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To what extent is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall?

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English Coursework- Sophie Garrod 5MCG To what extent is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall? During this time in British history, there were many violent battles and plots used in everyday life. It was not wrong to barbarically kill someone using extreme methods during a battle. In fact, if the person was an enemy, rewards were entitled. Many people were also greatly affected by the Kings views on certain issues, and no one really had an opinion of their own, and if they ever spoke out against the King, serious punishments would have been applicable. I think that this was one of the reasons Macbeth committed the crimes he did. The surroundings, in which he was in as Thane of Glamis, influenced him greatly and he became bloodthirsty and excessively ambitious, even to the point where he was willing to kill another human being in order to get what he wanted. In my essay, I will begin to explain the people, the circumstances and certain aspects of Macbeth's own personality, which drove him to commit such horrific crimes. In the first scene of the play, the witches are firstly introduced to the reader. The detail of this scene urges the reader's imagination to sense a confusion of the usual human nature. The scene is a reverse of human values, and the readers mind enters a world of darkness and becomes a sinister challenge to ordinary goodness. The last lines of scene one, which the witches announce, "Foul is fair and fair is foul, hover through the fog and filthy air," suggests that there is to be a complete change in someone's life. ...read more.


This part of the speech shows that as his kinsman and as his host should be more of a protector rather than a traitor. Macbeth's will is weakened by speculation whereas Lady Macbeth's will is strengthened by a concentration of the act of killing Duncan. When Macbeth announces that he cannot go through with the murder, Lady Macbeth explains her plan, her main argument is that her husband needs to prove his manhood by acting decisively. She uses emotional blackmail to convince him that it is the right thing to do "How tender 'tis to love a babe that milks me- I would while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from its boneless gums, And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you, Have done this". This speech provides the reader and the audience with a truly repulsive image, and although it is a very appalling description, it is extremely persuasive. Macbeth is very impressed with her, and I think that at this point he is nearly convinced. He asks her a question after this remarkable speech, "If we should fail?" Lady Macbeth has not even contemplated failure, and in reply, she insults her husband by referring to his courage "But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we'll not fail". At the end of this scene, Macbeth is determined to murder Duncan. Lady Macbeth's emotional blackmail, persuasive language and insulting behaviour eventually convinces her husband to kill another human being. ...read more.


He begins to wonder why no one else can see the ghost. Lady Macbeth becomes anxious of her husbands behaviour at the banquet. This becomes a key moment in the play for the reader and the audience because Macbeth is in a terrible state of mind, and is not composed as a King is supposed to be. This shows his ambition getting the better of him and he is unable to control it. His mind is spiralling out of control and it is all because he wanted to a little bit more successful. When murdering Duncan he had Lady Macbth to reassure him and keep him in a clear and concise state of mind. This time with Banquo, he has no one to turn to and no one to help him. I think this is why he hallucinates and begins to go slightly insane. I think that the most important factors in Macbeths downfall are the extreme ambition which Macbeth's personality contains, and also Lady Macbeth, who persuades him to go through with killing Duncan. I think when he killed Duncan he felt more power and therefore felt as if he could get away with killing someone else. I think he felt extreme capability, and this made him become more ruthless throughout the play. The time in which the play was set, also adds to Macbeths downfall, as it was not unusual to kill someone of a higher status, as at this time, many men and women craved power and respect. ...read more.

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