Essay about The Tragedy of Changing

Submitted By smp1013
Words: 896
Pages: 4

Shakespeare demonstrates in his tragedy Macbeth the common recurring change in people over time through his characters. The Witches instigate the changes by planting a seed in Macbeth’s mind. When Lady Macbeth gets wind of the prophecies, she encourages Macbeth to make decisions that will alter his thoughts forever and that she will ultimately regret. Macduff is the Thane of Fife and wants only for Scotland to regain its former glory that it had under King Duncan. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth seem to transform into their opposites by the end of the play. However, Macduff stays the hero during the whole of it and eventually gets what he desires. Despite the fact that Macduff remains the protagonist throughout Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth change drastically over time.
Macduff seems to be one of the only characters in Macbeth that continues to be the same throughout the play. Upon discovering King Duncan’s murder, he exclaims “O horror, horror, horror! / Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!” (II.iii.73-74). Since the beginning, Macduff has proven his loyalty for Scotland by displaying great concern for the royal family after Duncan’s death. He demonstrates his loyalty again when saying “Bleed, bleed, poor country! / Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure” (IV.iii.39-40) while trying to convince Malcolm to go back to Scotland and take the throne from Macbeth. Macduff shows his true heroism in the end of play when he kills Macbeth and regains the throne for Malcolm. Once again, Macduff exhibits his devotion to Scotland, “I see thee compassed with thy kingdom’s pearl...Hail, King of Scotland!” (V.viii.67-70) after entering with Macbeth’s head. Though Macduff stays the same resolute and trustworthy protagonist throughout Macbeth, there are many other characters that change notably over time.
Lady Macbeth is easily the most evil character at the beginning of the play having just heard of Macbeth’s prophecies. Assuming Macbeth would not have it in him to murder anyone, she makes herself the driving force behind his acts to get the crown and thinks to herself “unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the top-full Of direst cruelty.” (I.v.48-50). Lady Macbeth wishes that she could just kill Duncan herself, but it would only be acceptable to do so if she were a man. At Macbeth’s banquet after killing Banquo, Lady Macbeth tells the lords to “Stand not upon the order of your going” (III.iv.146), getting them to leave. She first shows concern for Macbeth when he goes insane at the banquet and defends him by blaming it on illness. During Act 3, Scene 4, the first signs of change in Lady Macbeth occur. Much later, she is found sleepwalking and talking. Wracked with guilt over the murders, she ironically sees her hands covered with blood and exclaims, “Out, damned spot, out I say!” (V.i.37). Overcome with penitence, Lady Macbeth kills herself. Other than Macbeth, Lady Macbeth goes through the most dramatic change in the tragedy.
Macbeth, whom Shakespeare’s play is named after, changes the most from beginning to end. At first, people think of him as “brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name),” (I.ii.18) because of his actions in the war. When Macbeth receives his prophecy from the witches, Lady Macbeth fears that he will not do anything about it and that he is “too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness” (I.v.17). He is virtuous in everyone’s eyes, and almost