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To what extent was Macbeth the architect of his own downfall?

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Introduction

James Merz Thursday 22, 2007 To what extent was Macbeth the architect of his own downfall? The play Macbeth attempts to communicate to readers that once someone begins to use violence in his or her quest for power, it is hard to halt them. It also seeks to show the corrupting and demoralizing effect of ambition on any person, regardless of their integrity. Macbeth, the main character, is the protectorate of everything good, and shows the qualities of a hero. However, during the course of the play, Macbeth changes drastically under the influence of power; power he has acquired through ambition and unjust murder. Macbeth goes to great lengths in order to maintain this status of power and finds himself killing and harming people without remorse to keep his status. However, none of this would have occurred if it hadn't been for the witches, the characters who are to blame for Macbeth's downfall. ...read more.

Middle

At the same time, Banquo, a good friend of Macbeth's who is present when the witches speak to him, is not fooled by the witches. Banquo recognizes from the very beginning that the witches mean no good and realizes that "the instruments of darkness tell us truths; win us with honest trifles, to betray's in deepest consequence." What this means is that the witches are not to be trusted. They may have told Macbeth some truth but in the end they mean him harm. Act 4, Scene 1 supports this argument. Macbeth wishes to speak to the witches a second time in order to receive a second set of predictions. The predictions he receives are made out to deceive him and take advantage of the fact that he yearns for power. One very important prediction, the second one, given by the witches is, "Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth". ...read more.

Conclusion

He had trusted the witches to speak the truth, yet their paradoxical predictions, which were meant to create a sense of ambition and total power, caused him to underestimate the enemy and eventually led to his downfall. Although it is possible to throw the blame onto somebody else, such as Lady Macbeth, who persuades Macbeth into committing the initial murder, it is undisputable that without the witches none of the events would have occurred. Even Macbeth cannot be held accountable for his actions because the witches took advantage of him. They relied on man's ambition and his strive for power, all they had to do is give him the initial nudge. For this reason they decided to present Macbeth with these predictions, in order to raise his hopes. Macbeth was manipulated by the witches and therefore everything resulting from his speaking to them (all of the murders and Macbeths own downfall) are the witches' fault, which is why all other arguments are rendered invalid and the witches are entirely to blame. Word Count: 796 ...read more.

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