December 11th, 2018
“Here’s the smell of blood still.” ( V, i, 51, p.403). When the name Macbeth comes to mind most people would think of murder, evil, and death, but Macbeth was not always evil. This essay will discuss the tragedy of Macbeth and how Macbeth’s overwhelming ambition drove him off the rails, so to speak. Macbeth’s descent into evil began when he learned of a prophecy that he would be made king in the future. When Macbeth learned of this prophecy, it lit a fire inside of him, and sparked his ambition. Macbeth then goes on to commit the many tragedies that occur during the play, including the murders of Duncan, Banquo, and the Macduff family.
In the beginning of act I of Macbeth, Macbeth is being hailed a hero for his defeat of Macdonwald. After this occurs, Banquo and Macbeth speak with the witches, where they tell of their prophecy. “Thou shalt be kings…” ( I, iii, 67, p.328). The conversation with the witches unveils to Macbeth that he will be thane of Cawdor, as well as the king of Scotland. At first, Macbeth takes the prophecy with a grain of salt, “... And to be king stands not within the prospect of belief, No more than to be Cawdor…” (I, iii, 73-75, p.328), but he later learns that he has indeed been named to thane of Cawdor. “...But treasons capital, confessed and proved, Have overthrown him.” (I, iii, 115-116, p.330) Upon learning that he had indeed been named the Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth came to believe the prophecy of the witches with much more certainty.
Once Macbeth discovers that the witches’ prophecy has some merit to it, he also finds out that king Duncan will be visiting his castle shortly. Upon hearing this news, Lady Macbeth was ecstatic, she saw it almost as a sign that Macbeth should kill Duncan and become king. When Duncan is staying at Macbeth’s castle, Macbeth is doubting whether they should kill him or not, due to the kindness Duncan has shown as of late. Lady Macbeth feels that Macbeth is being ridiculous by second-guessing himself and pushes him to commit the murder by calling him names and pushing the matter, this quote from Lady Macbeth illustrates exactly what I mean, “Was the hope drunk Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?” ( I, vii, 35-36, p.338 ). After Macbeth has been sufficiently convinced to do the deed, he imagines a dagger floating in the air, with blood and gore covering it “Is this a dagger which I see before me,... And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,...” ( II, ii, 34 & 46, p.344 ). The dagger illustrates the guilt that Macbeth is feeling over the fact that he is about to murder...