Shakespeare's Macbeth character transforms from a physically, mentally, and skillfully strong General of the Scottish army to a dictatorial, detested and defeated King of Scotland. "Macbeth" illustrates the complete fall from grace of a man not capable of dealing with the temptations of evil. Although it may seem that the witches persuaded Macbeth to commit the murder of Duncan, the idea of it was buried deep inside of him, locked away with his potent ambition, waiting to be stirred.

Prior to Macbeth’s first meeting with the witches, he was an honorable, brave, and loyal man. He’s portrayed as a valiant soldier who crushed a revolt led by Macdonwald, a rebel to the king. The King thinks very highly of Macbeth referring to him as his “worthiest cousin” (1.4.17).

While Macbeth and his loyal friend Banquo are journeying to the castle, they encounter three witches. The witches pronounce prophecies that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland and that Banquo’s children will be kings.

Banquo observes Macbeth as being fearful of the predictions. Macbeth’s long-cherished ambition makes him see the two positions as within his reach. He accepts the witches’ prophecies, jumping at any belief for the future

uture that his ambition has in the past held before his mind. (Charlton162-163)

Macbeth has surrendered his soul before the play begins. When we first see him he is already invaded by those fears that are to make him vicious and which are finally to make him monstrous. When he becomes Thane of Cawdor, he immediately thinks of murdering Duncan. “I am Cawdor/If good, why do I yield to that suggestion/Whose image doth unfix my hair” (1.3. 143-145). This is the first time we see a dark side to Macbeth; he sees himself killing the king. He is horrified by the idea but his thoughts of going after his destiny remain.

Although essentially wicked, the witches’ prophecies don’t signify the actual existence of evil, but they suggest the...