In reading Shakespeare's well-known play, Macbeth, one will always notice the many influences that Macbeth encounters before his downfall. Each one of these may have had some bit of impact on the final outcome. The three most controversial and popular causes of the tragedy of Macbeth are the main character's ambition, the witches' fateful prophecies, and Lady Macbeth's dominance. Each one of these can be argued as the main source of influence on Macbeth for muderdering so many people. Some people would argue that the main source causing this tragedy was his wife, Lady Macbeth. However, this would not support all of the events that took place in Macbeth. Other people might argue that Macbeth's own, personal ambition is what led to the bloody death of so many people, but in this case, it is obvious that there was some other force behind him that helped him to change from a respectable, trustworthy man, to a deceiving murderer. In his encounters with the witches, Mabeth was introduced to that fact that he could have more power, and in hearing what he had to do to earn it, he was scared. However, with the witches making this power sound so grand, he was eventually convinced that his dignity was no longer essential. The witches, therefore, were what caused the legacy of Macbeth as a heroic individual to lead to his ultimate death and destruction.
In the play, there are many interesting sections that concentrate on the suspense and the involvement of the supernatural. With the sense of the supernatural and interference of the spirits, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are led to dangerous, tempting things. The three witches are introduced right at the beginning of the play, on Macbeth's way home from fighting in the battle for his country. They recount to Macbeth three prophecies. The first is that he will become the Thane of Cawdor, the second is the Thane of Glamis, which he already was titled as, and the third was stated by the witches as: "he shalt be King hereafter". These prophecies, two of them being very new to him, introduced Macbeth to new ideas of greatness. And, in knowing that in this time period, it was sometimes thought that the witches had the ability to reverse the natural order of things, Macbeth knew that he should be suspicious of the words of the Wëird Sisters. This scene brings into the play the idea of fate and the role with which it has in the play. One can ponder on whether Macbeth ever had a chance of doing what was right after he met with the witches, because of how strong their words were, and because of how many great things they were promising to him. After the prophecies were given to him, Macbeth had a very strong reaction to what was stated:
(Act 1. sc. 3 ln.147-155)
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs
Against the use of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings.
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man
That function is smothered in surmise,
And nothing is but what is not."
Obviously, Macbeth is not yet sure of himself as an evil man. Immediately after hearing the witches' prophecy that he will be king, Macbeth thinks that he must kill the current king, this being King Duncan, in order to take over the throne. Although he is not sure that he can follow through with this, he wants nothing more in the world than to have the amount of power and respect that he knows he will receive if he takes over the position. So, in returning home, and with the help of persuasion and instigation from his wife, he kills King Duncan. Prevoiusly to the murder and immediately after, Macbeth's "heat-oppressed brain" caused him to see images floating in the air, specifically the dagger that became bloody right before the bell rang as a signal to kill King Duncan. These images may have been messages from the...
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