Is Macbeth Responsible For His Own Downfall?

1318 words - 6 pages

16/3/06
English Essay
Is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall?

Macbeth is not totally responsible for his downfall. He had half the hand in his own demise. The following reasons and people are responsible for how he fell from the top to the very bottom:

Lady Macbeth played a very strong part in the first half of the play where she contributed much to the demise of the leading character: Macbeth. She is described as malevolent, conniving, sneaky, clever and evil. Shakespeare has manipulated the audience to believe whatever he wants them to believe in this play, and the audience does, and works very well with Lady Macbeth. The audience hates her for being a “dangerous woman”, which ...view middle of the document...

Lady Macbeth also tries to reason with him and persuade her spouse.

“When you durst do it, then you were a man; and, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more than the man.” (Act 1 scene 7). Why, you ask, does Lady Macbeth have her husband do the killing for her if she wants it so badly? Is it because she is a coward? No, it’s because in those days, women could do nothing by law and by “social” rules. Because of her courage, she wishes that she could do the things that men could do. She wishes that she could have the privileges that men have.

Lady Macbeth is 35 percent responsible for Macbeth’s downfall because she manipulated his weaknesses for their (or her) gain.

The Three Witches (or the three weird sisters as they are referred to in the play) play a necessary role in the play of Macbeth. Though they did nothing to purposefully harm Macbeth or attempt to control the main character, they had a strong part in his ruin. The three witches, as evil and trouble causing as they may be, seemed to try and attempt to help Macbeth by telling him his future.

“All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis”
“All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor”
“All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter” (Act 1 scene 3)

If their attempt is not to help, then what is it? When Macbeth is told that he will become thane of Cawdor and eventually king before he has been told officially, this fills him with a strong new hope and his sub-conscious, secret ambition is seen properly for the first time by himself. This is the beginning of his heinous rise to the highest position in the hierarchy in the land of Scotland at the time, to his own tragic death. The witches are partially responsible for his rise and demise because they opened up his own pathway to what he (and Lady Macbeth) has always wanted.
The witches are 15 percent responsible for his down fall.

Macbeth is very complicated (perhaps the most complex character of all the characters in the book) and there is much to say about him. He is almost perfect in every way that a man could want to be in the beginning of the book. He is courageous, smart, an excellent swordsman, and brutally powerful. Though of course we don’t yet know that he has his weaknesses that have as many vices as he has virtues and good characteristics at the beginning.

The first signs of him “losing it” are in Act 3 scene 4 where Macbeth has just seen the ghost of Banquo who sits in Macbeth’s seat. At the sight of this Macbeth becomes hysterical...

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