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Date Submitted: 08/21/2011 07:12 PM

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The psychological effects of guilt, ambition and tyranny are vividly depicted as Shakespeare weaves the rich tapestry that is Macbeth. The protagonist, Macbeth, decides to be governed by fate and this choice is established as the root of all his problems. Shakespeare examines several aspects of Macbeth's life, focusing particularly on the change his character undergoes as the story progresses. One facet of Macbeth's alteration in personality is his mental deterioration throughout the play

The beginning of the play professes Macbeth as a trustworthy, compassionate, valiant, brave and bold soldier. Shakespeare clearly portrays Macbeth as the definition of a hero. At the start of the play Shakespeare ensures that the reader identifies that Macbeth is at the peak of his mental strength through Macbeth's displays of loyalty towards Duncan.

Shakespeare gives birth to Macbeth's mental decline through the three witches. The first interaction

Between Macbeth and the three witches is significant as they deliver him the three prophecies:

All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis'

All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor'

All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter' Three Witches (Line 49-51, Scene III, Act I)

Shakespeare uses these prophecies to show Macbeth's mental struggle between Chance and Fate. This dilemma is forcefully influenced by the temptation of kingship over Scotland. Shakespeare shows this struggle through Macbeth's reaction to the news that he has been appointed as the Thane of Cawdor as the witches had predicted. Macbeth's struggle with these events also brings up thoughts that cause him to fear himself. The most powerful of these thoughts is the ambition to murder King Duncan. Shakespeare clearly shows his agitation and appall at the thought of conceiving such notions.

If good, why do I yield to that suggestion?

Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair' Macbeth (Line 137-138, Scene III, Act I)