In the beginning of the play Macbeth is portrayed in a very positive manner. He is respected by all for his valour on the battlefield. Such is his ferocity that he nearly cuts the rebel MacDonald in two. He is described as:
Though Macbeth appears loyal to the king it is his ambition that drives him. When the witches tell him he will become thane of Cawdor and king of Scotland he is overcome with ambition especially when he receives word that the king has appointed him Thane of Cawdor only moments after the witches’ disappearance. It his this ambition which drives him to kill king Duncan.
Not without conscience
Before the murder Macbeth has a major crisis of conscience.
“He’s here in double trust: ….I am his kinsman ….then as his host”
However Lady Macbeth easily qualms his conscience and convinces him to commit the horrendous crime of murdering the king.
After the murder Macbeth is totally unnerved. It left to Lady Macbeth to return the bloody daggers to the crime scene.
No feeling of contentment/accomplishment
Macbeth does feel secure and sees Banquo as an ever-present threat because of his nobility and because of the prophecy that he will beget kings.
Macbeth begins to kill with more and more ease. He heartlessly orders Banquo and his son killed. He acts totally alone, not consulting his wife. However he clearly still struggles with his conscience on some level as he is haunted by Banquo’s ghost in the banquet scene.
Deception and tyranny
Macbeth kingship is built on deception. He has Banquo killed in the dark