Because MacBeth spans such a broad range of characters, living, dead and otherwise, it is able to present a unique portrayal of the human condition. Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, the first few scenes presage the events to come. By the end of the Third Scene we know the state of the war, the status of Macbeth in the King’s esteem and have received the prophecies of the three weird sister, two of which have already come true. Although MacBeth’s Queen is often condemned by her contributions for MacBeth’s corruption, it is clear from the following passage that he was not free of blame from the start.
As happy prologues to the swelling act
Of the imperial theme.—I thank you, gentlemen.—
[Aside.] This supernatural soliciting
Cannot be ill; cannot be good:—if ill,
Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor:
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair,
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings:
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man, that function
Is smother'd in surmise; and nothing is
Throughout, the play there are ongoing themes of heroism, and betrayal that are characteristic of tragedy. The bold hero MacBeth that we hear referred to by Duncan the King of Scotland is more than ready to take that Kingship for himself by the end of the Third Scene. Then there is Lady MacBeth, often considered one of Shakespeare’s most evil characters. She drives, cajoles and connives like a Scottish version of Eve, to move her husband to the deadly betrayal. In this manner, the story tell and parallels the decent of man and the banishment from the garden.