Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What does Shakespeare's Macbeth say about the nature of man?

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In Macbeth Shakespeare presents the argument that man by nature is corruptible. Initially alarmed by the witches, Macbeth soon only wants to hear more about himself (Act I, Scene 3, line 73). The witches give Banquo a riddle with a contradictory set of qualifiers. He will be less than Macbeth, but somehow more and "get kings, though thou be none" (Act 1, Scene 3, line 70). Macbeth seizes on the ideas presented by the witches' proclamation, which appears to be a prophecy because they hail him "thane of Cawdor" and then that title is granted to him. The witches also say that Macbeth will become king, so Macbeth reasons that becoming king is also a given. Because he wants to be king, Macbeth takes action to seize the crown. Since the prophecy about himself came to pass, he interprets the riddle put before Banquo as a direct threat to himself. Macbeth readily accepts supernatural declarations that he wants or fears to be true. He becomes king through his actions, but he also becomes a murderer...

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