What is the contrast between Macbeth at the beginning of the play and later in the play?

Macbeth's character transforms significantly from the beginning of the play to the end. Macbeth begins the play as a respected soldier who is loyal to his king and country. In the end, his character transforms into one capable of murder and tyranny, exposing Macbeth's deep character flaws that ultimately cost him everything he once held dear.

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As the play begins, Macbeth is heroic. Loyal to King Duncan, Macbeth is rewarded with the title of Thane of Cawdor for his skillful defeat against Norwegian forces. Ross nearly attributes the success of the entire battle to Macbeth himself:

The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,
Till that Bellona’s bridegroom, lapped in proof,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Point against point, rebellious arm ‘gainst arm,
Curbing his lavish spirit; and to conclude,
The victory fell on us. (I.ii.58-64)

Macbeth is known as being a great warrior and is generally admired for his valiant sense of honor to king and country.

And suddenly, with a few whispers that he could achieve the loftiest of goals by becoming the King of Scotland, Macbeth abandons his entire code of honor and follows a path that will lead to complete destruction. At first, Macbeth tries to hold on to his sense of loyalty to his king. He attempts to dismiss his wife's pleas to move forward with the assassination plans. Yet he does give...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 830 words.)

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