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

Who is most to blame for the tragedy of Macbeth?

Extracts from this document...


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.

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

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. The Witches Are to Blame for Macbeth's downfall

    Does he actually deserve to be king? Lady Macbeth, who really influenced and manipulated Macbeth for the worst is also another key factor in Macbeth's downgrade. After Lady Macbeth reads Macbeth's letter about his fortune that was foretold by the 3 witches, she conducts a deadly plan to kill King Duncan.

  2. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    Macbeth doesn't want to kill the king himself, though he would be happy for the king to be murdered and wants the king to be murdered, just as long as it is not he who does the deed; "what thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win," as Lady Macbeth puts it.

  1. Who is to blame for Macbeth's downfall?

    In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a brave knight who fights for the king without mercy but his strive for ambition and his curious nature leads him to the witches who gave him a prophecy. Banquo realises that there must be a trick hidden somewhere but Macbeth refuses

  2. What part does Lady Macbeth play in Macbeth's downfall?

    So I think that she believes it is her duty to be loving and supportive to pressure him to fulfil his ambitions. There is a lot of evidence in the play that suggest that her character is loving and supportive, rather than just pure evil.

  1. How can blame be apportioned in “Macbeth”?

    Also the health of Lady Macbeth worries him. Her suicide does not strike him so much with grief but rather unleashes his disenchantment and pessimistic view of life. He bitterly reflects: "[Life] is tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." And when he discovers that Birnam Wood apparently moves toward Dunsinane he realises that the witches cheated him.

  2. Who Is To Blame For the Tragedy of Macbeth?

    The ruination of Scotland is also a tragedy as only a few weeks before, the country was happy. Another 'tragedy' in this play is the breaking of a very close relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. At the beginning of the play Macbeth was open towards her and they saw

  1. Who Is To Blame For The Tragedy Of Macbeth?

    shuts himself up away from the witch's temptations but Macbeth is fascinated by the news and he is spell bound because Banquo says, 'Look how our partner's rapt.' The witches have secured their target, they chanted their spell to ensure they had maximum influence over him and their language is

  2. English Macbeth coursework-Is the supernatural wholly responsible for the tragedy that occurs or is ...

    fact that she works with the weird sisters to influence Macbeth suggests that she is at least indirectly allied with them. Though it can be said that, Lady Macbeth retains her mortal form and temporal powers; she has simply touched on the deep-seated ambitions and greed that were already present in him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work