Macbeth's Downfall

Topics: Macbeth, Three Witches, Banquo Pages: 3 (1024 words) Published: September 7, 2008
Macbeth’s Downfall
A guilty conscience can make anyone go mad it they let it. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is an ideal example of this. Macbeth, a noble of Scotland, lets his ambitions to be great and powerful get the best of him. His vaulting ambition makes him do terrible acts of violence continuously. The guilty conscience he holds on his back eventually becomes too heavy ultimately driving him insane. Greed and guilt cause the madness of this protagonist thus causing his downfall, not only as a King but also his life he strived so hard to make better. As the story opens Macbeth is seen to be a noble fellow of Scotland, but after meeting three witches his great image begins to fade. The witches are introduced in the story as Macbeth and his good friend Banquo are walking through the woods. While meeting these three witches he hears their prophecies; the most important one saying he will become King. The third witch says, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!” (Shakespeare 1.3.52). The glimpses of the future the witches have shown awaken many thoughts of greatness for Macbeth. To be a King is something any man would think twice about. After the second prophecy,” All hail Macbeth Thane of Cawdor!” comes true, Macbeth becomes fueled to make this prophecy about him becoming King come true (Shakespeare 1.3.50). One critic says “Macbeth is a victim of external circumstances; he falls into a trap set by the witches, who tempt him with prophecies that stimulate his excessive pride and ambition” (Shanley). This might be true but overall this tragedy is due to Macbeth and only Macbeth. The thought of being King is something Macbeth cannot rid his mind of. Not knowing the immense guilt and paranoia it will soon cause him, Macbeth kills Duncan, the King of Scotland. When Macbeth first makes the decision to kill Duncan he become very worried and scared and almost aborts his mission. He says to Lady Macbeth, “We shall proceed no further in this business”...
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