At the time the play was written witches were thought of as very evil creatures and they where burned at the stake. The witches talk the same words as each other at exactly the right time showing that they speak with one voice and showing that they are very closely linked. When the witches first meet with Macbeth they greet him with three different titles ‘thane of Glamis’ ‘thane of Cawdor’ and ‘Macbeth that shalt be king here after’. Macbeth ‘starts’ at these words but soon wants to know more he does not understand their predictions as to his knowledge the Thane of Cawdor still lives and there is no way he could gain this title.
Macbeth’s great ambition is to become king, although before this seemed an impossible task he has now been given hope. Banquo does not see how Macbeth can be scared of these great things that they have said to him. Banquo wants the witches to tell him what his future holds as they have told Macbeth. The witches tell Banquo that he ‘shalt get kings, though thou be none’ meaning that his children will be kings but he will never gain such a title. At first sight Banquo describes the witches ‘so withered and so wild in their attire’ Macbeth and Banquo are both shocked by these strange creatures.
When shortly afterwards Macbeth hears of his promotion to Thane of Cawdor he is shocked that the witches could predict the future. He soon realises that if they have predicted this right then he may become king. Macbeth starts to get thought of killing the king as he sees this the only way to achieve it. Macbeth’s wife also thinks that he should kill the king and she manages to persuade him to do this. Banquo warns that Macbeth should not betray his own family to become king for it will have consequences, but if he should become king in an honest way then it will be alright and nothing will happen after he has become king.
He would also feel like he had worked hard to get where he is. He also warns Macbeth that as these strange creatures told them that this will happen in the future then harm may come of him if he does not take care for ‘the instruments of darkness tell us truths’. Banquo knows that Macbeth is thinking of becoming king and he also knows that this is what he wants more than anything. Banquo wants Macbeth to think and consider his actions. When Macbeth hears that Malcolm has been made prince of Cumberland he realizes that this is something that will stop him from becoming king unless he ‘overleaps’ this step.
This is where Macbeth starts to realize that becoming king may not be as easy as he first thought and that he may have to do things to help his desires to come true. He may have to kill Malcolm the king’s eldest son as he is heir. Lady Macbeth realises after Macbeth’s letter that if he is to achieve the great title of king then he will have to be persuaded to kill the king. She knows that Macbeth is to kind to do it. Lady Macbeth seems to want him to become king and wants to make sure that he achieves it.
Lady Macbeth wants him to become king, as she can not have any power of her own she has to live her life through Macbeth. Women where not allowed to do anything of great importance so this is the only way she can become great. Macbeth wants to become king but he does not want to kill to do it and he starts to think that maybe it will not happen. Lady Macbeth asks for all the goodness to be taken out of her so that she can kill the king herself for she feels that Macbeth would never do it. She asks ‘unsex me here’ for she wants to be made more masculine.
When Macbeth enters she greets him with his tiles and then goes on to say ‘greater than both by the all-hail here after! ‘ she is telling him that she believes he is good enough to become the king. She says that she will ‘look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t. ‘ she will look innocent but will be the one that is full of evil for she will be the one that kills the king. She is advising Macbeth to do what she says and be deceptive. She goes on to tell Macbeth that they will kill Duncan that night and that she will plan it.
Macbeth would kill the king but he is worried about the consequences he knows that if he does it then he will be found out and killed. But he would do it if it would be the end and if he would get success. Macbeth knows that if he kills Duncan then some one will take revenge and kill him. Macbeth also knows that Duncan was a great king and that he would be greatly missed by every one. As a relation of the king he ‘should against his murderer shut the door not bear the knife’. His ambition is his only motive.
Lady Macbeth helps to persuade him to do it by questioning his love for her, she also accuses him of being a coward and she tells him he must do this to prove himself ‘when you durst do it then you where a man’. She tells Macbeth that he has the opportunity and he should do it. This scene contains one of the most powerful pieces of writing where Lady Macbeth tells him that she would rather kill her own baby than break her promises. ‘I would while it was smiling in my face have plucked my nipple from its boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I sworn as you have done to this. She uses this to make him feel guilty and make Macbeth listen to what she has to say. Banquo does not want to sleep for he feels that something is about to happen and even though he is tired this feeling keeps him awake. Macbeth and Banquo talk about the king and the three weird sisters Macbeth says that he hasn’t thought about them but Banquo being such a close friend knows that he has and we as an audience know that they have never left his thoughts. Banquo is worried that he might do something stupid.
Banquo says that he will keep his heart free from evil and his allegiance to the king untainted, he is not going to do bad to make sure the things the weird sisters said come true. Here we begin to see Banquo as the character that has integrity. Macbeth starts to hallucinate about killing the king he sees a dagger but he can not touch it he sees blood on its blade. The dagger seems to lead him into Duncan’s chamber, this shows how over wrought he is. He knows he has to make up his mind for once it is done it will be on his conscience forever and it will lose him his place in heaven.
But he goes into Duncan’s chamber and kills him half in a daze. At this point lady Macbeth is very jumpy she is afraid that he will be found out. She has been drinking to give her courage ‘drink hath made me bold’. After the murder Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both become very anxious. Macbeth thinks that some one may have woken ‘didst thou hear a noise? ‘ Lady Macbeth takes control again of Macbeth and tells him what they should do. Macbeth regrets the murder ‘ I am afraid to think of what I have done’ and when someone knocks on the door he speaks these words to himself ‘wake Duncan with thy knocking!
I would thou couldst! ‘ Lady Macbeth does not think of the killing of the king as such a bad thing. Previously in the play we hear her saying that she could not do it for the king reminds her of her father too much, but she seems to keep thinking straight even though she has been drinking. Macbeth is so frightened about killing that he forgets to place the murder weapons back and lady Macbeth has to replace. Lady Macbeth does not seem so effected by the task at the time. Lady Macbeth makes sure it looks as though it was the guards that killed the king to arouse no suspicion.
Macbeth regrets what he has done he kills on the battlefield regularly but when it is some one that he should be caring for and protecting it has a stronger impact on him. Lady Macbeth has to tell him what to do for he seems to be put into a panic. I don’t think that lady Macbeth has quite realised what they have done where as Macbeth knows that he has done wrong and wishes that he could turn back time. There is a comparison in two lines that show the reader this ‘will all great Neptune’s oceans wash this blood clean from my hand? ‘.
Where as lady Macbeth seems to think that it is done and that will be the end of it ‘a little water clears us of this deed’. Macbeth know that what he has done is wrong and he regrets it after it has happened. Lady Macbeth does not think about the task at the time and she just wants Macbeth to succeed, but after she has done it her guilt sets in. Macbeth acts under pressure to do what his wife wants but if she had not influenced him he wouldn’t have killed the king. Lady Macbeth gets him to do what she can not bring her self to do.