Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Toward the end of the play, he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness.
Macbeth, great warrior though he is, is ill equipped for the psychic consequences of crime. Before he kills Duncan, Macbeth is plagued by worry and almost aborts the crime. It takes Lady Macbeth’s steely sense of purpose to push him into the deed.
Lady Macbeth learns of the witches' prophecies, and she worries Macbeth won't take the steps necessary to make himself king. Duncan is coming to spend the night at the castle, so she plots Duncan's death. Lady Macbeth welcomes Duncan to the castle. Macbeth has second thoughts about murdering Duncan.
Macbeth is a brave soldier and a powerful man, but he is not a virtuous one. He is easily tempted into murder to fulfill his ambitions to the throne, and once he commits his first crime and is crowned King of Scotland, he embarks on further atrocities with increasing ease.
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Macbeth represents a classic tragedy in that its protagonist travels down a dark path of treachery and violence that inevitably leads to his own downfall and death. Like the protagonists in other classic tragedies, Macbeth is a politically noteworthy figure.
Macbeth: Allusions | SparkNotes. Examples of the significant historical, political, cultural, literary and/or religious references in Macbeth. Search all of SparkNotesSearch. Suggestions. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. 1984.