The Witches and Lady Macbeth Are Largely Responsible for Macbeth’s Downfall

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  • Topic: Macbeth, Macbeth of Scotland, Malcolm III of Scotland
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  • Published : July 26, 2008
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The witches and Lady Macbeth are largely responsible for Macbeth’s downfall

The play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare depicts the beginning and end of a tyrant who loses his strength of will. It can be said however that the fault is not Macbeth’s alone as the witches and Lady Macbeth were partly responsible for Macbeth’s downfall. This can be shown through a variety of techniques such as symbolism, metaphors and the use of dialogue.

The moment Lady Macbeth receives the letter from her husband, she begins plotting the death of the current king, Duncan. This then leads to Lady Macbeth provoking Macbeth to gain the power, influence and status of king and queen. Lady Macbeth believes that Macbeth is too soft, which can be seen by the use of the metaphor, “too full of the milk of human kindness” (Act I, scene VII). This metaphor refers to the milk a baby drinks when it is young and innocent; thus Lady Macbeth compares Macbeth’s innocence to that of a baby. Because of his softness, she finds that she has to provoke him into agreeing on the murder of Duncan through manipulation. She does this by cajoling, by scorning him and by looking down upon his manhood. However, in a way, this is not that difficult a task since Macbeth himself wants the position of king deep down inside. His ambition can be seen in the use of the aside when Duncan names Malcolm Prince of Cumberland. This shows his determination and the audience can see that Lady Macbeth has somewhat underestimated her husband.

Despite the fact that Lady Macbeth plays a part in Macbeth’s downfall, the witches are also an important factor. It can be said that without the witches the play may not continue or even be created. The witches are seen at the very beginning of the play and it is them who begin the play’s momentum. Without them putting the idea across to Macbeth it is most possible that Macbeth may have remained loyal to Duncan. Before the witches approached Macbeth, he had always been Duncan’s...
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