MacBeth - Attitude Changes

In the tragic drama Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare in 1606 during the English Renaissance, the hero, Macbeth, constantly
declines in his level of morality until his death at the end of the
play. Because of his change of character from good to evil, Macbeth\'s
attitude towards other characters, specifically Duncan, Banquo, Lady

Macbeth, and the witches, is significantly affected.

The first of the four characters is Duncan. Since Macbeth
interacts with Duncan only a minimal amount before Duncan\'s death,

Macbeth\'s attitude towards him changes very rapidly. Before Macbeth
hears the witches\' first prophecy, he is very close to Duncan, and
would never even think of doing something against him. When the
thought of murdering Duncan crosses his mind immediately after he
finds that he has just been named Thane of Cawdor, he cannot believe
he "yield[s] to that suggestion / Whose horrid image doth unfix my
hair / And make my seated heart knock at my ribs" (I, iii, 133-35). In
scene 5 of act 1, however, his "vaulting ambition" is starting to take
over, but partly because of his wife\'s persuasion. He agrees that they
must "catch the nearest way" (17), and kill Duncan that night. On the
other hand, as the time for murder comes nearer, he begins
giving himself reasons not to murder Duncan:

First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,

Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,

Who should against his murderer shut the door,

Not bear the knife myself.
(I, vii, 13-16)

When Lady Macbeth enters, though, she uses her cunning rhetoric
and pursuasion techniques to convince Macbeth that this is, beyond the
shadow of a doubt, the right thing to do. He then tells her that "I am
settled." (79). He is firmly seated in his beliefs that killing Duncan
is the right thing to do-until he performs the murder. He is so
horrified by this act that for a moment he forgets where he is or whom
he is with. We learn from this murder that Macbeth truly had faith in
the king and was very loyal, but under the forces of his wife\'s
persuasion and his own vaulting ambition, he is put in the evil frame
of mind for just long enough to kill Duncan. This murder does
permanently alter him from his moral state of mind, however, and he
soon does not feel much remorse for murdering Duncan.

The Second of the four characters towards whom Macbeth\'s
attitude changes is Banquo. Before he murders Duncan, Macbeth is a
very close friend to Banquo, and they are almost always together.

After the murder, however, Macbeth senses suspicion on Banquo\'s part.

He realizes that Banquo\'s "wisdom that doth guide his valour / To act
in safety" (52-53) will cause Banquo to want to turn Macbeth in for
his crime. Macbeth knows he must also get rid of Banquo since,
according to the prophecy, the throne will pass to Banquo\'s sons
otherwise. Macbeth starts showing his extreme hatred towards Banquo
while he is convincing the two murderers that killing him is right:

Macb: Both of you

Know Banquo was your enemy.

Murderers: True, my lord.

Macb: So is he mine; and in such bloody distance

That every minute of his being thrusts

Against my near\'st of life;
(III, i, 114b-118)

Finally, Macbeth actually shows signs of relief when the murderer
calls him to the door during his banquet and tells him of

Banquo\'s death:

Macb: There\'s blood upon thy face.

Murderer: \'Tis Banquo\'s then.

Macb: \'Tis better thee without than he within.
(III, iv, 12-14)

Macbeth\'s last statement, "Tis . . . within", means that

Banquo\'s blood is better on the murderer than in Banquo, showing that

Macbeth is, in truth, happy that Banquo has been killed. the killing
of Banquo by Macbeth shows extreme selfishness; he cannot bear to see
even his best friend\'s sons succeed him on the throne. However, a more
important reason that Macbeth kills Banquo is because of Banquo\'s
suspicion of him, and what Banquo will do to him once he finds out for
sure that Macbeth has commited the murder of Duncan. One can see that

Macbeth becomes extremely harsh if he wants his way. He will go to
horrid extremes just so that he does not have to live his kingship in
fear, but instead "to be safely thus." (III, i, 49)

Lady Macbeth, the third character, interacts with Macbeth a
considerable amount, and influences him greatly. He and his wife as a
pair are dangerous because his ambition combined with her bloodiness
can cause fatal situations. In Macbeth\'s letter to his wife, he calls
her "my dearest partner of greatness" (I, v, 8), and