MacBeth's Loss of Innoncence

1464 Words Jun 11th, 2004 6 Pages
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair." (Act I, Scene I, line 10) With this opening paradoxical quote, Shakespeare opens the tragedy of Macbeth. Macbeth is the tragic hero of this tragedy, as his ambitious actions place him in a downwards spiral until he loses everything that was once precious to him. He sacrifices his innocence, his conscience, and his peace of mind for the endless power and control he pursues. The introduction of the play begins with the description of a king under the pressures of war. Duncan, the king of Scotland, hears of Macbeth's bravery in battle against a Scot who took sides with the enemy. Scotland is currently at war with the King of Norway, and the country is rather divided, as traitors begin to surface. One such …show more content…
In the chaos that follows, Malcolm and Donalbain rush to leave Scotland, fearing a price on their lives. This casts suspicion upon the two heirs, and Macbeth is quickly crowned king at Scone. The nobles sense no suspicion in Macbeth and follow him as king. However, Macduff is not fooled and flees for England. Act III brings some suspicion, as Banquo has knowledge of the weird sisters' prophecies.

"Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,

As the weird women promised, and I fear

Thou play'dst most foully for't." (Act III, Scene I, lines 1-3)

It is the knowledge that Banquo has that causes Macbeth to turn his hands red with blood again. The king is suspicious, if not afraid, of Banquo and decides the only way he will be free of his worries would be to kill him. Macbeth also shows jealousy of Banquo, as he wonders why he will not lead a line of kings, rather than Banquo. Macbeth also begins to feel anger towards the weird sisters, as he begins to believe that he has been chosen to do the dirty work, while it is Banquo's descendants that will reap the benefits. It is the sum of these two matters- Banquo's loyalties and Macbeth's line of heirs- that he chooses to kill once more. Furthermore, his decision to hire the murderers and exactly how he gets them to turn against Banquo is another step towards the darkening of his soul. He uses the technique that Lady Macbeth used on him to murder Duncan; Macbeth told the murderers of Banquo's "wrongs"
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