Macbeth Critical Essay

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Critical Essay “Macbeth”
Between the years 1606 and 1611, William Shakespeare; arguably one of the world’s greatest dramatists, wrote a play full of treachery and greed. The story of ‘Macbeth’ is a complex and absorbing piece of literature that completely immerses the reader within its pages. Shakespeare’s idea of a noble warrior deceiving his country by committing regicide is more than historical facts; the play however is based around a more fictional nature as Shakespeare introduces the conceptualization of witchcraft. The tale of “Macbeth” begins with thunder and lightning, with the Three Witches deciding that their next meeting shall be with Macbeth. In the following scene, a wounded captain reports to King Duncan of Scotland that his generals Macbeth and Banquo have just defeated the allied forces of Norway and Ireland, who were led by the rebel Macdonwald. Later Macbeth and Banquo are on horseback discussing the weather and their victory. As they wander onto a heath, they meet the three Witches, who are waiting to greet them with prophecies. Even though it is Banquo who first challenges them, they address Macbeth. The first hails Macbeth as "Thane of Glamis", the second as "Thane of Cawdor", and the third proclaims that he shall "be King". Macbeth appears to be stunned to silence, so again Banquo challenges them. The Witches inform Banquo he shall father a line of kings, though he himself will not be one. While the two men wonder at these pronouncements, the Witches vanish. Ross, a messenger from the King, arrives and informs Macbeth of his newly bestowed title, “Thane of Cawdor.” The first prophecy is thus fulfilled. Immediately, Macbeth begins to harbour ambitions of becoming king. Macbeth writes to his wife about the Witches' prophecies. When Duncan decides to stay at the Macbeths' castle at Inverness, Lady Macbeth hatches a plan to murder him and secure the throne for her husband. Although Macbeth raises concerns about the regicide, Lady Macbeth eventually persuades him, by challenging his manhood, to follow her plan. Macbeth was a weak character, despite his noble and honourable reputation. It was this weakness that allowed him to be seduced by the witches’ prophecy; it was this very same weakness that resulted in his succumbing to his devious, determined and power hungry wife and it was ultimately this weakness that resulted in Macbeth’s downfall. However, despite this flaw Macbeth was not solely to blame for his demise, the witches’ prophecy ignited Macbeth’s ambition and his wife, Lady Macbeth, was even more ambitious and more determined than her husband.

Macbeth’s strive for power affects every aspect of his life, and this motivation eventually leads to his demise. Many different factors play a pivotal role in deciding his ill-fated future. With his wife’s cajoling, and the three witches’ foretelling of his future Macbeth, will stop at nothing to gain position as King of Scotland.

The witches and their prophecies are the first major influence on Macbeth’s actions. Macbeth, Thane of Glamis is content with his position, until the three witches tell him, "hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor, thou shalt be King hereafter." (I, iii.). After hearing this, Macbeth and Banquo, his loyal friend, find out that King Duncan has named Macbeth "Thane of Cawdor." They contemplate about how the rest of the prophecy will come true. The witches also advise them that Banquo’s son would be King one day. Macbeth writes a letter to Lady Macbeth explaining what has happened.

Macbeth comes to the realization that for him to in fact become King, he will have to defeat recently named heir to the throne, Malcolm, the King’s son, and also prevent Banqou’s son from gaining access to the throne. Macbeth returns home and he and his wife must play host to the King. Lady Macbeth begins to contemplate what "impedes thee from the golden round" (I, v). She desperately wants her Macbeth to be King and she calls upon the "aids of...
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