Macbeth's Evolution

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth undergoes a profound and gradual evolution throughout the play. He regresses from a logical, compassionate, caring, and conscientious man, to an entirely apathetic, amoral paradigm of cynical numbness. Macbeth's erosion from logical to irrational, from compassionate to indifferent, progresses slowly but definitively. At his peak, Macbeth proves that he is capable of both rationality and love as he contemplates murdering Duncan. His final decision in this matter illustrates this ethical peak perfectly. Later, we see evidence of a descent from this when he is deciding to kill Banquo: his motives change, and he becomes less logical, less able to see the reasons "against the deed." Finally, Macbeth shows that he has lost it all. Sanity, compassion, logic, everything is gone that once had been so evident at the beginning of the play. Macbeth becomes jaded and cynical, apathetically hopeless, a mass of entity that had once lived in honor.

In trying to decide whether or not to murder Duncan in his soliloquy in Act I Scene VII, both the process by which Macbeth makes his decision (a thoughtful pro-con list) and the final adamant decisionthat he will not murder his kingare indicative of...

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