What Is the Primary Cause for Macbeth's Descent Into Wickedness? Summary & Analysis

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What is the primary cause for Macbeth's descent into wickedness?

"Shakespeare's Philosophical Patterns" by Walter Clyde Curry Summary and Analysis

Walter Clyde Curry discusses that the witches are demonic spirits, not hallucinations and that their main purpose is to bring the nature of evil into Macbeth. Curry states that the witches are just lost souls that belong to the devil, or perhaps even the devil himself although in the form of witches. Inevitably, the roles of the witches are mostly to cause tragedy and affect the entire play but also to show the good versus the evil. The use of their powers also indicates their connection with the supernatural and coming straight from Satan. Other than arguing about the witches' origin, Curry focuses on the demonic aspects of the play. Macbeth's vision of Banquo's ghost and the floating dagger, also Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking were mentioned as being a demonstration caused by demonic forces. It is mentioned that Macbeth and the others' acts are all being caused by spirits and the supernatural but not by their own free will. The characters are being influenced by unrealistic powers although in their mind it is realistic.

In accordance to Walter Clyde Curry's point of view, Macbeth is letting himself be influenced and overpowered by the supernatural. From the beginning when the witches told Macbeth that he was going to succeed, he began seeing things that were out of the ordinary. The importance of evil in the story is inevitable, the fact that this story is a tragedy means that there has to be some type of disturbance, which in fact are the witches. Seeing as the witches are evil and they begin influencing Macbeth, the role of good versus evil is not balanced. In the beginning Macbeth is good, but throughout the play he turns evil unwillingly. His drive to succeed in becoming king takes him to the murder of Duncan and even his best friend Banquo. This is one of the primary reasons that causes Macbeth's decline onto wickedness.

"Shakespearean Tragedy" by A.C. Bradley
Summary and Analysis

The main focus of A.C. Bradley's is the predominance that the Weird Sisters and their prophecies had on Macbeth. Though it is only an influence, nothing more, it leads to Macbeth's downfall for actually obeying and letting all of their words get to his head. Shakespeare merely included the witches, the supernatural, to push Macbeth psychologically to fulfill his misdeeds. Bradley also refers to the symbolism of the Weird Sisters and their prophecies. This was all mostly the influential evil that helped Macbeth carry out his deeds. The representation of evil within the witches was an asset to all the occurrences in which Macbeth had caused. Trying to make the Weird Sisters' prophecies true, he wanted to achieve it with his own hands. In taking action, Macbeth eventually harms himself listening to the witches' predictions. Bradley also discusses how Macbeth's so-called fantasies become disastrous. He brings his end onto himself. The way he obsessively tries to make the Weird Sisters' prophecies a reality and listening to how he will succeed, he becomes arrogant. When the evil thoughts overcome him, everything he does is bad, but when he is not all is well. As Macbeth is thirsty for power, he fails to follow his morals and betrays even his best friend, Banquo. According to Bradley, Macbeth does not become evil himself, his manner gets worse towards the end of the play until he finally loses his mind and all is gone. Lastly, Bradley points out that darkness is often used throughout the play. Almost all of the scenes which are important take place either at night or somewhere dark. They include the vision of the dagger, Duncan's murder, and when Lady Macbeth is sleep-walking. Also, the witches danced in the thick air of a storm, and received Macbeth in a cavern. Bradley states that the blackness of night is to the hero a thing of fear, and that is what he feels becomes the spirit of...
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