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Do you Believe that Macbeth is a Complete Villain or Does he have Some Redeeming Qualities?

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At the beginning of the play Macbeth has a lot of good qualities like he is very loyal towards his king. This is shown by how, on the battlefield, Macbeth hunts down Macdonwald, who is a Scottish traitor, and “unseams him from the nave to the chaps.” This also shows Macbeth patriotism, as he is disgusted at how someone could betray their own country. Another way in which Macbeth shows his patriotism is when he put his life on the line for Scotland during battle. Macbeth wins the battle for his king and country, with Banquo by his side, by fighting like:

“cannons overcharged with double cracks.” The captain talks about Macbeth as “Valour’s minion.” The captain has personified courage and then has said that Macbeth is the slave of it. The captain also calls him “brave Macbeth.” Rosse describes Macbeth as “Bellona’s bridegroom.” He says this because Bellona is the Goddess of war and Rosse is saying that Macbeth battled with such passion and greatness that he is worthy of being her husband. King Duncan says a lot of good things about Macbeth, like “worthy gentlemen”, “valiant cousin”, and “noble Macbeth.” Duncan also says:

“More is thy due that more than more than all can pay.” This means that Duncan cannot give Macbeth enough for what he has done for himself, Duncan, and Scotland. Duncan refers to how good Macbeth is in battle as well, by saying:

“peerless kinsman.” Duncan is saying that Macbeth is a kinsman that no one can match in battle. Duncan also stays at Macbeth’s house, as it was a great honour for a king to stay at your house. It also shows how much Duncan trusts Macbeth. Duncan also shows how fond he is of Macbeth by making him Thane of Cawdor. However Macbeth says that protecting his King and country is its own reward:

“The service and the loyalty I owe,

In doing it, pays itself,” which shows how much he loves Duncan and Scotland at the beginning of the play. Macbeth also loves Lady Macbeth. We know this because he says “my dearest partner”, and “my dearest love.” Also, later on in the play, Lady Macbeth accuses Macbeth of being:

“too full o’ the milk of human kindness,” when she wants to kill Duncan. She says this because, at the beginning of the play Macbeth is such a good man that he wouldn’t even think of doing the deed. Banquo, at the beginning of the play, is Macbeth’s best friend. This reflects on Macbeth as usually good people attract good people, as do bad attract bad, as so, because Banquo is such a good man them Macbeth must also be one.

When Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches they are both very bold and courageous. They are also very confident. When they tell Macbeth the second prophesy Macbeth appears to be scared. Banquo notices his reaction and says:

“Good sir, why do you start,

and seem to fear

Things that do sound so fair?” Banquo is asking him why his is scared of the good things that the witches have said. I think that it is because Macbeth thinks that the witches have read his mind. Banquo sees that the witches are evil and knows that they might tell the truth in trivial matters but lye in bigger ones:

“But ‘t is strange:

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,

The instruments of darkness tell us truths,

Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s

In deepest consequence.” Banquo is also sceptical about the witches. Banquo turns away from evil where as Macbeth doesn’t. After that Rosse and Angus tell Macbeth that he has been made Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth is then thinking if the prophase about him becoming king is true. Then, when Banquo says that he is waiting for him Macbeth tells his first lye in the play. He says that he wasn’t thinking about becoming but that he was thinking about past things:

“Give me your favour: my dull brain

was wrought

With things forgotten.” After this, for the first time we feel that Macbeth isn’t as virtuous as he first appeared. After Rosse and Angus leave Macbeth and Banquo go to see Duncan. Duncan then makes a very important decision. He names his successor, Malcolme. Macbeth reacts with evil thoughts to this because he thought that he would be named as Duncan’s successor and that that was how the witches prophesy would come true. He thinks:

“The Prince of Cumberland! – This is a step

On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,

For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires!

Let not light see my black and deep desires;

The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be,

Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.”

Macbeth rides home and when he meets with Lady Macbeth she has decided that they are going to kill Duncan. Macbeth’s reaction to this is an unsure one. He says:

“We will speak further.” His reaction is unsure because he still has a conscience. We know this because he gives himself reasons for not doing the deed. The reasons are that he is afraid that he won’t get away with it:

“If it were done when ‘t is done, then ‘t were well

It were done quickly: if the 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,

But here upon this bank and shoal of time,

We’d jump the life to come, – But, in these cases,

We still have judgement here.” He is the king’s cousin. We know this because the king says “valiant cousin.” Duncan is a good king:

“So clear in his great office.” The king is a guest at his house and so Macbeth should protect him, not hurt him. Duncan respects Macbeth, which makes other men respect him:

“He hath honoured me of late; and I have bought

Golden opinions from all sorts of people.” She gets him to do the deed by saying that she will measure his love for her by whether or not he kills Duncan:

“From this time

Such I account thy love.” Also she calls him a coward if he doesn’t do it:

“I dare do all that may become a man;

Who dares do more is none” I think that Macbeth is only partly to blame for the death of Duncan because the witches and Lady Macbeth both tried to make him do it but Macbeth was the one who did do it. When he is on his way to kill Duncan he sees Banquo and Fleance. Banquo wants to talk about the witches as he can’t sleep at night because of the bad dreams and so he prays instead. Macbeth doesn’t want to talk about them and so he lies to Banquo again. He says “I think not of them.”

