How Does Macbeth Change Throughout The Play


Macbeth changes a great deal throughout the play. At the beginning, he is a brave and noble solider. However, after he meets the witches and they prophesy that he will be king, Macbeth becomes ambitious and power-hungry. He starts to make bad decisions, like murdering innocent people, in order to try to secure his position. This ultimately leads to his downfall. Macbeth changes from a good man to a evil tyrant over the course of the play.

Many people would not commit murder out of respect or affection for others. One of William Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies is Macbeth, which includes similarly abhorrent acts. It’s the tale of a Scottish general named Macbeth who wants to be king.

Macbeth’s actions and interactions with others greatly change throughout the play, Macbeth. Macbeth starts out as a general in King Duncan’s army who is content with his life “As two spent swimmers that do cling together/ And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald–/ Worthy to be a rebel, for to that/The multiplying villainies of nature/ Do swarm upon him” (I.ii.16-20).

Macbeth seems like a honorable and happy man at the beginning of the play, but as the play goes on his character changes for the worse. After Macbeth meets three witches they tell him he will be king, this small act sets off a chain reaction that causes Macbeth to change for the worse. Macbeth is not an evil man at heart, but because of his actions and the people he surrounds himself with he gradually becomes evil.

Macbeth’s first act of evil is when he and Lady Macbeth plot to kill Duncan. Duncan had taken Macbeth in as a son and showed him nothing but kindness. Macbeth even goes as far as to say, “I have no spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself/ And falls on th’ other” (I.vii.25-28). Macbeth knows that what he is about to do is evil, but his desire to be king overrides any good intentions he has. Macbeth even tries to back out of the plan, but Lady Macbeth pressures him into going through with it by questioning his manhood.

After Macbeth kills Duncan he shows great remorse for his actions, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/ Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather/ The multitudinous seas incarnadine,/ Making the green one red” (II.ii.60-63). Macbeth can never forget what he has done and the weight of his actions start to take a toll on him.

The next victim of Macbeth’s evil is Macduff’s family. Macduff had left Scotland to go to England to tell Malcolm, Duncan’s son, about his father’s death and Macbeth’s ascension to the throne. Macbeth saw Macduff as a threat so he had his family killed. This act shows how low Macbeth has sunk because not only does he kill an innocent family, but he kills children.

He transforms gradually throughout the drama’s course. Macbeth begins as a brave and honorable warrior, to a remorseful murderer, to an assassin willing to murder anyone who stands in his path toward sovereignty. His avarice and hubris lead to his downfall in the end. Macbeth is characterized by his love for and devotion to his wife throughout much of the play. He was a well-known fighter, a role model for all soldiers, and a loyal subordinate of the king at the start of the play.

After Macbeth meets the witches and they prophesize that he will one day be king, Macbeth starts to change. He becomes more ambitious and power hungry. Macbeth starts to doubt himself and his ability to become king. He even goes as far as to kill his best friend Banquo because Banquo knows about the prophecy and Macbeth is afraid that Banquo will try to take the throne from him.

Macbeth’s greed and ambition continue to grow until it consumes him completely. In the end, Macbeth is a shadow of his former self. He is paranoid, delusional, and full of guilt. His actions have caught up to him and he pays the ultimate price with his life.

Then he tells Lady Macbeth of his new position and what the wicked sisters predicted for him in the future. Lady Macbeth is thrilled and overjoyed at the prospect of becoming queen. She has a plan to make them king and queen much more quickly. “Look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under” (Shakespeare I. V 65-66).

She is telling Macbeth to look like a good and honest man, but be sly and deceptive like a snake. She plans to kill Duncan when he comes to their castle. Macbeth wavers back-and-forth about whether or not he should kill Duncan. Macbeth is worried that if he kills Duncan, then he will get caught and killed himself. Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth that he won’t get caught because she will put the blame on some of Duncan’s guards. Macbeth finally agrees to go through with the plan.

After Macbeth killed Duncan, he began to change into a paranoid and tyrannical ruler. He started seeing things that were not really there. Macbeth saw a dagger in front of him and he thought it was leading him to Duncan’s room. Macbeth also started hearing voices. He heard a voice say, “Macbeth shall sleep no more!” (Shakespeare II. II. 48). This meant that Macbeth would never be able to sleep again because of his guilty conscience.

Macbeth became so paranoid that he ended up killing a lot of people who were not even involved in the murder of Duncan. He killed Duncan’s guards, even though they did not do anything wrong. Macbeth also killed Banquo because he was afraid that Banquo’s sons would become kings, even though Banquo did not do anything wrong either. Macbeth became a very cruel and tyrannical ruler because of his guilt and paranoia.

Near the end of the play, Macbeth starts to change again. He becomes more reckless and bold. He does not care about anything anymore. Macbeth says, “I am in blood / Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o’er” (Shakespeare III. IV. 145-147). This means that Macbeth is so far into his crimes and evil deeds that it would be just as hard to stop now as it would be to keep going.

Macbeth also becomes more brave and daring. He does not care about anything anymore. Macbeth says, “I bear a charmed life, which must not yield / To one of woman born” (Shakespeare IV. I. 92-93). This means that Macbeth believes that he is invincible and that no one can kill him. Macbeth becomes very cocky and arrogant.

At the end of the play, Macbeth changes again. He becomes more humble and remorseful. He knows that he is going to die soon and he accepts his fate. Macbeth says, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more” (Shakespeare V. V. 24-26). This means that Macbeth believes that life is just like a play. We all have our parts to play and then we die and are forgotten. Macbeth also says, “It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing” (Shakespeare V. V. 28-30). This means that Macbeth believes that life is meaningless and that everything we do is pointless.

Macbeth changes a lot throughout the play. He goes from being a good man to a tyrannical ruler to a remorseful man who accepts his fate. Macbeth changes because of the guilt he feels from killing Duncan. He also changes because of the power he gets from being king. Macbeth’s changes show us that power can corrupt even the best of men.


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