Macbeth: Character Analysis

Macbeth – Impressions from the beginning, from the battlefield -> was a brave + capable warrior – Once seen with the witches -> Very ambitious w/ extreme desires to power. Self-doubt as he hesitates to kill Duncan- Before Duncan’s murder, he was plagued with worry + abort the plans -> LM pushes him into the deed- Later, too ambitious that he would kill anything threats his throne, many lives have to pay for this- However at the end, he did not choose to suicide -> goes down to fight=> Shakespeare used Macbeth to show the terrible effects of ambition (along with guilt) can have on a man who lacks strength of character
Lady Macbeth – Frightening female character- First impression: she has already plotting Duncan’s murder- She’s stronger, more ruthless + more ambitious than her husband. Fully aware as she knows she’ll have to push Macbeth to commit murder. Also wishes she is not female to do this herself- Macbeth implies that LM = masculine soul that inhabiting a feminine body -> this links masculinity with cruelty + violence + ambitious- Manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness (when he hesitates to murder, she repeatedly question his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself)- Towards the end, slow slides into madness – as ambition affects her stronger than Macbeth at the beginning -> Guilt plague her more strongly after that – Once the sense of guilt comes to roots, LM’s sensitivity becomes weakness -> unable to cope -> kills herself => signalling her inability to deal with the consequences of their crimes=> Women can be as ambitious + cruel as men – Social constraints deny them the means to pursue these ambitions on their own
The Three Witches – Dark thoughts + unconscious temptations to evil- Mischief causes stems from their supernatural powers. But mainly, it is the result of their understanding of the weakness in human – they play on Macbeth’s ambition- Features: beards, bizarre potions + rhyme speeches- Toying with human lives/ fates. Some of the prophecies = self-fulfilling (explain how Macbeth gotta do all the killing to become King)=> Embody unreasoning, instinctive evil