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...