How does Macbeth change after the murder of Duncan?

Before he kills King Duncan, Macbeth is apprehensive about the idea of murder. Immediately after the killing, Macbeth is haunted by intense guilt; he is hallucinating voices, and he fears that he is cursed never to sleep again. After the first murder, though, Macbeth's reservations about killing seem to become fewer and fewer. He orders the killings of Banquo and his son, and of Macduff's family, with apparent ease—he doesn't seem to feel guilty anymore. He has become a fierce tyrant.

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After Duncan’s murder, Macbeth becomes a hardened man. He seems to become inured to death and to killing. This is not to say that Macbeth was unaccustomed to death and even to killing before Duncan’s murder, but he only killed on the battlefield. In fact, before we even see...

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After Duncan’s murder, Macbeth becomes a hardened man. He seems to become inured to death and to killing. This is not to say that Macbeth was unaccustomed to death and even to killing before Duncan’s murder, but he only killed on the battlefield. In fact, before we even see Macbeth make his initial appearance on the stage, we learn that he is a valiant soldier. An unnamed sergeant says of him to Duncan,

For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave

In fact, it is the sergeant’s speech that is one of the factors that prompts Dunce to promote Macbeth to Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth begins to contemplate greater things than being a thane. Spurred by his wife, he agrees to murder Duncan, although he initially is hesitant. Specifically, he tells Lady Macbeth:

We will proceed no further in this business:
He hath honour'd me of late;

However, Lady Macbeth convinces him to murder the king, and Macbeth changes. In his quest to attain and retain power, he has Banquo, one of his close friends, murdered. Afterwards, he has become so hardened to life and the sanctity of life that he hypocritically toasts Banquo:

And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;
Would he were here! to all, and him, we thirst

His becoming a colder man is perhaps best exemplified in his comment upon hearing of the death of Lady Macbeth. He says, “She should have died hereafter.” By contrast, when we first see Macbeth and Lady Macbeth tougher on the stage, he greets his wife by calling her “My dearest love.” The progression from thinking of his wife as his “dearest love” and coldly commenting that it was inconvenient of her to die when she did shows how much Macbeth has become a harder, uncaring man consumed only with his own ambition.

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After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth struggles terribly with his guilt.  He worries that he could not pronounce the holy word, "Amen," when one of Duncan's chamberlains said, "God bless us" (2.2.39, 2.2.40).  Macbeth fears that this means that he is damned.  Further, he hears a voice cry out that he will never be able to sleep peacefully again because he murdered Duncan while he was asleep and powerless.  In fact, Macbeth is so guilt-ridden that he mistakenly brings the murder weapons with him from the room, and when Lady Macbeth orders him to return them, he cannot.  He says, "I'll go no more. / I am afraid to think what I have done" (2.2.65-66).  Macbeth feels that there is so much blood on his hands that, if he plunged them into the ocean, the blood would turn the whole sea red.  Obviously, this cannot be true, but the exaggeration works in the service of another truth: Macbeth's guilt is overwhelming him.

However, Macbeth's guilt fades away quickly.  Though he'd felt a great deal of ambivalence regarding the murder of Duncan, he seems to experience no hesitation whatsoever when ordering his next murders: his former best friend, Banquo, and Banquo's son, Fleance.  Then, after Banquo's murder, instead of guilt, Macbeth feels only anger that Fleance is still alive.  No more worrying about the state of his soul; now he worries only about the security of his throne.

He grows more vicious, certainly, and more ruthless.  And in his desperation to maintain his power, Macbeth does become paranoid.  After the dinner party at which he sees Banquo's ghost, he tells Lady Macbeth of the lords, "There's not a one of them but in his house / I keep a servant fee'd" (3.4.163-164).  In other words, despite their apparent loyalty to him, Macbeth pays a spy in each of the noble's homes to report back to him.

In Macbeth's most brutal act yet, he orders the deaths of Macduff's innocent wife, children, and even servants to punish Macduff for his disloyalty.  Macbeth's growing brutality is actually conveyed by the way the murder scenes are portrayed.  Duncan's murder takes place off stage; we only see Macbeth's reaction to it.  Macbeth becomes more ruthless, and Banquo's murder takes place on stage, but at least his child gets away.  Finally, at his most tyrannical and evil, the audience witnesses the murder of a woman and her children on the stage, preventing us from maintaining any form of sympathy with him; at this point, Macbeth is a monster.

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Macbeth certainly does feel paranoia and guilt after Duncan's murder.  However, as the play progresses, he doesn't hesitate to murder again to achieve his goal of beoming king.  After he orders Banquo and Fleance's murder (he perceives them as threats to his goal), Banquo is killed but Fleance gets away.  He sees Banquo's ghost at a dinner in his home, proving not only his paranoia but his progressive loss of sanity.  However, he is angry with the murderers for allowing Fleance to get away and expresses how this loose end throws a monkey wrench in his plans.  Finally, his relationship with Lady Macbeth, formally very strong and based on mutual support, changes dramatically because of his tragic flaw of thirsting for power.  He refuses to share the additional murders he has planned, causing a major breakdown in their relationship. 

