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Macbeth Coursework

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To what extent is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall? Macbeth's downfall cannot be attributed to just himself. He is of course partly responsible for his downfall as he killed Duncan, Banquo and Macduff's family, bringing him many enemies. The three witches and Lady Macbeth all had an influence upon Macbeth which makes Macbeth not wholly responsible. An influence upon Macbeth during the play is the three witches. They tell Macbeth his prophecies: that he will become Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland: "All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter." They kindle his ambition by giving him the image of being King of Scotland. At the start of the play the witches say: "Fair is foul and foul is fair." Later on in the play Macbeth says: "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." The witches seem to have influenced Macbeth so that he repeats their words, as if they are always on his mind. This makes one wonder whether Macbeth is in control of himself. ...read more.


He knows his only motive for killing Duncan is his "vaulting ambition" and the consequences if he is found out are dire. He inherently knows what he might do is wrong and that Duncan is a good person: "He hath honour'd me of late." After hearing from her husband that he does not want to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth flies into a rage and accuses him of being disloyal: "What beast was't then that made you break this enterprise to me?" She says that she would rather kill her own child than be untrustworthy to her husband: "I would, while it was smiling in my face, have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums and dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this." She then tries to encourage him and tells of her plan to make it look like the chamberlains killed Duncan. Macbeth is hurt by her criticism and also encouraged by her plan to cover the crime up. At this, he relents and agrees to kill Duncan. ...read more.


But yet I'll make assurance double sure and take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live." Macbeth's eventual death can be attributed to his own wrongdoings after becoming King. However, one could argue that Macbeth's death is different to his downfall. One could say that his downfall began the moment he killed Duncan. One might also say that being King was part of Macbeth's downfall and that his abuse of power was not a cause of his downfall, but a part of it. Whatever occurred after Duncan's death is maybe irrelevant as his downfall began when he killed Duncan. Thus, I believe that whoever persuaded Macbeth to kill Duncan is responsible for his downfall. The witches' prophecies put ideas into Macbeth's head but did not make him kill Duncan. I do not believe that Macbeth wanted to kill Duncan and that it was Lady Macbeth who forced him to, perhaps even against his own will. Therefore Lady Macbeth is the main reason for Macbeth's demise, so although Macbeth killed Duncan and started his own decline, Macbeth is responsible for his own downfall to only a small extent. ?? ?? ?? ?? Michael Leedham ...read more.

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