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The tragedy of Macbeth comes about because of a single event in his life.

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The tragedy of Macbeth comes about because of a single event in his life. If that one moment, the meeting with the witches on the heath, had not happened then Macbeth would no doubt have gone on to be a loyal and respected subject of King Duncan and, later, King Malcolm. However, the meeting did happen and the powerful force of ambition was unleashed within Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. It is the combination of these two factors, the meeting with the witches and Macbeth's own inner demons, that lead to tragedy, and make the play 'terrifying' in the Aristotelian sense. The three witches are certainly responsible for initiating the events that lead to Macbeth's tragedy. Their greeting to him 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! feed straight into his desire for advancement. At this point in the play he is the newly appointed thane of Glamis but assumes that the thane of Cawdor still lives. When news arrives that he is to be the new thane of Cawdor, Macbeth sees the second greeting as a prediction and cannot help but wonder whether the third greeting will also prove accurate. ...read more.


She is not inhuman, however, and refrains from killing Duncan herself because he resembles her father. In fact, her humanity reasserts itself after the murder and it is she, not Macbeth, who descends into guilt-induced madness and despair, taking no further part in Macbeth's crimes. Macbeth Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck. Lady Macbeth is the catalyst that ensures the witches' evil desires become reality. She appears to think that the murder of Duncan is the only obstacle on the road to power and that the deed will have no consequences A little water clears us of this deed. She pushed her husband towards killing the king but ultimately it is Macbeth who does the deed. All school children are aware that there is a vast difference between encouraging someone to do something and doing it yourself: 'and if your friend told you to jump off a cliff would you do that as well?' teachers have asked rhetorically over generations, knowing that the answer is 'no'. Lady Macbeth cannot be held responsible for her husband's crimes although in a modern court she might be tried as an "accessory before and after the fact". Macbeth begins the play as a successful warrior with a bright future. ...read more.


The once great warrior who his wife thought "too full o' the milk of human kindness" becomes desensitised to the death and suffering he brings about and he is incapable of escaping from the bloody conclusion to his course of action. I am in blood Step't in so far that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er This, then, is the tragedy of Macbeth. A single incident that plays upon the worst part of his character leads inevitably to his death. A less ambitious man would not have been tempted, a weaker man would not have dared, but because of his circumstances and his character, Macbeth falls. Aristotle said that one of the signs of a tragedy was that it must terrify the audience. Like Macbeth at the beginning of the play, most members of the audience are likely to have a clear conscience, but what if something happens that reveals your true, ugly nature? Shakespeare chose to make the starting event an encounter with witches, partly to flatter the witch-hating James I and partly to introduce an exciting flavour of the supernatural into the play. But, exciting as the scenes with the witches and Hecate are, they are not at the heart of the tragedy. The witches' powers are limited, Lady Macbeth is only a helper: it is Macbeth's own weaknesses that bring him down. ...read more.

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