It could be that he has damaged himself so that he is unable to feel empathy for others - or that the evil is innate. Macbeth displays some very evil characteristics - selfishness, coldness, obsession and cold-blooded murder. Shakespeare explores the degree to which he alone is responsible, and how far others contribute to Macbeth is perhaps Shakespeare's greatest exploration of the problem of evil. Evil is positioned both within and without. The witches are objective figures but Macbeth's first utterance in act 1, scene 3 suggests that he shares a similar thought with the witches.
Banquo is juxtaposed to show how an honest man would react to fair-surrounding predictions. Macbeth’s “aside” clearly reveals him to be a man who is morally flawed and susceptible to temtation. Shakespeare’s use of imagery with the three witches makes us realise that the witches only want bad things for Macbeth. They test his character to see if they can corrupt him from his natural state of mind into their evil ways. As such Macbeth is morally vulnerable to them.
Shakespeare does a magnificent job by using Macbeth to show the terrible consequences that can result from an unchecked ambition and a guilty conscience. Those elements, combined with a lack of strong character, distinguish Macbeth from Shakespeare's other tragic heroes, such as King Lear and Richard III, both of whom are strong enough to overcome their guilty conscience. Before Macbeth murders Duncan, he is plagued with anxiety and almost does not go along with the plan. It takes his wife, Lady Macbeth's persuasion in order to complete the plot. When is about to kill Duncan, Macbeth sees a dagger covered in blood floating in the air, representing the bloody course he is about to take.
Ambition is a common downfall for those who seek power. In literature, authors use characters to demonstrate the harmful effects of ambition. Shakespeare, in his play Macbeth, develops the character of Macbeth, who changes from a good-hearted person to evil because of his corrupting power and unchecked ambition. In Act I, Macbeth debates with himself on whether or not to kill Duncan. He considers that, even if Duncan’s murder could be completed without any negative consequences, like getting caught, he still would have to live with guilt.
As the play goes on, Macbeth slowly looses his morality as he strives for more control whilst Lady Macbeth steps into a frantic stage of guilt. After killing the king, Macbeth starts to plot other evil undertakings as he becomes nervous that someone will take away his power. At one point he goes from wanting to needing the sovereignty, which makes him loose sight of his integrity. As Macbeth begins to immorally act in order to achieve what he hungers, the line between good and evil starts to fade. “I am in blood / Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” (3.4.136-138) In this quote, Macbeth is telling himself that because he has stepped into evil so deeply, it will be hard to go back to morallity because he will never be able to rid of this guilt brought onto him.
In Act 1 Scene 7 Macbeth 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” In this soliloquy, Macbeth admits that his only reason for committing murder is ambition. The ambition presented him with negative characteristics such as greed, intolerance, ruthlessness and an unhealthy drive for power. In addition, it blocked out his respect for others and his compassion. Earlier in his soliloquy, Macbeth also uses foreshadowing as he declares, “Bloody instructions which, being taught, return To plague th’inventor” Here, Macbeth explained his deeds will eventually come back to haunt him. Earlier in the soliloquy ,he uses dark imagery, in phrases such as “Deep damnation” a “Poisoned Chalice” and “Bloody Instructions”.
He is only unmindful of his actions when the posability of increasing power is involved. Macbeth is so tempted by gaining power that he does not see the abnormality of killing to earn it. Based on L. C. Knights literary article "Macbeth: A Lust for Power." Lady Macbeth is also tempted, but unlike Macbeth she is not allured by anybody else but herself. She entraps herself as she makes the plan of murdering Duncan.
Throughout the play Lady Macbeth is the driving influence behind Macbeth and the immoral path that he chose to follow. To put it simply Lady Macbeth started the rot and persuaded the hesitant and indecisive Macbeth to “be a man” and do the deed of killing Duncan. Macbeth initially decided to “proceed no further” in the matter of killing Duncan because he had been kind to him of late bestowing the position of Thane of Cawdor on him. She responds to this by saying that if he can lose his ambition so readily, his love for her must also be changeable. Then she insults his masculinity and questions his courage.
showing us that the thought of murder was already at the back of his mind. Macbeth could not have been as honourable and trustworthy as people believed him to be, given that if he had had but a shred of integrity, murder would have been the last thing on his mind. Macbeth is given prophecies by the witches and he is encouraged to act on these suggestions by Lady Macbeth, but he ultimately makes the choices to murder Duncan, Macduff's family and Banquo. The fact that Macbeth feels guilt, fears being caught and fears losing the throne reveals he has hidden anxiety. If Macbeth was truly at the mercy of fate, following the prophesise that was “set out”, he would have no difficulties in carrying out his crimes.
In all the tragedies, the hero has to suffer the tragic flaw. He is the only responsible of his downfall. In Shakespeare's play Othello, Othello brings all his misfortune on himself. His actions are led by his jealousy, his stubbornness and his gullibility. One of the main factor which push Othello to his death is his gullibility.