How did Macbeth change in character from Act 1 Scene 3, to Act 3 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's Macbeth? 

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The first thing worth thinking about is whether Macbeth, over the course of William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, actually does change character, or whether the monstrous character that is gradually revealed is one he possessed all along and which gradually becomes more apparent to us over the course of the play.

The key event in the play that begins the change is the encounter with the weird sisters on the blasted heath. In this scene, Macbeth evolves from merely be ambitious to be outstanding in service of his king to wanting to be king. We may regard this as a change in degree of ambition.

The next change is the murder of Duncan. He seems strongly influenced by Lady Macbeth in this. One can argue that once he has done the evil deed of killing Duncan, he loses all inhibitions that might have held his evil impulses in check, and not only becomes more violent but loses his capacity for self-restraint.


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