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Macbeth Essay Example

Introduction

In the play The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Macbeth is a hero who tragically undergoes self-destruction through his own selfish and wicked ambitions. As the play begins, it portrays Macbeth as a Scottish hero who is both noble and courageous and has braved the battlefront to win a war. However, as the play continues, he changes for the worse as he becomes tyrannical in his leadership as the king. He does not entertain any opposition and is ready to kill anyone who threatens his kingship and kingdom. He all the same ends up a loser. This paper argues that Macbeth is responsible for his downfall despite influences of Lady Macbeth and the witches.

Macbeth earns the status of a hero amongst his people by demonstrating his courage and bravery at the beginning of the play but later loses it. The captain heaps praises on him while marveling at his brutality towards enemies of Scotland. Ross, one of the characters, says to him, “The king hath happily received, Macbeth, The news of thy success” (Act 1, Scene 3). Even King Duncan recognizes his bravery and righteously rewards him yet he later murders him out of his violent and brutal character. It is noteworthy that in committing this murder, Macbeth was influenced by the witches and Lady Macbeth. However, his ambition of eliminating the king was further fueled and motivated by his character and deep desire.

Macbeth blindly believes without any proof the three witches’ prophecy that he will become king. The witches, while showing their “allegiance” to him, shout, “Hail! Hail! Hail!” (Act 1, Scene 3). Similarly, Banquo tells him, “You shall be king” and that “That trusted home, Might yet enkindle you unto the crown, Besides the thane of Cawdor (Act 1, Scene 3). He chooses not to trash these prophecies but fully believes in them however misinterpreted or misguided they appear to be. Of note here however is that the witches did not suggest in their predictions that Macbeth kills the king. The thought of treachery and murder must have crossed his mind as he saw this as the surest way of ascending to kingship with ease.

Even though he is horrified by his deep and black desires, Macbeth refuses to openly speak about them. He however explains the situation to his wife Lady Macbeth through a letter. Upon reception of the letter, Lady Macbeth encourages her husband to go on with his murder plans as this is the best opportunity of achieving their ambition according to her. Macbeth falls for his wife’s manipulation as she prevails upon him and even tells him that she herself would kill their own baby in order to fulfill their desires. She says, with reference to the imaginary baby, “I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this” (Act 1, Scene 7).

In spite of his conscience warning him of his impending downfall should he kill the king, Macbeth fails to put aside the murder plan. He fails to listen to his conscience but instead continues pursuing his ambition while suppressing his growing guilt. The thoughts of murder have grown very much in his mind and have intoxicated it. He moves to the king’s room with the intention of murdering him. The thoughts drive him into seeing imaginary dagger with which he should commit the vice. He says, “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still…” and adds, “or art thou but A dagger of the mind” (Act 2, Scene 1).

By keeping his wife fully aware of the plot and seeking for her opinion, Macbeth shows that he considers the plan a good one and what he needs to finally execute it is a little motivation. He indeed receives this motivation from Lady Macbeth who keeps on pushing him even when doubts begin getting into his mind. Each time he exhibits signs of hesitation, she relentlessly berates him until he gets back on the track of planning the evil. This is evident in Act 1 Scene 7 when she asks him whether he has true ambitions for kingship or he is merely dreaming out of drunkenness. In a chiding manner she asks, “Was the hope drunk wherein you dress’d yourself?”

Conclusion

Macbeth is ultimately responsible for his downfall through his own actions. This is in spite of Lady Macbeth and the three witches significantly influencing him. He decides not to take heed of his conscience that constantly reminds him that the path he is taking will lead him to self-destruction. As a strong person both physically and mentally, he should have determined the right thing to do instead of letting other people’s view to sway him. Thus, his loss at the end cannot be blamed on anyone but himself.

References

Shakespeare, W. (n.d.). The Tragedy of Macbeth. Retrieved from http://shakespeare.mit.edu/macbeth/full.html

 

Macbeth Essay Example Outline

Introduction

Thesis:

Macbeth is responsible for his downfall despite influences of Lady Macbeth and the witches.

Body

Paragraph 1:

Macbeth earns the status of a hero amongst his people by demonstrating his courage and bravery at the beginning of the play but later loses it.

  • The captain heaps praises on him while marveling at his brutality towards enemies of Scotland.
  • King Duncan recognizes his bravery and righteously rewards him yet he later murders him out of his violent and brutal character.
  • In committing this murder, he was influenced by the witches and Lady Macbeth.

Paragraph 2:

Macbeth blindly believes without any proof the three witches’ prophecy that he will become king.

  • The witches, while showing their “allegiance” to him, shout, “Hail! Hail! Hail!”
  • Banquo tells him, “You shall be king.”
  • He chooses to believe in these prophesies however misinterpreted or misguided they appear to be.

Paragraph 3:

Even though he is horrified by his deep and black desires, Macbeth refuses to openly speak about them.

    • He explains the situation to his wife Lady Macbeth through a letter.
    • Lady Macbeth encourages her husband to go on with his murder plans.

 

  • Macbeth falls for his wife’s manipulation as she keeps prevailing upon him.

 

Paragraph 4:  

In spite of his conscience warning him of his impending downfall should he kill the king, Macbeth fails to put aside the murder plan.

    • He fails to listen to his conscience but instead continues pursuing his ambition while suppressing his growing guilt.
    • The thoughts of murder have grown very much in his mind and have intoxicated it.

 

  • He moves to the king’s room with the intention of murdering him.

 

Paragraph 5:

By keeping his wife fully aware of the plot and seeking for her opinion, Macbeth shows that he considers the plan a good one and what he needs to finally execute it is a little motivation.

  • He indeed receives this motivation from Lady Macbeth who keeps on pushing him even when doubts begin getting into his mind.
  • Each time he exhibits signs of hesitation, she relentlessly berates him until he gets back on the track of planning the evil.

Conclusion

Macbeth is ultimately responsible for his downfall through his own actions. This is in spite of Lady Macbeth and the three witches significantly influencing him.

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