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Was Macbeth responsible for his own downfall or are there other factors, which need to be taken into consideration?

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Introduction

Was Macbeth responsible for his own downfall or are there other factors, which need to be taken into consideration? As soon as we start to read the play, we learn that Macbeth has earned himself a honorable reputation, and is described by king Duncan as a 'valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!' His loyalty and bravery are portrayed through his defeat of the Norwegian army and Scottish rebels, and he returns from battle, a gallant and reputable soldier. The extent of his courage is shown as he is interminably praised by his noblemen, has become a hero of Scotland. Then he becomes Thane of Cawdor then the king but this is when all the `hurlyburly` starts which leads to Macbeth's demise. Whilst returning from a tough battle, he meets the three witches. They are dark, mysterious creatures, who are portrayed as supernatural beings that symbolise evil. We are shown their evil characteristics when they utter the phrase, 'Fair is foul and foul is fair', which means good is evil and evil is good. Their evil appearance raises questions about their gender, 'you should be women And yet your beards forbid me to interpret, That you are so', which is able to shroud the readers in a vague understanding of their existence. The three Witches introduce the theme of 'Fair is Foul' in Macbeth and are the first characters seen in the play: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair". ...read more.

Middle

In the first few scenes she seems to be as evil as she proclaims she is, but as the play develops, so her conscience catches up with her and she becomes mentally ill. She shares the symptoms of sleeplessness and hallucinations with Macbeth that hark back to when he heard the voice call "Sleep no more!" immediately after Duncan's murder. This seems to be a curse, as does the vision of bloody hands. If indeed it is an actual curse then this would mean some greater force is involved in the story, but it could alternatively be nothing but their consciences and feelings of guilt and remorse. Lady Macbeth had many reasons for wanting her husband to kill the king; mostly she was driven by ambition. She lusted after a royal title and power. "The golden round" is the euphemism she uses for the crown, to her this symbolises both wealth and power. The power was perhaps the most important thing to her, control seems to be a major factor in the marriage and her main reason for the murder. Alternatively she could be driven by the pride she felt in her husband´┐Żs success when he won the first titles. Or she could be driven by greed. She could long for a higher social status, or there could be other, larger factors in the murder... ...read more.

Conclusion

Hath it slept since? , And wakes it now, to look so green and pale, At what it did so freely?' This pressure from his wife, to do the deed and prove himself manly, leads him to strengthen his will, and also shows how easily influenced he is 'I am settled, and bend up, Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.' In conclusion, Lady Macbeth was a tool of fate. There is a possibility that the supernatural powers harnessed by the witches could have been use to control Macbeth, and force him to carry out the evil acts that he fulfilled, although we are not informed of any such goings on, and so cannot be sure of it. The witches manipulated her, or their controller did so, to in turn exercise her influence over Macbeth and play out a series predetermined events. Maybe there isn't meant to be a reason in this play, but there is a moral, a mystery, and a great underlying evil. Nobody knows what Shakespeare wanted this evil to represent, perhaps he did not know himself; or perhaps it represents the vulnerability of all humans to fate, or chance; perhaps it pessimistically represents a basic evil in humans; or perhaps he wrote it to enthrall his audiences and leave them wondering... Paul Gregson Macbeth Coursework English set 2 ...read more.

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