William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth

Macbeth is the main character of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, and he is depicted as a Scottish soldier who leads the battalion of the then King of Scotland, King Duncan. The author initially paints him as a valiant soldier and a man capable of combat, as revealed by a captain in his testimony of valor on the battlefield (Shakespeare, William 14). But, Macbeth's character abruptly transforms when he meets the three witches, who modify his perspective on his destiny as a ruler in Scotland. He was wholly consumed by his ambition to become a king of the country shortly and thus contributing to an increment in his courage. Though he was loaded with self-doubt, the word of the witches encouraged him and brought him joy but at the same time injected an inner battle with his conscience after he was forced by his wife and circumstances to execute heinous crimes (Shakespeare, William 17). Therefore, self-doubt, ambition, and bravery are the three dominant character traits of Macbeth that are revealed throughout the play. He is ambitious to overthrow his king and does his level best to eliminate his rightful successors to inherit the crown. However, he is subjected to guilt that haunts him till his last days since he lacked the strength of character (Shakespeare, William 15). The major crimes he committed during his lifetime tainted his image as a strong leader and is seen as an irrevocable evil king who whose actions lead to his demise in the battle.

Before Macbeth murdered the king, he is haunted by feelings of resistance, but the intervention of his wife gave him the courage to carry out the plan. After the murder, he is left alone to deal with the consequences of the crime as his wife began to disintegrate in her strong personality and could no longer provide the much needed moral support to Macbeth (Shakespeare, William 20). To secure his throne and eliminate all the potential threats to his kingship, Macbeth carried out a series of murders that led to moments of terrible regret as shown when the ghost of his victim Banquo appeared (Bradley, A. C. 6). After the death of his wife, Macbeth began to succumb to despair. His ambitions encourage him to murder on his way up, and he consoles himself in attempt to retain happiness as a murderer. At the end of the play, Macbeth seems to acknowledge his fate and decided to die a warrior, and his bravery is revealed when he decided to fight the English army that had gathered at his gates. He has a fatal confidence in the prophecy of the witches who had promised him never to be slain by a man born by a woman (Shakespeare, William 19). Macbeth gained his popularity from better performance in the battlefield, and when things were falling apart in his last days, he had the confidence that he will triumph and thought he was successful in the arena and that the internal turmoil would not affect him. Despite his inner trouble, Macbeth was strong enough not to contemplate suicide and decides to fight to his final breath and the play begins with him as a winner in the battle field but ends with the tragedy of him dying in a combat.

The two soliloquies in the play involving Macbeth are crucial in developing his character in addition to creating dramatic irony in the tragedy. Notably, they reveal his inner emotions and more profound thoughts before he embarked on his mission to kill King Duncan. After he finished discussing the details on how to execute the murder with his wife, he sat alone waiting for the signal from his wife during which he pondered over his decision to kill (Shakespeare, William 14). The monologue of the invincible dagger reveals the power of imagination that had engulfed his mind. The fantasy was high enough to bring him mental torment throughout the drama (Bradley, A. C. 9). The knife is apparently an optical illusion, and Macbeth is aware and was worried could lead him to an obsession with his brain. Nonetheless, his greed for power overcame his fears and gathered enough courage to commence the first crime in his quest for power (Shakespeare, William 10). The soliloquy presents a fear, timid, and ominous environment that makes Macbeth allude to natural evil through satanic images. Therefore, he portrays a world that is full of darkness and demonic control that causes people to carry out crimes against humanity including bloody murder that usually happens in the dark and perpetrator end up scot-free.

The goddess of witchcraft, Hecate, crowned the life of Macbeth and prepared her murder victims through the character. Before his courage was stifled by the weird thoughts, the illusion of his monologue was cut short by the bell which was a sign of swinging into action as they had planned earlier with his wife (Bradley, A. C. 13). Mainly, the signal was an indication from his wife that the chamberlains who used to guard the King were asleep and he was supposed to race away and kill him. The few moments of deliberation as revealed in the monologue could have changed Macbeth’s mind, but external pressures took the better part of him. Also, in the address, William Shakespeare employ biblical imagery to enhance the character of Macbeth. Macbeth acknowledges that although he was alone and no one was there to witness his potential crime, the heavens and the earth knows it all (Shakespeare, William 18). His words are similar to the words spoken by Job in the Bible who indicates that the heavens shall declare his wickedness and the ground shall rise against him. Additionally, Macbeth is aware that he is about to send King Duncan to face his judgment before God. The issue alludes to the concept in the bible in the book of Mathew that the son of man will come to judge and all the nations shall gather before him.

