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To What Extent is Macbeth to Blame for his Own Downfall?

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 865
  • Category: Macbeth

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Written in the year 1606 whilst the reign of King James, ‘Macbeth’ is a tragic play as there are many brutal murders. The main themes of this play are betrayal, power and the supernatural. At the time Shakespeare wrote ‘Macbeth’, his audience highly believed in the existence of supernatural beings rather than today where everyone knows that they do not exist. At first Macbeth is a soulful and greatly loyal soldier who slowly falls to become a black hearted murderer, but there are several factors to consider when blaming someone or thing for this outcome.

Before the audience meets Macbeth he is mentioned by the third witch in Act 1 Scene 1 and again by Ross and the Captain in Act 1 Scene 2. In Scene 1 which is the prologue of evil and the witches arrange to meet Macbeth “Upon the heath” and “When the battle’s lost, and won” referring to the winning and losing of the coming war showing that the witches have immense power and Macbeth has no control on whether he meets them or not as his fate has already been written for him to meet witches on the heath. In Scene two Macbeth is referred to as “Bellona’s bridegroom” this means he looked like the husband of the roman goddess of war in battle implying that he was a ferocious warrior. Also “brave” Macbeth is said to have performed “bloody execution” and he “unseam’d” people from their “ave” to “th’chaps” showing that Macbeth dominated the battle field as a great courageous warrior.

When Lady Macbeth finds out about the witches predictions she starts to become cold hearted, wanting Macbeth to become king at any cost to satisfy her greed for power and wealth. During this she starts to have concerns about Macbeth’s kind nature and that he will not be able to kill the king and claim the throne so she can become queen. In Scene 7 Macbeth decides they would not kill Duncan because he is Duncan’s “kinsman” and his “subject”, but also as his “host” he should prevent any harm from coming across Duncan and not bear the knife to cause the harm.

Once Macbeth told Lady Macbeth that they “will proceed no further” in the killing of their king, Lady Macbeth becomes enraged and uses reverse psychology to change his mind, she tells him he is a coward and not a man “live a coward” eventually capturing him in her plot, changing his mind, making it seem as if he has no will of his own.

In Act 3 Scene 2 Macbeth is worried about Banquo knowing that he killed Duncan as Banquo was with Macbeth when the witches gave their predictions, resulting in Banquo’s murder. Before Macbeth acted on the witches prediction but now he is becoming a cold blooded murderer as this murder is planned and driven by Macbeth whereas Duncan’s murder was driven by Lady Macbeth.

In Act 4 Scene 1 Macbeth revisits the witches to find out what the future holds for him but what comes across him he does not understand fully and the audience does this is dramatic irony. The first vision is an “armed Head” telling him to “Beware the Thane of Fife” suggesting that Macduff is a danger to him. Second is a “bloody child” stating “for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” informing Macbeth in such a way, he feels that no one can harm him, but still it was suggesting that Macduff is a danger as he “was from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d”.

Next a “child crowned with a tree in his and” comes telling Macbeth that he “shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him” increasing his confidence as it is not physically possible for a forest to “unfix” their “earthbound” roots and travel twelve miles. The second and third predictions lead Macbeth to think he is indestructible as they do not show him the truth straight, it is told to him as a riddle which he misinterprets. Shortly after Macbeth learns that Macduff has fled to England, as an attempt to make him return Macbeth decides to have Macduff’s wife and children to be killed, at this point I feel that he has become purely evil and his mind has been covered in darkness, so he is doing such a disgraceful thing. When he plotted to kill Fleance he could justify it because his throne was in danger but he was in no danger from Lady Macduff and her children.

I mainly blame Macbeth himself for his own downfall as he allowed hit thoughts to be moulded by Lady Macbeth’s words and be influenced by the witches’ predictions. Another reason is that he blindly believed the witches and had too much faith in evil. I also partially blame Lady Macbeth because the witches predicted that Macbeth would become they did not say Duncan had to be killed, even though he named Malcolm his successor, Malcolm could have died first. So as it was Lady Macbeth’s idea to kill Duncan it is to some extent here fault.

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