What do the other characters say about Macbeth?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Initially in "Macbeth" the nobleman, Macbeth, receives praise and recognition for his defeat of the King of Norway.  Ross, another nobleman, says of Macbeth:

The King hath happily received, Macbeth,/The news of thy success, and when he reads/Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight,/His wonders and his praises do contend/Which should be thine or his. (I,iii,89-93)

The king reiterates this praise as he awards Macbeth the title of Thane of Cawdor for his valor:

Only I have left to say,/More is thy due than more than all can pay.(I,iv,20-21)

Of course, that Lady Macbeth doubts her husband's manliness and resolve is evident in her words:

Was the hope drunk/Wherein you dressed yourself?  Hath it slept since?/And wakes it now, to look so green and pale/At what it did so freely?  From this time/Such I account thy love.  Art thou afeard/to be the same in own act and valor/As thou art in desire? (I,vii, 35-41)

Lady Macbeth also tells her husband "I shame/To wear a heart so white" (63-65). After this, she unsexes herself and takes the dominant role in orchestrating Macbeth's rise to power. 

Then, as the play progresses, others come to feel utter antipathy for Macbeth because of his evil deeds. In Act IV, Scene 3, Malcolm and Macduff speak of Macbeth.  Malcolm refers to Macbeth as "black Macbeth" (IV,iii, 52) and Macduff calls him "a devil more damned/In evils" (IV,iii,55-56),to which Malcolm responds,

I grant him bloody,/Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceiful,/Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin/That has a name (IV,iii,57-60).

In Act V when Macduff encounters his enemy, he calls him "Tyrant" and tells him,

Thn yield thee, coward,/And live to the show and gaze o'th'time:/We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,/Painted upon a pole, and underwrit,/'Here may you see the tyrant.' (V,viii,23-27)

Certainly, Macbeth has gone from the zenith of praise in Act I to the nadir of vilification in Act V of Shakespeare's "Macbeth."

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