What kind of character was Macbeth in the play Macbeth? Hello this is my first discussion and i need help    

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's tragic heroes. As with any Shakespeare tragedy, Macbeth starts out as a good guy, a loyal friend to the king and a war hero until he succumbs to his pride and kills in order to become a king. He is manipulated by his wife as she questions his manhood, too. The consequences from these actions cut deep within his soul to destroy him and his marriage. A tragic hero goes from being someone of great worth to someone who is made the fool by following or believing a lie that leads to his/her demise. From Macbeth, the message seems to be that no power is worth having if it requires a person to demoralize himself to the point of doing outrageous and hideous things to other people for his own selfish reasons.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The short answer to this question is that Macbeth is a different character at the end of the play than at the beginning. He is portrayed early in the play as an honorable, brave lord and vassal, who is nevertheless fierce in battle. But his encounter with the witches immediately sparks his ambition, and he begins to contemplate horrible deeds. Yet he is very reluctant to kill Duncan, and shows remorse for it. By the end of the play, however, with several more deaths to his name, he is a murderous villain, unmoved even by news of his formerly beloved wife's death by suicide. His ambition, combined with fate and the supernatural, has destroyed whatever humanity there was in him.

lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth was an honorable warrior, content to be fighting to protect King Duncan and Scotland. After he meets with the witches, he is changed. He begins to dwell on murderous thoughts in order to get the crown. The witches planted seeds in Macbeth, and he begins a murderous campaign to get to the throne. Macbeth either murders or has those in his way murdered. Macbeth is manipulated by his wife. He gives in to her manipulation and control. Macbeth ends up being destroyed because he gives in to temptation.  

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth was a soldier and a good friend, it is true.  I would say his greatest trait is that he is easily influenced.  He's fine with his status, and then the witches tell him he will be king, so he wants to be king.  Lady Macbeth tells him to kill Duncan, so he wants to kill Duncan, and then he doesn't want to kill Duncan because he has been nice to him.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth can be described in many ways. One way to see his character is as a man overwrought by ambition. In pursuing promotion and power, Macbeth essentially loses his moral core and finds his punishment for this very quickly. 

He is guilty of betrayal and weakness of spirit, each feeding off the other in a cycle of cause and effect.  


literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth is a very dynamic character. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is willing to allow chance (fate) to get him the crown. Soon into the play, Macbeth, driven by his ambition, begins a murderous rampage to gain and keep the throne. At one point, Macbeth does begin to question everything he has done. IN the end, he is destroyed for his actions.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth began the play as a heroic warrior, but the lust for power and weakness in the face of his wife's ambition lead to his downfall. He feels the intense desire to be king, once he is told he will be, but when he tries to get out of the mess he has created he cannot defeat his wife's will.

leongtonglin123456 | Student

Macbeth is ambitious in the play.


Look, how our partner's rapt.


If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,

Without my stir.

Macbeth appears rapt when he thinks of becoming the King. This suggest that he is in a state which he is too interested in a particular thing that he seems to be unaware of his surroundings. Macbeth is in deep thought of resulting to murder. Although he concludes that he is going to leave it to 'chance' for him becoming the King, he actually possesses great desire for the title and may do something mischievious.