Despite the treachery and murders, Macbeth is still deserving of our sympathy. Do you agree?
At the start of Shakespeare’s play, before we even meet Macbeth, we know what kind of person he is: a noble, gallant warrior who single handedly changed the course of a battle. As the play progresses, we see a darker side of Macbeth and his transformation from a warrior into a tyrant. In the last act of the play, we see a kind of reversal of Macbeth’s character from an evil tyrant back to a courageous warrior. It’s at this point we feel sympathy for Macbeth. Arguably his one good quality, his courage, is one reason why we do feel compassion for Macbeth. We also feel pity for Macbeth as he knows he has made mistakes but by the time he realises, he also knows it is too late. We must also realise the mistakes weren’t all Macbeth’s fault; his wife and the witches must also bear some responsibility for his demise.
Macbeth, at the beginning and the end of the play, shows one of the greatest qualities a man can have: courage. The first impression of Macbeth, as given by a captain reporting to King Duncan of the battle, is glowing with nothing but praise and admiration. “For brave Macbeth (well he deserves this name) ... like Valour’s minion, carved out his passage.” Act I, Scene I. With this bravery comes respect from those within Scotland and, most importantly of all, from Duncan: “O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!” Act I, Scene I. We realise how well respected Macbeth was and reflect on how, by the last act of the play, all have turned on him and he is left with nothing except his bravery.
It is undeniable that Lady Macbeth and the witches played a large role in convincing Macbeth that murdering Duncan was the right decision. The supernatural witches must have known what the future held for Macbeth and knew everything he was going to do yet they did not try to stop him nor convince him killing Duncan was the wrong thing; Macbeth was a their puppet. “All hail, Macbeth...