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Is Macbeth ultimately responsible for his downfall?

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Introduction

Macbeth is a tragedy written by the playwright William Shakespeare for King James VI. It is about Macbeths change from brave soldier to uncaring murderer. In this essay I will be discussing whether Macbeth was responsible for his actions and his ultimate downfall. The play starts with the three witches on a moor during a battle between the Scots and the King of Norway aided by the traitorous Thane of Cawdor. They plan to meet with Macbeth. By saying his name they associate him with evil or the supernatural. They say 'Fair is foul and foul is fair' This gives the impression of chaos and things not being what they seem which is a recurring theme throughout the play. After winning the battle Macbeth and his friend and comrade Banquo meet the witches on the moor. The witches tell them their future and Macbeth goes on a killing spree to achieve his goal of being king culminating in his demise at the hands, or rather the sword, of Macduff. The Two Main characters are Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, his wife. Macbeth starts out as a well-known and highly respected warrior. He is absolutely trusted by King Duncan who says of him 'O Valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.' ...read more.

Middle

This shows us a less brutal and more sensitive side to her personality, and shows that beneath her ambition she is not a completely evil, power driven person. It demonstrates that she still has a conscience and that she does not find pleasure in murders, but merely uses them as a means to an end. This side of her personality is emphasized when she starts to become mad after the murder of Duncan. She ends up sleepwalking and trying to get rid of invisible blood stains on her hands before killing herself near the end. The Witches or Weird Sisters only appear a few times during the play, yet each time they appear they create a sense of foreboding and general unpleasantness. In my opinion they are the main evil in the play, as they appear to be evil incarnate and the main reason for everything happening in the first place. The Weird Sisters are apparently very ugly as Banquo says "So withered, and so wild in their attire, that look not like th'inhabintants o'th'earth, and yet are on't? Live you? Or are you aught that man may question? You seem to understand me, By each at once her choppy finger laying upon her skinny lip: You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so." ...read more.

Conclusion

Macduff, showing that while he was hesitant to begin with he is, towards the end, very committed to staying in power and will not let anyone get in his way. In conclusion, I think that although Macbeth had a lot of pushing from Lady Macbeth and the Weird Sisters to carry out the first murder and therefore become king, his rise to power and ultimate downfall are largely of his own doing. While he longed for power greater than he already held he could have ignored his urges and continued as a valued and noble knight with close personal connections to Duncan, he did not have to kill Duncan and yet he chose to. Virtually condemning himself. The subsequent murders of Banquo, the slaughter of Macduff's family, and the attempt to eradicate Macduff himself were unneeded. Again, while his decisions were being influenced by outside factors from the witches and his wife, he could have chosen to ignore them and trust that none of his subjects would attempt to overthrow him therefore keeping the people on his good side and still having Banquo as his friend. So although he has been almost bullied by other people eager and ambitious for power, he made most of the decisions for himself which makes his defeat basically his own fault. ...read more.

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