Macbeth’s Downward Path to Evil
Throughout the play Macbeth, Macbeth went on a dreadful downward path toward evil which included the killing of Duncan, the killing of his friend Banquo, and the killing of a woman and children. At the beginning of the play, Shakespeare portrayed Macbeth as a loyal, brave soldier. Once Macbeth made one wrong decision, he could not stop, and continued to on the path of evil.
After a meeting with the witches, Macbeth realized that the only way he would become king was to kill Duncan. Killing his Duncan, his king, was Macbeths first step in becoming evil. Macbeth’s wife, Lady Macbeth knew that although Macbeth possessed the desire to be king, he did not have the evil qualities that it would take to perform the murder. Lady Macbeth had both the desire and the ruthlessness that it took, so she had to persuade Macbeth into killing Duncan. In order to convince Macbeth to commit this crime, Lady Macbeth called Macbeth a coward, questioned his bravery and his manliness. When Macbeth finally killed Duncan he said, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the Multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.” This indicates that Macbeth does not believe that he will ever be guilt- free of the deed that he has just committed. Macbeth feels great remorse for murdering Duncan. Although Macbeth was influenced by his wife, his decision was his first step in leading himself towards commiting more evil.
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Although Macbeth felt remorse for killing his king, he did not let the guilt stop him from murdering Banquo. The decision to kill Banquo is proof of Macbeth’s further descent to evil. Macbeth became the king of Scotland, but his greed prompted him to kill Banquo. Macbeth could not stand the idea of Banquo’s children becoming heirs to Macbeth’s throne. He also had a fear of Banquo because of Banquo’s knowledge of the meeting with the witches. Macbeth realized that he could not commit this murder on his own, so he hired “Murderers” to do it for him. This time Macbeth takes on the role that Lady Macbeth had during the last murder. Macbeth must urge the “murderers” to kill Banquo, and he does this by insulting their manhood. Macbeth’s main concern is making sure that the “murderers” do not make any mistakes. Although Macbeth does not hesitate during this murder, he does feel a slight amount of guilt afterwards. This is shown by the fact that Macbeth does not sleep due to the nightmares that he experiences every night. Macbeth’s resolution to kill Duncan only took him further on his path towards evil.
In spite of the fact that Macbeth feels slightly guilty for the deaths of Banquo and Duncan, he still finds the evil inside himself to kill again. The killing of an innocent woman and children marked Macbeth’s deepest descent into evil. These murderers are the most immoral since Lady Macduff and her children are innocent. Macbeth fears that Macduff might overthrow him as king, so he concludes to kill Macduff. However, this plan does not work out because Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth is furious that Macduff has gotten away, so as revenge he decides to kill Macduff’s family. These are the most inhumane murders, because as Lady Macduff says, “Whither should I fly? I have done no harm.” Macbeth does not see anything wrong with killing yet two more people; to him murder had become an everyday part of his life. The vilest crime that Macbeth has committed is the final step Macbeth could take on his path into evil.
In conclusion, Macbeth’s ruthlessness started out as nothing; he had to rely on his wife to help him commit a murder. This developed into evil qualities that Macbeth possessed all on his own. Macbeth’s first step towards evil was taken when he killed Duncan. The second step occurred when Macbeth killed his friend Banqou. The final step that Macbeth took on his descent towards evil was the killing of a defenseless woman and children. Throughout the play, Macbeth displayed less remorse and less hesitation when he was involved in a murder. Macbeth started out as a loyal, brave man, and ended up as a liar and a murderer. For Macbeth, the path of evil only went in one direction, and his deeds could
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only become more evil.