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Who plants the seeds of evil in Macbeth and who is responsible for his downfall?

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TASK: - Who plants the seeds of evil in Macbeth and who is responsible for his downfall? INTRODUCTION: - King James I supported Shakespeare by paying for the performance costs of his plays. For this reason, the play 'Macbeth' contained several references to the Stuart dynasty. These include Banquo who was invented by a historian friend of Shakespeare's, to represent the source of Stuart royalty. It was this historian friend, Rapheal Holinshed, who first gave Shakespeare his ideas for 'Macbeth'. The real Macbeth was a competent, reforming king and the real Duncan was very unpopular and was murdered, possibly by Macbeth. Shakespeare reversed the roles to show that God appointed the king and so by harming the king, you were harming God. This 'hidden message' was added because the play was written less than a year after the Gunpowder Plot was thwarted. The main candidates for the cause of Macbeth's downfall in the play are: the witches, who actually planted the seeds of evil by giving him ideas; Lady Macbeth, who, after hearing about the witches predictions, planned to make sure they came true; and Macbeth's own ambition which was the reason he carried out Lady Macbeth's plans. MACBETH: - Overall, Macbeth's character doesn't change very much throughout the play. For most of the play, he is a brave soldier used to killing, but when it comes to killing his friends, like Duncan or Banquo, he has trouble because of his friendship, although he finds it easier to kill Banquo, his best friend, than he does to kill Duncan. ...read more.


After seeing the apparitions Macbeth leaves feeling over - confident. This is to be expected as Hecate, who was believed to be the goddess of witchcraft, predicted that over confidence "Is mortals' chiefest enemy." When Lady Macbeth expresses her desires to make Macbeth king, he finds her ideas to be with merit, but not enough for him to decide straight away. In fact, all he can say is "We will speak further - ". When he decides to murder Duncan, Macbeth feels very guilty and starts to hear voices saying things like; "Macbeth does murder sleep", "Glamis hath murdered sleep" and "Macbeth shall sleep no more". After the murder of Banquo, the only thing that Macbeth feels when the murderers tell him that the deed is done, is anxiety that Fleance escaped. The reason that he felt no compassion at first was because he both; hadn't carried out the murder himself and had turned almost completely to evil at this point. The last time Lady Macbeth takes control is when Banquo's ghost appears to Macbeth. From this point Macbeth no longer appears to need his wife and starts to take control himself. He goes to the witches for a second time to hear their predictions. Macbeth went into decline because, once he had committed himself to carry out the evil acts, including murdering Duncan and Banquo, he felt that it would be easier to continue on his current path than to turn back. ...read more.


"There to meet with Macbeth". Later, when they meet Hecate, who was believed to be the goddess of witchcraft, she rebukes them for not letting her know about their meeting with Macbeth, so that she could take part. "And I the mistress of your charms, The close contriver of all harms, Was never called to bear my part Or show the glory of our art." At the time when Macbeth was written, the theatre going public believed very strongly in the existence of witches and thought that witches could sail in sieves (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 7), tell the future (Act 1, Scene 3 & Act 4, Scene 1), generally do evil things to people (see 'Macbeth' by W. Shakespeare.). The witches were included as something the audience recognised and could believe. The witches influenced Macbeth by toying with his ambitions by giving him promises of greatness of which only one promise was true, the others were just possibilities planted as seeds of evil into the mind of Macbeth. The only truth in all of their promises is the one about Macbeth being made Thane of Cawdor. CONCLUSION: - To sum up, I believe that Lady Macbeth was responsible for Macbeth's downfall, although it was the witches who planted the seeds of evil in him. With just Macbeth's ambition and the witches in the equation, the plot would have just come to nothing, but Lady Macbeth was the catalyst for Macbeth's fall because she was the one who urged him to kill Duncan. STEWART RICE 11H WEDNESDAY, 02 MAY 2007 1 ...read more.

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