Goldman, Michael. "Speaking Evil: Language and Action in Macbeth."
Acting and Action in Shakespearean Tragedy. Princeton: Princeton U P, 1985. 94-111.

Thesis: At the end of his essay, Goldman sums up:

I have certainly not meant to account for all Macbeth's actions in these pages, nor to describe his character entire. But I hope I have succeeded in suggesting that his play forces us not only to imagine evil but to imagine what it is like to commit evil. Through the actor who plays Macbeth, we learn to develop our own capacity for murder, we learn how to choose murder, we rehearse a crime. We learn, as they play enables the actor to learn, by developing, extending, projecting, our own imaginations. The mind of Macbeth is constructed so that, unlike most criminals, he keeps acutely imagining the horror of what he is doing even while he keeps on doing it. The actor constructs Macbeth's criminal capacity by a series of attacks on the thick and thickening atmosphere which seems, from the very beginning of the play, to fall upon him like a thunder-cloud, but seems equally to be rising from within. The movement of the play in performance should be a flight from horror into horror, always a little faster than we expect, a flight like Macbeth's own flight from and toward the horror in his mind. Macbeth can never escape the weight of that instigation in his head, and his language, properly performed, performed as Shakespeare has designed it to be performed, allows us to share his experience of an evil which he discovers unaccountably present, a sudden deposit, and condensation at once natural and unnatural, inside him. For this ultimately is what holds Macbeth rapt through the entire play: the fact that the evil he grapples with is his.  (110-111)
Evaluation: Goldman's summation is the best thing about his essay. It's a persuasive point to say that the play reveals not so much Macbeth's motivation (ambition, we may say, though Macbeth barely mentions it) as the state of mind and soul that leads a person to do what he knows is wrong in every way, legally, morally, and spiritually. However, in the body of his essay, Goldman thrashes around quite a bit. He starts with the idea that the actor's effort ("action" in Goldman's terminology) in delivering Macbeth's highly condensed poetic langauge "points to" motifs within the play. He writes,
To begin with, let me provisionally characterize the verbal movement I have been describing as, in a phrase, a snatching into the thickness. I choose "thickness" not simply because of "Light thickens," but because it points to an underlying pattern of imagery which I think is of the greatest importance in Macbeth. This is the motif of the thickening of fluids. I have in mind for example, the filling of the air with rain, fog, and smoke; Lady Macbeth's blood thickening; the brew in the witches' caldron growing thick and slab; light thickening to produce darkness; the sea turning red with blood.  (97)
To me, the phrase "points to" is troublesome; it leaves unexplained the status of the actors' efforts. Do we in the audience see both the actor grappling with Shakespeare's words and Macbeth grappling with his moral "thickening"? However, Goldman's loose handling of one of his main points doesn't negate the value of the whole essay. He has intelligent things to say about other aspects of the play and Macbeth's character, especially Macbeth's imagination and conscience.

Bottom Line: OK.