William Shakespeare is often referred to as one of the greatest scriptwriters ever. He truly had a skill of creating unique characters which created controversy and gave reasons for people to discuss and debate. Macbeth is one of the most popular plays written by William. The play mainly revolves around the king of Scotland: Duncan, Macbeth, who is one of the leaders from Duncan’s army, Macbeth’s wife, who is also known as Lady Macbeth, and the three witches, who are related to the three Fates in classical mythology.
William has portrayed Macbeth as an ambitious person throughout the play. This is evident when he responds to the witches’ prophecy. “Two truths are told, / As happy prologues to the swelling act / Of the imperial theme”. Spoken by Macbeth, these lines indicate that Macbeth has started to believe and ponder upon what the witches have told him. With the eagerness for the chances for Macbeth of becoming the king to be true, these lines also foreshadow the probability of him committing a cruel act to become the king. Similarly, in another scene, Macbeth is experiencing excessive ambitiousness. This can be seen when Macbeth changes his plan to kill King Duncan but Lady Macbeth stirs up his spirits again. “I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself / And falls on th’other” . These lines illustrate that despite Macbeth’s decreased motivation levels to implement his plan of killing King Duncan, his ambition levels to become the king are high. Moreover, he compares his excessive ambition to a horse and its rider who aim to jump too high but end up failing in their task. Therefore, Macbeth also acknowledges that his character of being ambitious might decline his humanity, and take him to the wrong path.
The play has also demonstrated Macbeth’s indecisiveness in various acts. This is evident after he has been constantly struggling to decide between his ambition and kindness.“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well / It were done quickly. If th’assassination / Could trammel up the consequence and catch / With his surcease, success, that but this blow / Might be the be-all and the end-all-here.”
In this soliloquy, Macbeth is saying that if the evil act of murdering Duncan must be executed and it would be better if he finishes this task quickly. This also tells the reader that Macbeth is unable to decide if he should murder Duncan as he is not willing to kill him but is forcing himself to do it for the sake of the position, title, and power. Likewise, in another situation, Macbeth’s indecisive nature is causing him to experience different feelings after performing his evil act. This can be seen when Macbeth starts to panic and experiences mixed feelings about the murder he committed, as soon as Macduff and Lennox try to wake the king.“Had I but died an hour before this chance, / I had liv’d a blessed time, for from this instant, / There’s nothing serious in mortality. / All is but toys; renown and grace is dead, / The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lee / Is left this vault to brag of.”
These lines illustrate the feelings of guilt that Macbeth is experiencing after performing the cruel, planned act. He regrets his decision to kill King Duncan and wishes that he had died before getting the opportunity to assassinate the King of Scotland. Thus, Macbeth is unable to agree with his own decision and keeps on altering it as the play progresses.
Thirdly, Macbeth’s objective to wear the title of the King also brought him the title of being deceitful. This is evident when Macbeth had not only deceived his King but has also deceived his public as he was one of the commanders of King Duncan’s army. The following lines illustrate the same: “Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee”. In this soliloquy, Macbeth is thinking about killing the king and he is talking to the dagger which he will be using to kill the king. This quotation is a piece of evidence for Macbeth’s betrayal. Even though Duncan is superior to Macbeth in terms of power and title, Duncan still honors and trusts him, yet Macbeth deceits his true master. Correspondingly, in another scene, Macbeth is portraying his characteristics of being deceitful. This can be seen when the Porter is roused from his drunken sleep by Macduff and Lennox, who try to wake the king but then discover that he has been murdered.
“Here lay Duncan, / His silver skin lac’d with his golden blood / And his gash’d stabs look’d like a breach in nature, / For ruin’s wasteful entrance. There are the murderers, / Steep’d in the colours of their trade; their daggers / Unmannerly breech’d with gore. Who could refrain, / That had a heart to love and in that heart / Courage to make’s love known?” .
This quotation explains that as soon as Macbeth saw King Duncan’s dead body, he was forced to kill Duncan’s guards since Macbeth loves Duncan and he could not resist himself from killing the murderers of his king. Thus, this indicates that Macbeth is diplomatic and deceptive as, in this quotation, he portrays himself as an innocent individual.