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Who is most to blame for the tragedy of Macbeth?

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Who is most to blame for the tragedy of Macbeth? The tragedy of Macbeth is he that he is being constantly transformed throughout the play; from a loyal and wise nobleman to the over-ambitious dead king he finished as. But who is to blame for Macbeths 'misfortune'? The major candidate is of course is Macbeth, that his tragedy was self-inflicted. The other major nominees are Lady Macbeth and the three witches or 'weird sisters' as they are referred to in the play. The witches are arguably the catalysts, at the beginning of the play, for what was to follow. They ignite the ambition, which was perhaps already burning within Macbeth. The first example of this is at the beginning of the play. Act1, scene3, lines 49-50. Banquo: Good sir, why do you start and seem to Fear things that do sound so fair? This shows that Macbeth is shocked after the Witches predictions, his good friend Banquo notices this. There is also a very important link with going's on later in the play. The antithesis between the words 'fair and fear', is linked to the ever present theme of 'fair and foul', and Macbeths confusion between the meaning of the two words. ...read more.


Macbeth has obvious doubts before the murder is committed, but Lady Macbeth soon stifles his scepticism. Act 1, Scene 7, Lines 59-60 Macbeth: If we should fail? Lady Macbeth: We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place, And we'll not fail. So, arguably if Lady Macbeth had not been there to exstinguish Macbeths doubts he may not in fact of committed the murder. Macbeth had no part in the organisation of the murder, Lady Macbeth organises the deed and even goes as far as to fabricate their alibi. Act 1, Scene 7, Line Lady Macbeth: When Duncan is asleep. Whereto the rather shall his days hard journey Soundly invite him, his two chamberlains Will I with wine and wassail so convince. That memory, the warder of the brain, Shall be a fume. Act 1, Scene 7, Lines 77-78 Lady Macbeth: Who dares receive it other, As we shall make our grief's and clamour roar Upon his death? Macbeth plays such a small part in the preparation of the murder it further enforces the idea that Macbeth is simply a puppet; a median for Lady Macbeths ambitions. For it is Lady Macbeth who first has the idea of actually murdering Macbeth. ...read more.


We have already mentioned that Lady Macbeth and the witches are the representatives for evil but that may not be strictly true. In Macbeth's first scene there is connection made between him and the witches. Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 11. All witches: Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Act 1, Scene 2, Line 38. Macbeth: So foul and fair a day I have not seen. I think that Shakespeare was trying to make a direct link between Macbeth and the witches/evil. Macbeth's own withdraw from his wife would have only contributed to his tragedy. If Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's relationship had stayed stable perhaps Macbeth would have had an emotional cushion to fall back on. So who is to blame for the tragedy of Macbeth? All parties: the witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are all somewhat responsible for the tragedy of Macbeth, but arguably so is every character in the play. So who is the main contributor; in my opinion this tragedy is self-inflicted. No matter how evidence you stack against the witches and Lady Macbeth you cannot detract from the fact that Macbeth himself held the knife, gave the orders and made the mistakes. But Macbeth is the story of the 'tragic hero' and it wouldn't be as nearly as tragic if the hero weren't responsible for his own demise ...read more.

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