Macbeth the Tyrant

2310 Words Nov 27th, 2006 10 Pages
Shakespeare's shortest play, Macbeth, is also, consequently, his most shocking and intense. We see the essence of tragedy: in this case, the protagonist transforms himself from a noble warrior who is loyal to his king and fights for his county to a reduced tyrant by the play's end. Macbeth's divided soul which is in turmoil is the cause of his deterioration from a respected warrior to a despised tyrant.

Initially, Macbeth's turmoil within himself is apparent from the beginning of the play when we see that even his ambition is scattered, in a sense. Our first image of Macbeth is that of a courageous and selfless warrior by the wounded captain whom he had saved from certain death on the battlefield. But Macbeth's selflessness is
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Although ambitious thoughts may have creeped within him before, sparked by the damaging prophecies of the Weird Sisters, it is here that he finally resolves to commit the murder of his king. When Macbeth weighs the crime before it is committed, he concludes that he has only "vaulting ambition" to set forth the plan in motion (I, vii, 27).

Secondly, it is not simply his own disorganized ambition which leads Macbeth to tragedy and tyranny. He is fueled by a sense of ambition, but it is fear through which he secures his place as a tyrant. Macbeth is now helpless to the darkness within his soul and is harrowed by the fear of the consequences which retribution should bestow. He has no ethical system within to reason with himself and he allows fear to consume and drive him to commit the other murders. He fears punishment here as well as in the afterlife and this is what sets forth the chain of murders to follow. Macbeth's Christian beliefs, thus, help to delve him deeper into tyranny. It is interesting to see that now the roles have seemed to reverse for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. "…will these hands ne'er be clean?" (V, i, 4). Whereas she was once the driving force behind evil in the beginning of the play, she slowly goes insane with guilt while Macbeth grows stronger in evil. The fear that causes all things around him to be paralyzed causes Macbeth to become even more tyrannical. His own private disharmony is