“Who or What Is Responsible for the Downfall of Macbeth”

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“Who or what is responsible for the downfall of Macbeth”

“For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name-- Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valour's minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave; Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,And fix'd his head upon our battlements.” - Act 1 scene II

“The tragedy of Macbeth” is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays about a man who murders his king and continues to commit other acts of villainy to secure his position of power. The broad spectrum for the downfall of Macbeth would include the three witches, Lady Macbeth and who else but Macbeth himself. For it is his own ambitious nature, insecurity and fear that drives him into creating his own ruination.

Our first impression of the character Macbeth is through the words of others, the wounded sergeant who praises him for his valor. This is followed by Duncan’s words of praise as he refers to him as “O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!”. However these heroic accolades do not seem to last long as our perception of his character is tainted after his meeting with the witches. Macbeth is shown to be entranced by the prophecies made by the witches and moves through a dreamlike state and seems to be “possessed” or in a trance (whether it being literal or simply an act of his own doubts this is debatable). Some may see Macbeth simply as a puppet being controlled by supernatural forces as he is twice described to be “rapt” and be quick to blame his downfall on a twisted turn of fate, or inedibility. Though the witches are held responsible for the initial inception of the idea, judging that Macbeth is one of sound mind and body, he should be strong willed enough to be able to resist temptations. In fact his inability to do so, is further echoed in our hearts by the comparison between his and Banquo’s reaction.

After the second prophecy...
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