Analysis of Macbeth in Act One

Essay by drgnfly_0896High School, 12th grade April 2004

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In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, the character of Macbeth is a brave warrior, an ambitious man, but also a very indecisive man during the course of the first act. Macbeth is a mighty warrior who has just won a war for Scotland. He shows no mercy toward his enemies. Before the audience even meets Macbeth, a sergeant states that brave Macbeth met an enemy and "he unseamed him from the nave to the chops,/And fixed his head upon our battlements"(1.2.22). Macbeth is fearless in war and loyal to his country. During act one, it becomes apparent that Macbeth is also a very ambitious man. He and Banquo meet three witches who tell them bits of their future. They tell Macbeth that he will become thane of Cawdor and that he will one day be king. The news shocks Macbeth and he lapses into thought for a while. When Banquo questions what the witches did to his friend, they give him predictions as well.

Soon after the witches disappear, a messenger from the king finds the two and tells Macbeth "He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor:/In which addition, hail, most worthy thane,/For it is thine" (1.3.105). Macbeth realizes that the witches' prediction came true, and wonders if he should be king someday as well. King Duncan of Scotland, by appointing Macbeth thane of Cawdor, may have been promising him greater rewards. Duncan may have considered appointing Macbeth Prince of Cumberland, the next in line for King. Macbeth's ambition will not let him count on the possibility of becoming king in an honorable way. He instead considers the idea of murdering the king. Macbeth changes his mind several times in deciding whether or not to murder King Duncan in order to take his place. He considers that Duncan...