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To what extent were the witches responsible for the uprising and downfall of Macbeth

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Introduction

To What Extent Were the Witches Responsible for the uprising and downfall of Macbeth? I am going to explore the ways that Macbeth was influenced by other characters into making his decisions in this tragedy. In Macbeth we see the transformation of a reputable war hero who, through the words of other characters and the accumulation of paranoia and insecurity emerges as a heartless murderer. In the beginning of the play Macbeth is a loyal servant to the king Duncan however on the way home from battle he meets "three weird sisters" who prophesise some of the future of Macbeth and his companion Banquo. The first prophecy is that Macbeth will become the Thane of Cawdor. Unknown to Macbeth or Banquo, Macbeth has already been appointed Thane of Cawdor and so this prophecy has already turned out to be true. As the witches played no part in getting Macbeth his new status as Thane, they are not responsible for Macbeth's initial uprising. The witches also prophesise that Macbeth will become king and Banquo's children will become kings. ...read more.

Middle

She has already proved how successful she is at manipulating Macbeth, and with his new role as king the power she would be able to handle would be great. Although the witches were the primary catalysts for Macbeth's new ambitions and actions, it struck me that the main influence for pulling the prophecies together into reality lies with Macbeth's wife who holds the key to making Macbeths prophecy of kingship a reality. I feel Macbeth is like Lady Macbeths' apprentice to who she dictates her orders unto. Macbeth seeks out the witches again to reassure himself. The weird sisters provide further prophecies for Macbeth. Firstly the witches prophesise that Macbeth cannot die until Birnham wood come to Dunsinane castle. This appears absurd to Macbeth as how could a forest move? This provides Macbeth with a new source for reassurance and a new type of confidence. The second prophecy says Macbeth cannot be harmed by a man born of a woman. This too appears odd as everyone is born from their mother. This prophecy reinforces Macbeth's confidence. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because of this fact, it could be voiced that the witches hold sole responsibility for Macbeth's uprising (only to position of king as he was already thane of Cawdor) and for his downfall. I would reject these claims as sometimes things happen that we can't control and it is up to us to deal with things our own way. Macbeth chose power over friendship and love. After all, ultimately is an individual not responsible for his own actions? It is because of Macbeth's flawed nature that he became so susceptible to being brain-washed and eventually ended up where he did. Having said all this I do still think Lady Macbeth played a key role in Macbeth's uprising and downfall as she is the one who aided murdering Duncan and led Macbeth onto his final murderous stand. All in all I believe that to place sole responsibility on the witches is a flawed view as I believe if any single party was to be at fault, it should be either lady Macbeth (for her brain washing and moulding of Macbeths' personality and actions) or Macbeth for fundamentally doing the acts, and for not raising above insecurity and suspicion and believing them. James Reynolds Macbeth ...read more.

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