Macbeth - Man or Monster

Macbeth is a play written by Shakespeare about an ambitious general in Scotland who is tempted by fate to be king. He becomes king by murdering the current king, Duncan. As the tale progresses, Macbeth becomes more paranoid and begins to think everyone is after him and his crown. I believe Macbeth is a man, not a monster, because he is ambitious, feels guilt, and is tempted by knowledge of the future.

To begin with, Macbeth is ambitious. He is traveling with his best friend, Banquo, when he encounters three weird sisters (witches) who begin to tell his future. They proclaim he will be Thane of Cawdor as well as king of Scotland. The witches tell Banquo that he will not be king, but he will be the father of many kings. Soon there after, two men come bearing the news that Macbeth is to be named Thane of Cawdor because the current Thane was found guilty of treason. Macbeth thinks to himself, “Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor. The greatest is [still to come]” (1.3.17-18). This shows that he is happy that he is Thane of Cawdor. However, he is still ambitious and feels that the best is yet to come for him. This is shown by the fact that immediately after he is made Thane of Cawdor, he begins to turn his thoughts to being king.

In addition, Macbeth feels guilt. After he murders King Duncan he says “I'll go no more. I am afraid to think what I have done. Look on 't again, I dare not” (2.2.49-51). This shows that he does not want to put back the daggers into the king's room because he will have to see what he did again. He feels guilty that he killed the king who had been so nice to him. His wife, Lady Macbeth, ends up having to go to frame the servants for murder because Macbeth will not go back into King Duncan's room.

Another factor that shows Macbeth is a man is the fact that he is tempted by the knowledge of the future. When Macbeth goes to the witches again to find out more of his prophecy he says, “ I conjure you, by that which you profess, however you come to know I, answer me… answer me to what I ask you” (4.1.50-61). This shows that he wants to know the future. He only wants to hear good, he is deaf to the bad. He also takes things literally, such as when he is told that he will not me defeated until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill. He knows that the forest cannot move on its own. He believes it will never happen. But it does happen when the English soldiers hold a bough of wood in front of themselves to hide their numbers.

In conclusion, Macbeth is a man cause he is ambitious, feels guilt, and is tempted by knowledge of the future. He feels perfectly human things like guilt and ambition which drive him to do terrible things like murdering King Duncan and his best friend Banquo. In the end however, he is simply a man who made several bad decisions.


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