The talk also happens at night depicting the dark events that shall occur to the King. The lines of the monologue are appropriately structured to portray stage psychology that shifts to mental disturbance from transparency where there are three alarms where in between, Macbeth appeals to the physical senses of the world (Shakespeare, William 19). In the end, he surrenders to his thoughts of desire and the dream of becoming a king strengthens in him and the last line of the monologue indicates that he personified himself with death as he approached the chamber of the king and stealthily advanced towards his potential victim (Elroy, Bernard Mc 94). The author changes the tone of the monologue from classical illusion to that of a high rhetoric to depict the use of language of Macbeth prepare for the murder. There is a strange difference between the words and the deeds of the character in his last line of the monologue (Shakespeare, William 12). Therefore, the consequent actions of the Macbeth are different from the words as he ponders on the afterlife of Duncan. Accordingly, the murder was not easy for him to execute but his conscience was defeated by his temptation of clinching the top seat of the land. The killing transformed him as he became ruthless afterward, a trait that was opposite to that of his wife.

The second monologue involving Macbeth is entitled “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.” The soliloquy takes place after the death of Lady Macbeth, and the author uses the apostrophe to insinuate that Macbeth was struck suddenly by the suicide of his wife. As a result, he comes into a reality of recognizing the ephemeral and fragile nature of the existence of human life and the words represent the strange moments of his life (Elroy, Bernard Mc 94). The speech depicts the depressing minutes of the end of human mortality in addition to what one leaves behind after death. The author through the character reveals that nothing is left of a person after he or she dies. Macbeth asserts that all his efforts to become king and to retain his kingdom through unleashing terror to all those who proved to challenge his kingship were in vain (Shakespeare, William 14). Therefore, the temporal nature of existence would ensure that his memory dies with him on the battlefield. He describes his life as a tale that is told by an idiot. Consequently, his existence did not have any real meaning and it does not matter the struggle that one goes through in life to achieve greatness. Once a person dies, everything that he or she has fought for in ages goes with him or her after death. The issue makes Macbeth regret his actions deeply, but he decided to soldier and fight for his life. The title of the monologue illustrates the hope that ‘Tomorrow’ will be a better day than the present and that there will come a time when all the atrocities in the world will come to an end. The comeback of Macduff and Malcolm symbolizes a new beginning for the people of Scotland and marks the end of an autocratic reader who was not popular with the people (Shakespeare, William 18). Also, from the monologue, it was clear that nothing last forever and through the words of Macbeth, the audience learns that one can take many years to amass wealth, but all can crumble within a blink of an eye.

The reason behind the reasoning of Macbeth in his final hours was fueled by the issue that he has no heir and that his leadership had no one to inherit and that all that he gained would eventually be lost. After Macduff and Malcom stormed the castle, his reign was precarious as there was no one to either avenge his death or even secure his kinship from his apparent enemies (Hoeniger, F. David, and Dieter Mehl 112). In his tenure as a king, Macbeth sacrificed his morals and sanity to gain political favor and also at the expense of his family and friends. The terrible things he did culminate in a short spell on the throne, and it vividly evaporated upon his untimely death. To write the soliloquy, William Shakespeare used a different speech printing technique known as iambic pentameter where some lines have an apparent feminine end with a total of eleven beats. The method is helpful in creating a specific rhythm which provides a highlight of the hopelessness experienced by Macbeth that does not warrant passing on to the following day or future (Shakespeare, William 12). Also, the beat depicts the march of the soldiers to kill Macbeth and the repetition of the word ‘tomorrow’ gives the impression of the progression of time which leads to his death that results to nothing. Death signifies the return to dust which mostly has no meaning. The killing of Duncan to secure his position seems not the way Macbeth wanted to go, but just like the tale of an idiot, his life was full of melodrama and bombasts.

