Macbeth's descent into evil is complete with this act. He kills Macduff's family even though he knows Macduff fled to England, and his reign is described as brutal and bloody by many of Scotland's thanes. By the end of the play, he is without feeling at all, and responds to his wife's death with an air of resignation and almost total indifference. He meets his death recognizing that he has been fooled by the witches.
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