As tragic as Macbeth becomes through the play, his paranoia is also a factor that leads to his ultimate downfall, morally and physically. Macbeth, now a traitor after the assassination of the king, is paranoid of anybody who may threaten his position or how he attained it. After killing the king, Macbeth’s conscience is guilt-ridden and he is no longer able to sleep peacefully. His only worry is that someone may be plotting his murder, just as he strategized the death of the former King. If there was nothing stopping Macbeth from killing Duncan and committing treason, who is to say that no one else will make the same decision, killing Macbeth?
Here, Macbeth is seen giving into Lady Macbeth’s persistency in murdering King Duncan. By declaring that he will “do all that may become a man,” Macbeth is also deciding to entrust himself and go down the path of free will. Given that Macbeth is showing hesitancy towards going through with the plan, readers can consequently see that his ambition has risen, yet not to extreme heights. As the play progresses, Macbeth reverts back to accepting the fate of the Three Witches. He visits them once more and demands that they predict his future, and the Weird Sisters prophesize: “laugh to scorn the power of a man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” (IV.i.79-81), to which he responds with, “I’ll make assurance double sure and take a bond of fate” (IV.i.83-84).
Macbeth finally makes a decision but the selfishness of Lady Macbeth thwarts it away and poisons his thoughts by saying that the coward she speaks with now is also a coward in showing his love and passion for her. Macbeth shows that he has a will that can kill number of people who he knows not but also
Although he has second thoughts about killing Duncan, Macbeth chooses to go through with it. Lady Macbeth’s influence is a huge part of his choice, but he still is not under anyone’s control. It is his free will that helps him decide to speed up his fate of becoming king. When he murders Duncan, I feel that this is when Macbeth unleashes the monster in him.
Many would argue that it was not Macbeth’s ambition that caused him to kill King Duncan but instead was his wife using her femininity in order to charm Macbeth into doing as she says . However, Macbeth’s hunger for power was already seen when King Duncan gives Malcolm the title of Prince of Cumberland. Macbeth tells himself that he must not reveal his true intentions: “Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires.” (Shakespeare I.iv.58-59) This shows Macbeth has the intention of claiming the crown for himself before he even talks to Lady Macbeth about what they should do when Duncan arrives at their castle. Furthermore, Shakespeare displays Macbeth's ambitions even earlier in the play while fighting against the rebels.
He says “I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself / And falls on th’other”(ActⅠScene ⅶ) Macbeth has enough self-awareness to realize the dangers of killing the king yet his temptation to complete the prophecy is too strong. Another example of ambition is when Lady Macbeth plans the murder of Duncan and continually urges Macbeth to do it in order to fulfill the prophecy and desire. Lady Macbeth puts aside her reasoning and lets her temptation run her actions. Ambition is what drives the both of them to commit such atrocities. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth wanted to be powerful so bad that they were willing to compromise their morals in order to be successful.
At the beginning of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a good, brave knight who is loyal to his king. However, upon hearing the prophecies of the witches, a dark, ambitious nature awakens within him – one that proves to be fatal. In Act I Scene iii, Macbeth says, “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion […] and make my sealed heart knock at my ribs” – implying that though at first he is horrified at the notion of murdering Duncan, it is an idea that he is willing to consider. Before he sends news of the recent events to his wife, Macbeth commands the stars to “hide [their] fires” so that no one can see his “black and deep” desires. (Act I, scene iv).
Macbeth's lust for power becomes blatantly obvious based upon his fears that "to be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus", prompting him to kill Banquo and make an attempt at his son, Fleance. To relieve himself of his insecurities, he manipulates two murderers to believe than Banquo is their "enemy" and the source of all of their problems, displaying his twisted nature. He does not, before the act is already committed, share news of the "deed of dreadful note" with his "dearest chuck", Lady Macbeth, proving he has made his face a "vizard to [his] heart" not only for the public, but also to his once-cohort. Macbeth's peers' opinion sinks so low that he is often merely referred to as a "tyrant" rather than by his name. He is not only a traitorous and cruel king, but the extent to which he is "unfit to govern" makes him "unfit to live" - deserving of death for how he has let down Scotland.
Shakespeare uses sleep not as a peaceful resting state, but to reveal Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s guilty consciences. Macbeth is given prophecies throughout the play that prove his guilt and shame. In the beginning, Macbeth’s hunger for power is ignited by the prophecies from the witches. He likes the scheme of killing Duncan so he will be closer to the throne. As the play continues, he realizes how dreadful they actually are.
But hush, no more.” (3.1.9-10). This means that Banquo will not act upon what the witches are telling him. What the witches are telling Macbeth would also never be coming true if he hadn’t acted upon it. As Banquo puts it in the play, “The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/Win us with honest trifles, to betray ’s/In deepest consequence.” (1.3.126-128). To reinforce what Banquo says, Macbeth already knows that he is thane of Glamis.