Macbeth is presented as a mature man of definitely
established character, successful in certain fields of
activity and enjoying an enviable reputation. We must not
conclude, there, that all his volitions and actions are
predictable; Macbeth's character, like any other man's at a
given moment, is what is being made out of potentialities
plus environment, and no one, not even Macbeth himself, can
know all his inordinate self-love whose actions are
discovered to be-and no doubt have been for a long time-
determined mainly by an inordinate desire for some temporal
or mutable good.
Macbeth is actuated in his conduct mainly by an
inordinate desire for worldly honors; his delight lies
primarily in buying golden opinions from all sorts of people.
But we must not, therefore, deny him an entirely human
complexity of motives. For example, his fighting in Duncan's
service is magnificent and courageous, and his evident joy in
it is traceable in art to the natural pleasure which
accompanies the explosive expenditure of prodigious physical
energy and the euphoria which follows.
He also rejoices no
doubt in the success which crowns his efforts in battle - and
so on. He may even conceived of the proper motive which
should energize back of his great deed:
The service and the loyalty I owe,
In doing it, pays itself.
But while he destroys the king's enemies, such motives work
but dimly at best and are obscured in his consciousness by
more vigorous urges. In the main, as we have said, his nature
violently demands rewards: he fights valiantly in order that
he may be reported in such terms a 'valour's minion' and
'Bellona's bridegroom'' he values success because it brings
spectacular fame and new titles and royal favor heaped upon
him in public. Now so long as these mutable...