Macbeth Character profile: Macbeth

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  • Macbeth
    • ambition
      • starts the play as a hero, his ambition is his fatal flaw and he ends up a tyrant
      • tragic hero like in Aristotelian tragedies
      • Originally, Lady Macbeth was the dominant partner in the relationship, but as Macbeth's ambition grows, he takes control of the relationship, as was expected in the Jacobean era, to the extent he becomes patronising
        • 'Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck'
    • madness
      • Macbeth allows the weird sisters to control his mentality, they put the idea of king in his head and from this he becomes paranoid
        • 'All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!'
      • he lets his obsession of power lead him into a downward spiral of corruption
        • 'come, we'll to sleep. My strange and self abuse Is the initiate fear that wants hard use'
      • even before Macbeth commits the murder he hallucinates highlighting how he is not mentally able to cope with what the future holds, and he can't even handle the idea of committing the murder
        • 'I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which I now draw'
        • 'is this a dagger I see before me, the handle toward my hand? come, let me clutch thee
      • Macbeth's dreams are haunted by his actions, to the extent that he believes he has murdered his own sleep and the sleep of others
        • 'Macbeth doth murder sleep'
    • masculinity
      • Lady Macbeth challenges his masculinity in order to manipulate him into murdering Duncan
        • 'when you durst do it, then you were a man'
      • he is originally a brave hero admired by his peers, contrasting the opening of the play with his death due to foolishness and greed
        • 'For brave Macbeth - well he deserved that name'
      • he has always been excessively violent, foreshadows from the very beginning how he will end up
        • 'unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps'
      • Lady Macbeth questions whether he deserves what the weird sisters have claimed by mocking the idea that all men are brave by suggesting Macbeth is the exception to this idea
    • disruption of fate
      • Macbeth was never destined to be king, and his actions in order to do so disrupted nature's course, with a devastating effect.
        • 'new honours come upon him, like strange garments, cleave not to their mold'
        • 'now does he feel his title Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe Upon a dwarfish thief'
      • Macbeth enters the play having played a key part of a glorious victory, and his life comes full cycle as he approaches his death in his armour
        • 'give me my armour'
      • Macbeth has disrupted the flow of time, he describes it to now drag on day by day, to the extent that it pains him
        • 'tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day'
    • obsession for power
      • Macbeth knows that he must perform terrible deeds in order to obtain power, and although he struggles greatly with this decision, he ultimately commits regicide, then most sacrilegious sin due to the idea of the Divine Right of Kings.
        • 'stars hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires'
      • Macbeth's greed also stems from his wife, even more power desperate than him, and her pressurising ways drive Macbeth to do awful things in exchange for power, the thing that causes his madness
        • 'I will have blood; they say, blood will have blood'


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