Can Macbeth be held responsible for his own actions, or was he influences through other forces.

Essay by aisha_j786C+, March 2004

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For nearly four hundred years, Shakespeare's work has been entertaining the public not just because of the beauty of the poetry but its relevance to today's society. During the course of the tragedy, 'Macbeth', we see power corrupting a heroic figure and making him a vicious, sinful tyrant. In today's culture, we see this happening to popular figures in other countries like Stalin in Russia. At the beginning of the play, we see Macbeth as having a reputation for heroism and he is known for his courageousness. By the end of the last act, he is described as a 'dead butcher'. At first, I sympathised with Macbeth because the witches and Lady Macbeth were influencing him. Also, because of his loyalty to the King and his fierce combat skills. Even so, I realised as the play went on that he had to be held responsible for his own actions and that no one else can take the blame.

There were many times in the play when I was tempted to take Macbeth's side and sympathise with him. At the beginning of the play, for example, his brave and dauntless qualities were particularly obvious. It was Macbeth who saved Duncan's rule during the battle, which caused him to be praised by King Duncan and other nobles as 'brave Macbeth' and 'worthy gentleman'.

Even more importantly, king Duncan rewarded him for his loyalty by giving him the title of the man who he defeated, the Thane of Cawdor. Lady Macbeth's criticisms also gave me proof of Macbeth's good nature. She describes him as, 'too full of the milk of human kindness', and perhaps too gentle to grasp the opportunity to kill the King while he is in Macbeth's castle.

Similarly, I feel sympathetic towards Macbeth because of the temptations and influences...