Macbeth: Character Analysis of Macbeth
Macbeth was a true Shakespearean tragic hero. He had many noble
qualities as well as several tragic flaws. He was a courageous, brave and good
nobleman who was haunted by superstition, moral cowardice and an overwhelming
ambition. Progressively through the play, his flaws started consuming his
qualities until they are that can be seen of him.
Macbeth was a courageous and strong nobleman. He and Banquo were leaders
of King Duncan's army. His personal powers and strength as a general won him the
battle as described by the captain (I,2, "But all's too weak:/ For brave Macbeth
-- well he deserved that name -- / Disdaining fortune, with his brandished
steel,/ Which smoked with bloody execution,/ Like valor's minion carved out his
passage/ Till he faced the slave;"). Macbeth was even undiscouraged when he was
attacked by the King of Norway, "assisted by that most disloyal traitor, the
thane of Cawdor." Lady Macbeth convinced her husband to murder Duncan by putting
his manhood and courage at stake (I,7, "When you durst do it, then you were a
man;/ And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man"). As
Macbeth started degrading he lost some bravery (IV, 1, "That I may tell pale-
hearted fear it lies"). In his fight with Macduff, some of his old courage and
Macbeth could be brave when it came to action but when he started
thinking he would hesitate and would have to be urged into action by his wife or
by the sense of security that he obtained from the prophecies of the
supernatural. He changed his mind five times before murdering Duncan. The
witches' prophecy that he would be king made him decide to leave it to "chance,"
but Duncan's announcement that Malcolm was to be his heir made Macbeth realize
that he would have to take a course of action for the prophecies to come true.
He changed his mind again before he reached home until his wife persuaded him
that it could be done safely. Then he changed his mind again before finally
being forced by Lady Macbeth to make up his mind to commit the murder. Macbeth
also did not fear the moral consequences of his crimes (I,7, "We'd jump the life
to come"). After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth sinks into continuous moral
degradation. He was in a savage frenzy when he planned the murder of Banquo and
Macduff's family. His morals sink so low that even his enemies said "Who
then shall blame/ His pester'd senses to recoil and start,/ When all that is
within him does condemn/ Itself for being there?"
Macbeth had great ambition and wished to stand well with the world. He
had absolutely no feelings for others and he only cared about what others would
think of him. The witches' prophecies only encouraged this ambition to be king.
The witches who symbolized...