Also, the monologue depicts the meaningless, empty, and useless nature of life and every day passes just like any other day until death. The death of Macbeth’s wife was a burden that he was not able to tolerate and he sees future as a significant force that would ultimately lead to his destiny (Shakespeare, William 21). Notably, the future he envisaged was entirely different from the kind of life he and wife lived. He fantasized of a prosperous future that was conventional, but everything changed when he murdered King Duncan (Hoeniger, F. David, and Dieter Mehl 112). Therefore, after the death of his spouse, Macbeth felt his future was hopeless, empty, and tedious and life seemed unbelievably short. Additionally, the love that Macbeth had for his wife was enormous, and that was the reason behind the emptiness after her demise. Remarkably, all the trajectory that his life took was primarily contributed by his wife who encouraged and supported him to carry out the killings and helped him to come into terms with the evil ways of their lives. However, at one point, his firm pillar of hope, Lady Macbeth, also became overwhelmed by the many sins they had committed, and she too gave in to mental torture. Her inability to conceal the grave hurting secrets anymore made her insane resulting in her death which perplexed her husband. The death of a loved one results in feelings of depression and despair which might, in the end, make the affected person make poor choices. He was distraught over suicide, and he was disappointed after learning that his wife died out of taking away her own life (Shakespeare, William 13). The words of the monologue indicate that Macbeth’s life was boring and that his end times were near and to him, the concept of living lost its meaning thus he sees no point to live. Therefore, the author uses the soliloquy to pass the message of despair in times of trouble and that death ultimately results to waste of life.

Macbeth is a warrior according to Duncan and he was not aware that his death would be caused by him. The prophecy was a mere fallacy, but it resulted to the change of the politics of the country, and despite Macbeth being the Thane of Cawdor he does not embrace his title but pursues to make a reality the words of the three witches (Shakespeare, William 17). After receiving the news, he was stunned into silence but is quite disturbed by the prophecy of his colleague Banquo who was to father a line of kings though himself would never be a king (Padelford, Frederick Morgan 112). After his crowning as the Thane of Cawdor, the first prophecy comes to pass and immediately began to work on materializing the second prediction. The three witches new that Macbeth had led the army to victory in the war and that had the knowledge that he will be granted the title by the King. They used trickery to gain favor from him, and the egocentric nature of his wife helped him to execute the evil plan. After the death of King Duncan, he ensured that the immediate family including his wife and son ran into exile leaving him as the next of kin to inherit the kingdom. His thought of not being king made him eliminate all the potential allies and friends who seemed strong to overthrow him. The use of the apostrophes enables the reader to enter the mind of Macbeth and study his way of doing things and thinking (Shakespeare, William 21). Deep inside, he was a brave and harmless warrior who fought and defended his country with his might and different tactics on the battlefield. However, the thought of his wife as the queen of the land poisoned his mind, and he sought to use unconventional methods to ascend to power. Lady Macbeth provided him with a plan that had no lasting peace in his life.

After killing his King, Macbeth began a life of mental torture, and he never enjoyed the peace and marked the beginning of his fall as a champion of the nation. The death of Duncan by the sword is replicated in his demise when his head is cut off by Macduff. He purposed to end Banquo’s line of kingship, and as a result, he assassinated him, but his son fled to exile (Shakespeare, William 15). The sons of Duncan and Macduff organized an army in exile to oust Macbeth from power, and they succeeded in carrying out the revenge mission and eventually restored lawlessness to the country (Shakespeare, William 23). The appearance of Banquo’s ghost illustrates the torment Macbeth went through after executing his serial murders, an issue that led him to the point of paranoia of killing anyone opposed to his leadership. Outstandingly, he forced the second prophecy to materialize, but the third one did not as he was eventually killed (Shakespeare, William 15). Throughout the tragedy, Macbeth’s character traits remained the same especially after killing the king and died protecting what he believed was his destiny. Macbeth died fighting for a world order he had created which he knew well that it was wrong and weak.


Bradley, A. C. "“LECTURE IX: MACBETH”." 2017,.

Bradley, A. C. "“LECTURE X: MACBETH”." 2017,.

Elroy, Bernard Mc. "Macbeth." Shakespeare Quarterly, vol 40, no. 1, 2014, p. 94. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/2870757.

Hoeniger, F. David, and Dieter Mehl. "Shakespeare's Tragedies: An Introduction.." Shakespeare Quarterly, vol 40, no. 1, 2015, p. 112. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/2870764.

Padelford, Frederick Morgan. "Macbeth The Thane And Macbeth The Regicide.." Modern Language Notes, vol 16, no. 4, 2015, p. 112. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/2917901.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Irvine, Saddleback Educational Pub., 2006,.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. London, William C. Carroll, 2013,.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price