Macbeth: A Good Man


A struggle is present in every tragedy, as a person tries to
overcome their flaws and fit the mold of their ideal. William
Shakespeare plainly defined a good man in the play "Macbeth".
This goal by it's definition is a difficult one for any man to
achieve. Prudence and logic, temperance and patients, as well as
the vindication of honor are Shakespeare's defining
characteristics of a good man.

As with any well written tragedy, Macbeth's title character and
hero had to fall from his place of greatness to see his faults and
begin his agonizing climb back to his previous position. His
position, that of a good man, was one that demanded respect in the
beginning of "Macbeth". The Sergeant described Macbeth's honor
and bravery to king Duncan in act I, scene 2.
"For brave Macbeth_well he deserves that name_
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;_"

Macbeth defended his king's honor as well as his own, as
Shakespeare showed a good man never backed down from a foe.
In the later acts of the play, Shakespeare furthered the
definition of a good man by portraying what a bad one was not. In
Macbeth's darkest hours, he showed no sign of prudence and logic
as he slayed king Duncan, and hired assassins to murder his
friend Banquo. Macbeth displayed his temerity in act IV scene 1
saying, "_from this moment The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now, To crown my thoughts with
acts, be it thought and done;_"

Macbeth was no longer the logical, thinking man whom many
admired. He had become reckless, acting with only his passion and
not his mind. The tragedy of the murders he brought on fair
Scotland was a direct result of this violation of the criterion of
a good man.

The most apparent flaw, and perhaps the most tragic in Macbeth's
character, is his lack of patients and temperance. These
shortcomings haunted Macbeth, causing him to let his "overvaulting
ambition" rush fate, and hasten his doom. Macbeth could not wait
for an appointment to a position of more power. Instead, he
murdered the king to take his place. Opting not to wait to see if
Banquo would be loyal to him, Macbeth had his companion murdered.
His impatience led Macbeth to listen to his wife, the witches, and
his darker side. He again informed people what a good man was
not. In the end, Macbeth did regain a shred of his previous
distinction when he faced his adversaries like a true warrior.
Macbeth's last words are those of a good man who faces his own
problems. To Macduff he shouts his last words,
"Before my bodyI throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,And
damn'd be him that first cries, `Hold, enough!"
Like a bear, Macbeth regains his seat of honor, and becomes in his
last breath, a good man.