Is Macbeth hapless in general or is there someone responsible for his downfall? Macbeth, or other known as The Scottish Play, is a famous tragedy written by William Shakespeare. The plot of the play involves Macbeth, a war hero, who has just returned home from war. On the way home, Macbeth is informed by witches, or “weird sisters”, that he will become the Thane of Cawdor, eventually becoming King of Scotland one day. The thought of becoming king excites Macbeth, and eventually Macbeth does become king of Scotland, but Macbeth becomes an unjust king. Macbeth becomes a paranoid, tyrant with tendencies of committing murder. Throughout the play, Macbeth rises to power but soon falls from the throne and to his death. There are three theories that correlate with Macbeth’s downfall. The witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s ambitions are responsible for Macbeth’s downfall.
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The witches are at fault for Macbeth’s downfall because they were the first to fuel Macbeth’s hamartia. The witches are the first to give Macbeth hope of being king. The witches tell Macbeth of a prophecy that includes him receiving the title, Thane of Cawdor, and eventually becoming king. When Macbeth arrives home King Duncan gives Macbeth the position, Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth then fully believes the witches’ prophecy that was given to him. When Macbeth kills Duncan to follow the prophecy and become king, Macbeth changes into an entirely different person. He develops into someone who will kill anyone to protect his spot as King of Scotland. Another reason the witches are to blame for Macbeth’s downfall is when the witches decide to show Macbeth three apparitions. The three ghosts include warning Macbeth about Macduff, the fact that a man not born of a woman could do harm, and that he should not worry until Great Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane Hill.Moreover, the witches should have kept the prophecies to themselves, and not have told Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth is partially responsible for Macbeth’s downfall because she is the person who convinces Macbeth to kill Duncan causing a rippling effect. When Macbeth is considering killing Duncan to become king, Lady Macbeth reads a letter and develops a desire to convince Macbeth to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth persuades Macbeth to kill Duncan, but when Macbeth begins to doubt the plan, Lady Macbeth fights back. She asks Macbeth if he is a coward and questions Macbeth’s manhood. Lady Macbeth then goes on to tell Macbeth that he is breaking his promise to her, and she would rather kill her own child while breastfeeding than break a promise to Macbeth. Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to kill Duncan on his own later in the evening. Although Lady Macbeth changes drastically throughout the play and tries to stop Macbeth from killing more people, she still was the one who convinced Macbeth to kill Duncan beginning everything.
Macbeth is partially responsible for his downfall due to his hamartia. Macbeth’s hamartia is his ambition. Before Macbeth goes home after the war, the protagonist is known as a war hero. Macbeth already has ambition before learning he will become king, but when he is given the weird sisters’ prophecy, his goals turn volatile. Macbeth begins to fall when he finally goes through with killing Duncan, the King. Macbeth later also decides to send murderers to kill Banquo and his son because Macbeth feels threatened. Macbeth decides himself that he is going to send assassins after Banquo and Fleance, proving that Macbeth thought this action out. The fact that Macbeth wanted to get ahead instead of letting fate take its course, is what contributed to his downfall. Another reason why Macbeth’s ambitions are at fault is that after Lady Macbeth tries to stop Macbeth from killing once, Macbeth never confides in her again throughout the play. Macbeth knows that what he is doing is unjust and avoids telling Lady Macbeth, so he will not back out of his decisions. Macbeth’s own ambitions is what fatefully ends his life because Macbeth couldn’t control his dark side.
Although the witches and Lady Macbeth are important contenders in Macbeth’s downfall, Macbeth’s ambition is what caused this tragedy. Even though Macbeth is manipulated by his wife and the witches, Macbeth is the one in control of his actions. “I am in blood/Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,/Returning were as tedious as go o'er (iii.iv.135-137)”. The protagonist demolishes his option of going backwards when he kills Duncan, only fueling his ambitions even more even though he knows what he is doing is erroneous. All in all, Macbeth’s hamartia in this tragedy, is the reason Macbeth fell from power and to his death.