At the start of Macbeth, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are powerful, ambitious people whose choices of actions greatly impact themselves and their country. But at the end of the play, each ones character has changed greatly, especially Macbeth’s. What started off as a loyal subject and respected leader ended as a hated, murderous tyrant. Our first impression of Macbeth is made when we hear about his fearless fighting in the war, and we see him as a brave and loyal general, who will do anything to protect his country.
But his reaction to the witches’ prophecy can change our impression because his reaction is to kill the current king, who is a great king, and is kind to his people. This shows Macbeth’s desire for power, especially after Banquo tells him not to listen to the witches’ equivocations and he does anyway, and kills his king and cousin. Very quickly, our opinion of Macbeth as a brave and noble soldier is changed to a greedy murderer whose only care is for him.
Macbeth doesn’t stop after killing Duncan; instead he continues to get worse by killing Banquo and attempting to kill young Fleance. But even after killing his best friend for no reason other than extra safety to his kingdom, he doesn’t stop his killing spree. He goes on to kill Macduff’s family, only because he wanted Macduff dead, but couldn’t kill him. Killing women and children is the lowest one can get, but Macbeth is so corrupted, that doesn’t stop him.
Eventually, Macbeth’s maniacal behavior causes his downfall, when different countries join up against him and kill him. Macbeth truly is the story of “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”, everything topsy-turvy, because what starts off as a respected and admired leader of men changes to a despised tyrant, whom everyone wants dead. What starts as a story of a man, willing to lose his life to protect his country, ends as one of a man who lost his life because he lost his country.