• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What was the main cause of Macbeth's downfall?

Extracts from this document...


Macbeth Lady Macbeth and the witches appear to play a vital role in the actions of Macbeth in the play by William Shakespeare. From the opening scene the witches prophesy sets the course for the rest of the play. In act 1, the witches predict that Macbeth will one day become king. The opening scene tells us a lot about the play. Shakespeare immediately portrays to the Elizabethan audience that something sinister is to happen during the course of the play. The mention of Macbeth in the scene puts Macbeth in a negative light as the Elizabethan audience is greatly superstitious. The moment that they saw witches on stage, they were likely to assume evil and treachery was to happen involving Macbeth. During scene 1, the witches end by saying 'Hover through the fog and filthy air'. This gives the audience a sense of mystery; an idea that something supernatural is at work. They're given the impression that something is being hidden in the darkness. It gives the impression of more to come and something deeper the audience is yet to see. Also, the conundrum, 'Fair is foul and foul is fair' causes them to think of the implications (apparently evil) that will come of this gathering. ...read more.


Banquo doesn't necessarily believe the witches or at least is wary of their prophesies - dismissing them. In contrast, Macbeth is eager and wants to hear more. Macbeth says,' Say you imperfect speakers tell me more'. He is pleading for more information. Throughout her second soliloquy, Lady Macbeth makes several references to her religion, asking for heaven's sight to be blinded. Shakespeare writes as her '...Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry 'Hold! Hold!' She is hoping that God doesn't see what she is planning to do; which shows that although she is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals, she still fears God. Macbeth in contrast, appears heroic before this. A champion fighter, prided for serving his country and his king in battle (a concept not unknown to the Elizabethans). He is comes across a loyal man, succumbing to the influence of evil (the witches) and overwhelmed with the ambition of his wife. On the other hand, some might comment that Macbeth agreed to easily for any pressure to be inflicted upon him or more commonly that he was not without ambition. ...read more.


Macbeth doesn't fell that Duncan deserves death. He says 'Duncan has borne his faculties so meek...that his virtues will plead like angels'. He is saying that the king will have the heavens and their angels grieving for his death. Macbeth's soliloquy in Act two scene one makes us question Macbeth's sanity. Just beforehand, Macbeth and Banquo are discussing the queens as 'the three weird sisters'. This reminds the audience of the witches, which brings them to consider the sisters when listening to his soliloquy. In the soliloquy, Macbeth is seeing a bloodied blade that is not their. He asks himself if he is going mad and therefore imagining it. He sees it as a sign almost, telling him to decide whether to kill Duncan or not as the bell rings. He seems afraid that Duncan will see through his plot as he hears the bell - which Macbeth sees as a call to come and fulfil his plot, sentencing the king to heaven or to hell. Perhaps the influence of the witches was in hand here, spurring Macbeth onwards with his task. The witches and Lady Macbeth set all the wheels in motion for Macbeth's downfall. By the end, the Lady goes mad with guilt and kills herself which further persuades some that she was not herself before that point. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work