MacBeth - Character Changes

"This dead butcher and his fiend like queen", is the way in which

Malcolm describes Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Describe the way in which
these two characters changed during the course of the play.

At the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen as a courageous
soldier who is loyal to the King but is corrupted from the witches
prophecies and by his and Lady Macbeth’s ambition. This is because of
the weakness of Macbeth’s character and the strong power of Lady

Macbeth and how she is easily able to influence him. Her strength
motivates him at the start but after he realises what he has done it
is himself that continues in his murderous, bloody path. At the
beginning of the play Lady Macbeth appears as a kind wife of Macbeth’s
but underneath lies a scheming and treacherous woman.

In the beginning of the play Macbeth is a strong soldier who
fights for the King without mercy but his strive for ambition and his
curious nature leads him to the witches who give him a prophecy.

Banquo realises that there must be a trick hidden in the witches
prophecies somewhere but Macbeth refuses to accept that, and when Lady

Macbeth finds out about the witches her strong desire for ambition and
her cold nature leads Macbeth astray. Macbeth is a little ambitious
at first, but Lady Macbeth’s far exceeds his and so she is able to get

Macbeth to agree with her to kill King Duncan. Macbeth still has a
conscience at this stage because he is very hesitant about killing the

King but his weak nature over comes him. He has a conscience
throughout the entire play as this is seen by the hallucinations of
the dagger and the ghost of Banquo and his vivid imagination and his
constant worry also provokes him. This is also evident in his
terrible dreams which gives the solid theme that he has indeed"murdered sleep".

Throughout the play we see the character of Macbeth change not
from just the way he thinks and what we hear from the play, but from
the actions he takes in the play, from killing Banquo, then having

Lady Macduff and her children murdered, shows the insecurity that was
present in Macbeth. After the murder of Duncan Macbeth becomes
paranoid and his first step of killing the guards is one of many that

Macbeth takes to secure himself. Macbeth is also very superstitious
and this is shown when he believes the prophecy the witches told him
that Banquo’s offspring would become Kings.

Towards the end of the play when Macbeth’s wife has died and
the battle is drawing closer Macbeth shows some good which may have
been. He wishes for a normal life for which he would have lived to an
honourable age but he recognises that he has denied himself of this.

Even when Macbeth hears that the prophecy has become true of Birnam

Wood coming to Dunsinane, he rejects this idea and fights on until he
realises that Macduff wasn’t born in a natural birth but instead was

"Untimely ripped" from his mother’s womb. When Macbeth hears of this
he realises what he has done and how he has been tricked by the
witches but instead he realises that it is useless and so he fights on
only to be slain.

Macbeth can be summarised into a character although strong
physically he is very weak mentally and it is this weakness which
causes the downfall and change of Macbeth. Other factors do however
also contribute to this change such as his wife whose ambition is very
strong at first and is much more stronger mentally than Macbeth but it
is also Macbeth’s ambition and his trust in the witches which
ultimately change him.

Lady Macbeth seems to be almost opposite compared to that of

Macbeth in physical and mental power. Lady Macbeth is the person who
is able to persuade Macbeth into killing Duncan, assuring Macbeth that
it will succeed, as Lady Macbeth’s ambition is far greater than that
of Macbeth. This change in the character of Lady Macbeth is apparent
after she reads the letter from Macbeth as she goes and talks to the
evil spirits to make herself evil with lines such as "Fill me from the
crown to the toe-top full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood".

She goes to the extent of planning the murder of Duncan and assumes
full responsibility of this. She exerts a lot of power over Macbeth
in this part of the play and even calls him a