Human Nature, Examples from Macbeth

Life is a reality that forces individuals to choose between right and wrong. Decisions are made to have a lasting effect that decides the outcome of a person’s future. Macbeth has a great deal of trouble deciding

the difference between moral and immoral decisions during his rise to power. Macbeth’s character experienced a string of questionable decisions that consequently led to his dethroning. First, Macbeth became engulfed in greed and would stop at nothing to obtain what he felt was his own. Next, he displayed disloyalty towards his friends and superiors while trying to reach his goals. Finally, Macbeth exhibited gullibility. These three traits are what ultimately led to the downfall of Macbeth, not only as a king, but also his life.

Macbeth first displayed his greediness after his first conversation with the three witches. The witches spoke to Macbeth and provided him with a glimpse into the future. This small act awakened the greed that Macbeth had always possessed. Macbeth then felt he deserved to be crowned king and stopped at nothing to fulfill his goals. This is the first sign that Macbeth’s character is losing control of reality. Macbeth also exhibited greed after he honorably received the title of Thane of Cawdor. However, he was still not satisfied, and craved more power. Therefore, Macbeth plotted to kill his best friend Banquo, and his son Fleance just to further ensure his prophecy to become king. For example, in the quote, “Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, And put a barren sceptre in my gripe, Thence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand, No son of mine succeeding,” Macbeth exhibits greed and jealousy. He trusts the witches’ prophecy saying Banquo’s children will become kings, thus he believes he must kill Banquo and Fleance to secure the throne. Macbeth’s greed began to cloud his mind even more when he planned the murders of Macduff’s innocent wife and children. Macbeth’s greed began controlling his life, and forced him to make rash decisions. This ultimately exposed his evil ways and he was killed because of it.

Disloyalty is the second character flaw Macbeth exhibits. Macbeth displays this when he murders his king and longtime friend, Duncan. Macbeth does not comprehend his actions anymore. He felt no fear or remorse for this murder; his only concerns were his safety and well being. For instance, in Act 2, Scene 1, Macbeth says, “The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell.” In this scene, Macbeth is about to kill Duncan, which paves the way for his future disloyalties. This murder was a stepping stone for Macbeth’s future plans. Once Macbeth had murdered Duncan he underwent a transformation from a realistic, loyal commander to a fantasy living, traitor. This act drove a wedge between many people and Macbeth. These were the same people that would eventually drive him from power. Macbeth’s second act of disloyalty occurs when he murders his best friend and fellow commander Banquo. Banquo had suspicions that Macbeth’s plans were not honorable, so Macbeth became frightened. Macbeth then came to the decision to eliminate who he though was his adversary, but was really his friend. Macbeth accomplished this feat, and reached a new low point where friends and loyalty were meaningless.

Finally, the third character flaw Macbeth revealed was gullibility. Macbeth allowed himself to believe the first series of premonitions the witches gave him. Macbeth felt that it was the witches who gave him this good fortune and not fate. However, Macbeth did not realize that he was already the Thane of Cawdor before he even spoke to the witches. Macbeth fully believed the witches were sources of good fortune. This causes Macbeth to lose all belief in the natural order of events, leaving him alone and friendless. Macbeth also displayed gullibility when he made himself feel invincible after the witches gave him the second series of premonitions. The three witches convinced Macbeth that a son born of a woman could not kill him. However, Macbeth would end up being killed by a son pulled from his mother’s dead womb. This exposed a loophole in the assurance the witches gave Macbeth that lead to his death.
Macbeth allowed his goals and wants to control his life and this ultimately led to his downfall. Macbeth’s mind became so clouded he did not realize how greedy, disloyal and gullible he had become. His greed controlled his life and forced him to only concentrate on his desires. Macbeth’s did not understand the meaning of loyalty anymore, because he murdered his friends with no remorse. Finally, if Macbeth had a better grip on reality he would not have been taken in by the witches and lost his head. These three flaws along with other circumstances ultimately led to his downfall and death.