Macbeth Downfall Essay

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One theory suggests that the tragic hero, Macbeth, is led down an unescapable road of doom by an outside force; namely the three witches.

The second suggests that there is no supernatural force working against Macbeth, which therefore makes him responsible for his own actions and inevitable downfall.

Finally, his failure to recognize the warning signs of danger led to his doom.

As a result of his ruthless quest for power which set in motion the resistance against him, the growing paranoia that caused him to make more enemies, and his failure to heed the warnings of the danger mounting towards him, Macbeth himself is the one responsible for his own tragic downfall.

The predictions they give, coupled with their unholy ways suggest that they are in control of him. It is admittedly strange that the weird sisters first address Macbeth with,”All hail, Macbeth! ”(I, iii, 49), a title which not even Macbeth is aware he has been awarded. Banquo hears the witches’ words and tells Macbeth: He is telling Macbeth not to be swayed by the witches even though one of the prophecies has come true. He is so enraptured by the prophecies of the witches that he consciously follows a path of darkness in an effort to fulfil the prophecies It can also be shown that the witches definitely have no physical control over Macbeth.

Even stranger is the third witch calling to Macbeth,”All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter! Here it may seem as if the witches are using their supernatural powers to control Macbeth’s future. At the very beginning of the scene, the first witch punishes a sailor’s wife by tossing his ship about on the seas. The witches can do no more to Macbeth than they did to the sailor.Macbeth is indeed responsible for his own actions which are provoked by Lady Macbeth, the witches, his ambition, and an unwillingness to listen to his own conscience.These forces had no direct control over his actions but simply pointed out different paths for him to follow. Throughout the entire play Macbeth ignores the voice of his own conscience.The witch can toss the ship about but she cannot cause its sinking nor can she directly cause the sailor to go without sleep.She must cause the sailor’s misery indirectly by tossing his ship about The witches may tell the future and tempt Macbeth; they may toss about his “bark”, but they have no direct influence over him. The final argument for the theory that Macbeth is reponsible for his own actions, would be a point that the infamous witches and Macbeth agree upon.He allows himself to be swayed by the woman he loves.Lady Macbeth gave him an ultimatum and provoked him by saying: She provokes him by questioning his manhood and then saying that he would be a much greater man if he were to go through with the deed. He willingly chose to follow the path of death and destruction. It is easy to believe that the witches controlled Macbeth and made him follow a path of doom.He knows what he is doing is wrong even before he murders Duncan.His own conscience is nagging at him but he allows Lady Macbeth and greed to cloud his judgement.They are the words of a man who realizes not only the graveness of his actions, but, also the reasons behind them.Macbeth is a fully cognizant person and not a mindless puppet of the supernatural.


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