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Who is responsible for Macbeth’s downfall?

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Introduction

Who is responsible for Macbeth's downfall? "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings" ('Julius Caesar.') Although Macbeth is the eponymous hero of the play, in 'Macbeth,' we do not meet him until Act 1, Scene 3. However, we have been prepared for his advent by the witches in Act 1 Scene 1, and subsequently in Act 1 Scene 2, when we hear Macbeth being described as 'valour's minion', establishing that he is a respected, courageous war-hero. The "Bleeding Sergeant," used by Shakespeare as a representative of the soldiers, reveals the extent of the people's admiration "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name." Macbeth has won 'Golden Opinions' for himself, as well as the new title of Thane of Cawdor, because of his loyalty in the War, and it is here in the second scene, that we see him at the height of his popularity, an ostensibly honourable man with many friends. How is it possible that such a person as "brave Macbeth" could have plunged to such a depth that his final epitaph is "this dead butcher"? To my mind, Act 1 Scene 7, is pivotal in Macbeth's development as a psychopathic killer. His entire soliloquy is a summary of why he should not murder the King; he is related to Duncan, he is his subject, his host and should against the murderer... ...read more.

Middle

Faith, here's an equivocator..." Here he is making the link between equivocation and hell, and when the witches prophesise for the second time, the connection between evil and equivocation has already been made in our minds, and therefore it is easy to understand that the apparitions are yet another example of equivocation. We first meet Lady Macbeth reading a letter from her husband, concerning the witches prophecy. Although the intention of murder is never mentioned in words, Lady Macbeth also has the same train of thought to "catch the nearest way." From this information, it appears that the two have a close relationship, but from Lady Macbeth's soliloquy, we can see that they do not. She believes her husband 'is too full o'th'milk of human kindness" but I do not think that she knows her husband very well. At this stage of the play, it appears that Lady Macbeth is the more dominant of the pair. She calls upon the evil spirits to "take my milk for gal" In my opinion, this shows that Lady Macbeth thinks she is capable of such evil, but in truth she is not. Appearances again, are very important. Lady Macbeth tells her husband that he must "look like th'innocent flower, But be the serpent under't. The couple must appear to be serving their King, when underneath they are really plotting to kill him. ...read more.

Conclusion

He becomes painfully aware that he has sold his soul for nothing; he has been duped at every turn, and is now doomed. Ultimately, despite my arguments against the witches and Lady Macbeth, I firmly believe that Macbeth is responsible for his own downfall. All human beings are blessed with the freedom of choice. Cassius says, we must take total responsibility for our own actions; we cannot blame the stars. It is all too easy to cast responsibility upon the witches, or the evil goadings of Lady Macbeth. Without these agencies, he might not have murdered King Duncan, this all surmise. The truth is that he did murder his King and then went on to become a serial killer without any further aid. In fact, he himself admits "I am in blood stepped in so far, that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er." He has full knowledge at this point (Act 3 Scene 4) yet he is not willing to repent and, also, shows that he is calmly prepared to murder many more times. He ends the scene with the truly chilling words: "We are yet but young indeed." Macbeth chose to take the "primrose path to the everlasting bonfire." He threw away his loyalty, his morals and his golden opinions deliberately and deserved Macduff's description of him: "Not in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evils to top Macbeth." ?? ?? ?? ?? Abby Kennedy 1 ...read more.

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