Trace the process that changes Macbeth from the hero in Act One to the bloodthirsty villain at the banquet scene.

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first step on the path from hero to villain is taken when Macbeth and Banquo encounter the witches. Macbeth's ambition is kindled when he hears them hail him as king of Scotland, and he is quickly aware of the "dark desires" that emerge within him. He is also aware that fulfilling these desires will involve murdering King Duncan, who holds him in very high esteem. The major catalyst for Macbeth's metamorphosis into a bloody tyrant is his wife. She challenges him to go through with the murder of Duncan, plans the act itself, and goads him on by challenging his manhood when he vacillates at the last minute. After Duncan's death, Lady Macbeth urges Macbeth not to feel guilty. Macbeth is still not satisfied with the crown after the murder of the King because he sees Banquo, the other man present to hear the witches' prophecy, as a threat. He sends murderers to kill Banquo and his son, an act which he independently plans and carries out without any input from his wife. By this point, the noble Macbeth from Act I has degenerated into a bloody madman, albeit one who still experiences guilt for the murder of his friend Banquo (as suggested by the appearance of Banquo's ghost).