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Discuss: In Macbeth, Macbeth understands the evil nature of his actions but proceeds anyway.

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As a basic statement followed by a "discuss" prompt, you can feel free to discuss how and why the statement is true; however, you are also free to discuss how and why you feel that the statement is false. I think it could definitely be argued that Macbeth's tragedy rests in other areas of his life. For example, his ambition to have more power and fame leads him down a completely amoral path to commit terrible crimes against people he knows and loves.

With that said, the statement definitely rings true. Macbeth knows that his ambition is there. He knows that he wants more power, yet he also knows that he doesn't quite fully have the courage to do what might need to be done. When it comes down to it, he knows that assassinating a king to seize power for himself is wrong. He admits to himself that Duncan is a good king, and Macbeth isn't keen on betraying the trust that Duncan has shown toward Macbeth. In fact, Macbeth convinces himself that he isn't going to go through with the regicide plan, and he tells Lady Macbeth the same thing:

We will proceed no further in this business.
He hath honored me of late, and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.
Unfortunately, Lady Macbeth bullies him to change his mind. I suppose you could call it a tragedy that he has the courage to kill a good king but doesn't have the courage to stand up to his wife. Even after Lady Macbeth's "pep talk," Macbeth isn't convinced that he should kill Duncan. There's a solid feeling of hesitance in his act 2, scene 1 speech, and he knows his mind isn't clear:
It is the bloody business which informs Thus to mine eyes.
He ends his speech by admitting that he needs to just get the murder over with before his emotions cool to the point where he can't go through with it. All his talking isn't getting him fired up. It's cooling him off.
Whiles I threat, he lives. Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.
Yet Macbeth still goes through with the murder, and that indeed is a great tragedy because he knows better.
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If you want to discuss Macbeth's knowing the evil nature of what he does in Shakespeare's Macbeth, you can look at a couple of passages that demonstrate his awareness. 

After Macbeth is told he will be both Cawdor and king, and the prediction concerning Cawdor comes true, he reveals in an aside that he is already thinking of killing Duncan, thinking what it will take for him to become king, and these thoughts fill him with horror.  In his aside in Act 1.3.133-145, he reveals that his thoughts "yield to that suggestion/Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair,/And make my seated heart knock at my ribs/Against the use of nature" (137-140).  And he considers the thoughts "horrible imaginings." 

Then in Act 1.7.1-28 Macbeth ponders the reasons why he should not assassinate Duncan.  Macbeth worries about damnation in the afterlife if he goes through with the killing.  He feels badly because Duncan has treated him well, and because Duncan has been a humble king.  He also recognizes that his role as host to Duncan should result in his protecting his guest, not in his killing his guest. 

All of the above reveal that Macbeth understands the evil nature of his actions.  He recognizes that:

...I have no spur

To prick the sides of my intent, but only

Vaulting Ambition, which o'erleaps itself

And falls on th'other--

He closes his speech with the metaphor comparing his vaulting ambition to a rider jumping on to a horse and falling off the other side.  He has nothing to spur him on--no good reasons (he's just contemplated all the reasons not to kill Duncan).  He has only his vaulting ambition, which will result in his falling off on the other side of the horse, figuratively. 

But, of course, Macbeth goes ahead with the assassination anyway.  He knows the evil nature of what he's about to do, but he does it anyway.

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