Macbeth Character Analysis

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William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is an incredibly complex play that is interpretable in vastly different ways. While transferring the play from its written form to a theatrical production, directors must make the decision whether to portray the ghost of Banquo physically or as an illusion of Macbeth's during Act III, scene four. Banquo’s ghost not being represented physically adds the most depth to the play, allowing the audience to further develop an understanding of Macbeth’s character. The absence of Banquo’s ghost shows Macbeth’s growing hostility and isolation from the other characters. There is also the motif of appearance versus reality where Macbeth has difficulty recognizing the difference between the two. Lastly, the loss of sympathy that the audience feels for Macbeth further establishing him as a tragic hero. The absence of an actor in place of Macbeth’s ghost assists the audience in characterizing Macbeth as the person he is becoming.
Macbeth being the only character to see Banquo's ghost shows his withdrawal and incurring isolation from the other characters. Macbeth’s isolation allows him to be free of any external influences meant to dilute his ambition. In Act III, scene four, featuring the apparition of Banquo, Macbeth is perplexed upon seeing the ghost of his friend. He says to the other thanes “Which of you have done this?” (Shakespeare 3.4.49). Macbeth believes the other thanes are attempting to deceive him by means of a hoax and are turning against him. This drives him to believe that he must seclude himself and be wary of others in order to conceal his secrets and maintain the throne without suspicion. Macbeth believes the others have done this based entirely on his own conclusions proving that he believes entirely in what he sees.
Appearance versus reality is a common theme in Macbeth. Previously, Macbeth may have been able to differentiate between fact and fiction. When Macbeth hallucinates the ghost interacting with him, he believes in its fact greatly:

Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you?
Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.
If charnel houses and our graves must send
Those that we bury back, our monuments
Shall be the maws of kites. (3.4.69-73)

Here Macbeth

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