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When Macbeth returns after the murder of Duncan he is distraught and regrets the murder he has committed. Macbeth feels so guilty for the act that his mind projects voices that condemn him. He will no longer have the piece of mind that he had before the murder.

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Before the murder of Duncan, Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as ambitious, and certainly capable of violence (as the accounts of his performance in battle show.) But he is certainly torn about the morality of murdering Duncan, and after he does so, he continues to feel remorse. Even after Banquo's murder, Macbeth still is haunted by his deeds, as the fact that he "sees" his dead friend at his banquet table suggests. From this point on, however, and especially after he consults with the witches for the second time, Macbeth becomes more and more violent, acting (significantly) without encouragement from his wife, who becomes the one afflicted with guilt. The murder of Macduff's wife and child marks a low point for Macbeth, who seems to have become a vicious tyrant. A man once torn by guilt over the murder of his king and kinsman is by the end of the play consumed by ambition and caught in a cycle of violence that he (and, one might add, his wife) unleashed. 

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Since Duncan’s murder, Macbeth has become ruthless and more set on murder than before. His greed for power influences his decisions to murder. He still deeply relies on the prophecies of the three witches and, therefore, decides to rid himself of the next obstacle, Banquo. Macbeth feels his crown is not enough. He wants the lineage that was prophesied to Banquo:

Upon my head [the witches] placed a fruitless crown and put a barren scepter in my gripe, / Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand, / No son of mine succeeding

Macbeth’s guilt seems to consume his thoughts as he sees Banquo’s ghost at the party. He soon becomes irrational and almost gives away his ghastly secrets when he sees the ghost sitting in Macbeth’s place:

Which of you have done this?... / Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake / Thy gory locks at me

In Act IV Macbeth visits the witches and is informed that he needs to be watchful of Macduff.  Again Macbeth's murderous thoughts are evident as he plots to kill Macduff's family. Now, his lack of guilt shows the ruthless savage he has become. He needlessly kills Macduff’s wife and son.

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Well, Macbeth changes more or less as soon as he has done the deed. He comes back in to tell his wife that he has killed Duncan, but seems unsettled, maddened, unsure of where he is:

Whence is that knocking?
How is't with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? Ha, they pluck out mine eyes!

Macbeth seems similarly unsettled by the murder in the next scene, in which he reveals he has - impulsively, without checking with his wife - murdered Duncan's grooms, so terrified he is of being discovered.

And then we learn in Act 2, Scene 4 that he has been crowned. And here is where, I think, there is a real change in Macbeth. His language becomes more muscular, and, though he is still hugely neurotic, he now is also hugely powerful. He orders Banquo's murder, and, though he is maddened again at the banqu-et (thinking that he sees Banqu-o's ghost) he regains his resolve after the apparition scene enough to order the murder of Macduff's children (though we don't see him do this).

Perhaps the best answer though, would be to look at the Macbeth at the end of the play. He is drained, weary, cynical and completely sure that his life is worthless. He knows, too, what he has missed out on:

...My way of life
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf,
And that which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have.

The murder of Duncan is a mistake that costs Macbeth his life - and his quality of life.

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One way that Macbeth has changed since Duncan's murder is that he has become much more paranoid.  He fears people uncovering his murderous acts and begins to think that everyone around him must suspect him as a murder. 

His behavior becomes more and more erratic, especially in Act Three, scene four, in which Macbeth startles to see Banquo's ghost sitting at the banquet table.  When he sees the ghost, Macbeth is convinced that one of the lords must have placed it there to convict him of his murderous deeds.  He questions the party-goers:  "Which of you have done this?" and when the Lords have no idea what he is talking about, Macbeth adds:

"Thou canst not say I did it: never shake

Thy gory locks at me" (III.iv.60-64).

His over-whelming sense of guilt at Duncan's and then Banquo's murders have caused him to be completely paranoid and even hallucinatory.  Macbeth's character changes for the worse after Duncan's murder; his guilt consumes him.

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The main way in which Macbeth's character changes after the murder of Duncan is that, where once he was so hesitant to commit murder that his wife scorned him for being a weakling, he now appears to lose all scruples. He arranges for the murder of Banquo and Fleance without hesitation, and goes even further in planning to eliminate Macduff and his family. He attempts to get rid of anyone whom he fears might stand in his way. Of course he does not succeed; Fleance and Macduff escape, and Macduff finally conquers and kills him. But this shows that, once he begins killing, he will stop at nothing.

Therefore Macbeth might end up appearing as a pure villain but we also have a continuous insight into his mind and we see that he becomes practically unhinged over the killing of Duncan, beset by hallucinations before and after. Thereafter he just gets more and more worked up, attempting to shore up his ill-gotten kingship by any means. His actions become ever more murderous, it's true, but his motive appears to be desperation rather than bloodlust.

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