Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Shakespeare, Macbeth, Persuasion, Rhetoric, Greed, Desire, Art, Ambition

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/21

Our reality relies on the balance of charm, influence, fortitude, and sometimes luck to be prosperous.  In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the skill of persuasion is used as a method of personal advancement that results in deadly consequences. Macbeth convinces himself and other individuals to pursue immoral acts because of his own ambitions to become the King of Scotland.  Through the witches’ premonitions and Macbeth’s vision of the dagger, Macbeth believes he will become king and begins to act to make these visions come true. Macbeth’s largest provoker is his spouse, Lady Macbeth, who exposes his weaknesses and uses them as instruments to solidify their status in the country of Scotland.  All of these methods of persuasion lead to detrimental choices that ultimately contribute to Macbeth’s death.
Vulnerability to the persuasion of others leads Macbeth to believe that his power is undeniable.  The first occurrence that provokes Macbeth into an unlawful act occurs when he encounters the witches. They state, “All hail Macbeth, Hail to thee.  Thane of Cawdor / All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter” (1.3.47-48).  Macbeth is pleased with being the Thane of Glamis until the disclosure of the witches’ premonition.  This causes Macbeth to question the possibilities of being king and gives him the initial thought of what that would be like.  The witches release the idea of Macbeth being able to conquer the throne; this persuasion evokes Macbeth’s greed and desire to gain the highest possible ranking in Scotland.  Macbeth is persuaded to believe the witches, and he is determined to make their assumptions true, whether it is his destined fate or not.  Next, Macbeth is crowned with the Thane of Cawdor, which confirms the Witches’ prophecies.  Macbeth then begins to put trust into their wisdom. He follows their predictions and proclaims, “Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor: / The Greatest is behindWhen those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me / promised no less to them” (1.3.199-120).  In addition to the witches intuition, Banquo urges Macbeth to put forth his trust and rely on the ability of fate to pursue itself: “That, trusted home, / Might yet enkindle him unto the crown / Besides the Thane of Cawdor” (1.3.119-120).  Banquo’s statement to let fate pursue itself makes Macbeth even more anxious to achieve this title.  With all these persuasions and actualities resulting from premonitions, Macbeth becomes determined and unconquerable in his mind, and he will do anything to make his desires reality.  
After he sees the wheels in motion, Macbeth becomes his own worst persuasive enemy, further advancing his demise.  Macbeth is the main instigator in committing the sin of murdering the King in order to achieve the ultimate power of being King himself.  Macbeth creates a vision for himself that solidifies his decision to commit murder as he believes this is a sign from the witches to continue: “Is this a dagger which I see before me, / the handle towards my hand?  Come let me clutch thee: / I have thee not, and yet I see thee still” (2.1.33-39).  After all these inner persuasions and signs, Macbeth’s final stimulus to continue forth comes from his abstraction and greed: “Whiles I threat, he lives, words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives” (2.1.60-61).  This proves how Macbeth’s lack of sympathy and greed in achieving what he wants will make him do even the most cruel of acts to achieve this desires.  In addition, Macbeth uses the tactic to persuade others in order to confirm his supremacy: “Know / that it was he, in the times past, which held you so / under fortune which you thought had been our / innocent self.  This I made good to you” (3.1.78-81).  Macbeth wants to desperately believe in his position to be King and feels he has done abundant for others; therefore, he feels it is owed to him and necessary to eradicate members that cause him harm.  Deep in his own persuasion, Macbeth is able to persuade others to join in an evil act and commit regicide.  Macbeth’s driven ambition and self-persuasion led him down a dark path to fatal consequences.
Although love can bring favorable persuasion, a skillful propagandist like Lady Macbeth can also stir and coach destructive persuasion into an impressionable mind like Macbeth’s.  Lady Macbeth is responsible for putting drive and ambition into Macbeth and persuades him to believe he is able to accomplish anything.  She is the third and final member of Macbeth’s persuaders, and she undoubtedly contributes to Macbeth’s death.  Lady Macbeth embraces her duty to promote greed and evil thoughts in Macbeth as she states:
He’s here in double trust.  First, as I am his kinsmen and his subject, / strong both against the deed then as his host, / Who should against his murder shut the door, / Not bear the knife myself.  Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been / so clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongues, against / The deep damnation of his taking off. (1.7.13-20).  
Macbeth begins to disclose his insecurities and illustrate his lack of passion in becoming King.  Lady Macbeth begins to pinpoint Macbeth’s weaknesses and invades him with the harsh reality of undoing the crime.  Lady Macbeth says, “Art thou afeard / To be the same in thine own act and valor / As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that, which thou esteem’st the ornament of life / And live a coward thine own esteem, / Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’” (1.7.40-44).  She refers to Macbeth as a coward and accuses him of betraying his word.  Macbeth finds this degrading and this forces him to relinquish his insecurities about committing regicide.  Lady Macbeth takes her persuasion to a higher altitude when she states “What beast wasn’t then, / That made you break this enterprise to me? / When you durst do it, then you were a man; / And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man” (1.7.48-51).  Lady Macbeth is denouncing Macbeth’s role as a man and is questioning his initiatives.  These are all mechanisms Lady Macbeth uses to bring atrocities back into Macbeth’s mind.  It is clear that Lady Macbeth’s role as an agitator is unmistakably distinguished and her approach in persuading Macbeth is successful in achieving her aspirations.  Lady Macbeth’s power of persuasion eventually brings Macbeth to his own destruction.
In conclusion, persuasion leads to destruction, resentment, and death for Macbeth.  It is seen throughout the play that Macbeth falls into the dark corners of the art of persuasion and is unable to escape.  It is shown through the witches’ premonitions that Macbeth is led to believe he will become King, through Macbeth’s own personal persuasions in believing that killing the King would bring the ultimate prize of royalty, and through Lady Macbeth’s creating a false confidence in Macbeth’s ambitions.  Ultimately, Macbeth’s greed restricts his conscience and takes away his most valuable possession: his life.  The needs and desires of his own cold heart lead to his self-destruction all due to the art of persuasion.


Shakespeare, William. Macbeth: Oxford School Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 21) Persuasion In Macbeth Essay. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/persuasion-in-macbeth-essay/
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"Persuasion In Macbeth Essay." WePapers, Dec 21, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/persuasion-in-macbeth-essay/
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Persuasion In Macbeth Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/persuasion-in-macbeth-essay/. Published Dec 21, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2022.

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