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Essay/Term paper: Macbeth

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Macbeth

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Macbeth by William Shakespeare has three characters that appear to be the best developed. The first is Macbeth, the main character of the story. The second most developed character is Lady Macbeth, Macbeth"s wife. The third most well developed is Banquo, Macbeth"s friend. Banquo and Lady Macbeth play very important roles in Macbeth"s life.

Macbeth is plagued with paranoia and a thirst for power. Macbeth fears that Banquo has discovered his unclean hands and he will turn him in. "Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared. "Tis he much dares…" (III, 3, 53-56) Macbeth knows that he could wipe out Banquo on his own, however he knows there would be obvious consequences for him. "And though I could with barefaced power sweep him from my sit and bid my will avouch it, yet I must not, for certain friends that are both his and mine…" (III, 1, 134-137) In order for Macbeth to wipe out Banquo without suspicion, he schemes to have other men take care of the matter by convincing them that Banquo is at the heart of their problems. "Know that it was he, in times past, which held you so under fortune, which you thought had been our innocent self." (III, 1, 84-86) Macbeth"s desire for power is his downfall.

The development of all three characters stems from the prophecies of the Weird Sisters about Macbeth and Banquo. Macbeth feels the need to murder Banquo because of his knowledge of the witches and their prophecies. "Were such things here that we do speak about? Or have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner" (I, 3, 86-88) As a result of the prophecies Banquo suspects Macbeth of murdering the king in order to take his place. "Thou hast it now King, Cawdor, Glamis, all as the weird women promised, and fear thou play"st most foully for"t" (III, 1, 1-3) Banquo believes that his children and not Macbeth"s will be successors to the throne; the thought of this moves Macbeth to murder. "But that I myself should be the root an father of many kings…May they not be my oracles as well" (III, 1, 5-9) Banquo"s death is a result of his knowledge.

Lady Macbeth is the rock for Macbeth. During Macbeth"s times of trouble she is the one to console him. "How now, my lord, why do you keep alone, of sorriest fancies your companions making, using those thoughts which should indeed have died with them they think on? Things without remedy should be without regard. What"s done is done." (III, 2, 10-15) Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are holding a dinner the night of Banquo"s murder, and Lady Macbeth tries to help Macbeth pull himself together for his guests after he has seen the ghost of Banquo and goes into a fit. "O, these flaws and starts, imposters to true fear, would well become a woman"s story at a winter"s fire, authorized by her grandam. Shame itself! Why do you make such faces? When all is done you look on a stool." (III, 4, 76-81) When Lady Macbeth realizes that Macbeth cannot be calmed from his fit, she tries to cover him and hurries guests out. "I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse. Questions enrage him. At once, good night. Stand not upon the order of you going, but go at once" (III, 4, 144-147) Lady Macbeth complements Macbeth with her sanity in his state of insanity.

William Shakespeare"s Macbeth is based on three characters that spin a story web around themselves. These characters are Macbeth, the main character; Banquo, the friend turned enemy in the eyes of Macbeth; and Lady Macbeth, his wife and support. These characters are all developed in the fact that they all have some influence over the actions of Macbeth. Macbeth"s own insecurities drive him slowly toward insanity; Banquo drives Macbeth to murder him because of his knowing about the prophecies made by the weird sisters; Lady Macbeth tries to be the rock for her husband while dealing with her own unhappiness of being queen. As the characters develop, the plot thickens and the story advances.


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