After Macbeth has killed Duncan he is evil. However he is still not a complete villain. We know this because, as a result of killing him his mind has become troubled. He is troubled by a couple of things. One thing that’s troubling him is that he thinks that he heard a voice saying:

“Sleep no more

Macbeth does murder sleep” Macbeth himself acknowledges that the innocent sleep and he knows that he isn’t innocent know more:

“the innocent sleep.” He also thinks that he heard Donalbain say “murder.” An when they, Malcolme and Donalbain, say there prayers Macbeth cannot say Amen. This also haunts him. He is also troubled by the blood on his hands and isn’t willing to put the daggers back and so Lady Macbeth has to do it. When Lenox and Macduff knock the door to wake the king Macbeth wishes that the knocking would wake Duncan:

“Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst!” This shows that Macbeth regrets what he did. After this Macbeth continues to deceive others. He puts his night clothes on to pretend that he has been in bed at the time of the murder:

“Get on your night-gown, lest occasion call us,

And show us to be watchers.” He pretends to be outraged by Duncan’s murder:

“O! yet I do repent me of my fury

That I did kill them.” He over exaggerates to the extent that Lady Macbeth has to pretend faint to draw attention away from it:

“Here lay Duncan,

His silver skin laced with his golden blood;

And his gashed stabs looked like a breach of nature

For ruin’s wasteful entrance.” He also acts grief stricken. Macbeth then kills again. He kills the guards who were with Duncan, in his room, when Macbeth murdered him. After that Macbeth is made king. However he isn’t content with this because Banquo is still alive. He wants him dead for two reasons. One is that one of Banquos children is going to be king and Macbeth doesn’t want to be damned for all eternity for Banquos sake:

“And, with thy bloody and invisible hand,

Cancel, and tear to pieces, that great bond

Which keeps me pale!” The other is that Macbeth knows that Banquo wouldn’t hesitate in telling the truth if he was sure that Macbeth had done something wrong, and he is the only other person, except for Lady Macbeth, that knows about their meeting with the witches. Banquos murder is different from all of the other ones because Macbeth hasn’t told Lady Macbeth that he is going to do it, and he didn’t actually do it himself. On the night of Banquos death Macbeth is holding a banquet to celebrate his carnation. Macbeth pretends that Banquo is still coming when he knows that he is dead and twice wishes that he were there. On both occasions Banquos ghost appeared but only Macbeth could see it. The ghost had “gory locks” and “twenty mortal murders” on his head. Macbeth seeing the ghost reminds us of him seeing the floating dagger before he went to murder Duncan. Macbeth still has a conscience and guilt, so he isn’t completely evil yet. Macbeth is an evil man as he has committed many murders and keeps a spy in everyone of his Lords houses.

Macduff personifies Scotland says that it is bleeding:

“Bleed, bleed, poor country.” Macbeth decides whether or not he is going to kill any more. He says:

“I am in blood

Stepped in so far, that, should I wade no more,

Returning were as tedious as go o’er,” and so he decides to kill more as he thinks that the murdering will get easier as he does it more:

“We are yet but young in deed.” Macbeth then goes out and seeks the witches, where as last time them looked for him. He is also linked to him in the ways that he talks. He talks in their language:

“I conjure you.” Macbeth’s language is also linked to them at the beginning of the play when he says:

“So foul and fair a day I have not seen,” and they say:

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” When he meets with the witches he is shown three apparitions. They are a head wearing a helmet, a bloody child and a crowned child with a branch in his hand. After the apparitions have talked to him, Macbeth feels invincible. To get revenge from Macbeth kills Lady Macduff and her children. Macbeth has also decided that from this point he will act on impulse:

“From this moment

The very firstlings of my heart shall be

The firstlings of my hand.” I would now call Macbeth a complete villain because he is killing people who pose no threat to him and who are innocent.

At the end of the play Macbeth knows that he is going to die want wants to do it on the battlefield, as a warrior. Macbeth recognizes his own evil when he hears a women cry and it doesn’t scare him, where as at the beginning of the play it would of. He says:

“I have almost forgotten the taste of fears.” When he finds out that Lady Macbeth has died hr doesn’t care. He says:

“She should of died hereafter.” Macduff says:

“thou bloodier villain

Than terms can give thee out!”

At the end of the play Macbeth only has one heroic quality. That’s his courage, even though he is fighting to saving himself. That reminds us of the potential for greatness that Macbeth had at the beginning of the play. Now he has thrown it all away. All that Macbeth did throughout the play was a waste, as he achieved nothing. All he did was lose things, like his life, eternal life, his wife, friends, respect and honour. At the end of the play he is a “dead butcher.”

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