English Macbeth Essay

July 23, 2017 | Author: Ada Tam | Category: Macbeth, Tragedy Plays, Shakespearean Tragedies, Homicide, Crimes
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Ada Tam 11.3 Mr.Brasher

English Summative Assessment Focus Question: Who or what is responsible for the downfall of Macbeth? The corrupted intentions and actions of the three witches, Lady Macbeth and the battlefield warrior, Macbeth, are ultimately culpable for his own tragic fate and downfall. Macbeth is a play written by William Shakespeare to show despicable notions from human and supernatural forces. The play is heavily reliant on the responsibility, determination and the actions of individuals. It is fundamental to acknowledge that the intentions initiated from an individual can affect the whole outcome, which is what Shakespeare conveyed dramatically in Macbeth. In the story, the three witches approach Macbeth and Banquo, offering their prophecies that rooted the series of killings. Whereas, under the powerful persuasion by Lady Macbeth, he is fully convinced to murder Duncan. Overwhelmed by the desire of attaining and securing his throne, Macbeth makes the consequent decision to continue with the murder of the innocent - his former friends and allies. The wicked intentions and actions committed by the three witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth in the play have led to the collapse of a well-respected hero to a psychologically tormented man.

With the three witches’ understanding of the frailty of Macbeth, they have distorted his ambition, intending him to enter the realm of fatalism, where he loses control over his destiny. The prophecies informed by the witches are also the roots of all deeds committed by Macbeth. In the story, Macbeth and Banquo encounter the three witches while they are on their path to the King’s court after the battle has ended. Upon learning about the prophecies “Glamis, and thane of Cawdor! The greatest is behind.” (Act 1 Scene 3) , Macbeth is indulged by the temptation of


Ada Tam 11.3 Mr.Brasher

becoming the king. When the first part of the prophecy becomes true, it has significant influence on Macbeth’s belief in the full prophecy. However, it also has impact on his ambition to murder Duncan. From the prophecies, Shakespeare insinuates that Macbeth would commit immoral acts to kill King Duncan to attain the throne, hence reflecting Macbeth’s turning point into a treacherous traitor and his ambitious nature. The prophecies also reveal that Banquo’s descendants will become kings “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.” (Act 1 Scene 3), which causes the murder of Banquo later in the story when Macbeth becomes threatened by Banquo, fearing that Banquo‘s family will overthrow Macbeth’s as he will have no heir to succeed the throne. The escape of Banquo’s son, Fleance during the attempted murder, has put Macbeth in extreme fear during the feast with the lords as he deeply believes that the witches’ prophecy are true. The three witches’ intent to inform Macbeth about his destiny is to seek for trouble within human lives. While the witches are dancing around the cauldron, they have chanted “Double, double toil and trouble” (Act 4 Scene 1), which communicates the witches’ idea of yielding twice the toil and provoke the trouble for Macbeth, pointing to the calamities he suffers from the murder of Duncan and Banquo and the failure of his kingship. The witches are responsible for the origin of Macbeth’s anxiety and metal delusion, which leads to his downfall as they use an understated form of allurement to effectively guide his path to self destruction from their given prophecies.

Lady Macbeth’s love and devotion to Macbeth kindled her corrupted intention to plot Duncan’s murder to fulfill her husband’s ambitions to become the King. The manipulation of Lady Macbeth largely influences the engagement of Macbeth in King Duncan’s murder, which


Ada Tam 11.3 Mr.Brasher

provokes the breakdown of his own mentality. Lady Macbeth is an ambitious and devious woman who has full strength to control and influence the thoughts of her husband. Her intentions for Macbeth to become the King of Scotland are clearly displayed in the story when she immediately plots Duncan’s murder after she has received Macbeth’s letter about the witches’ prophecy. “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be what thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness” (Act 1 Scene 5), Lady Macbeth strongly expresses her fear of Macbeth’s lack of determination to attain the Scottish crown in a ruthless manner. She is utterly conscious that she will have to pressure Macbeth into committing the regicide as her husband’s temperament is unduly kind, which would hinder him from achieving their desire. Therefore, she acts as an accessory to murder and remarkably plots the details of the murder for her husband. In the story, Lady Macbeth has unscrupulous schemes to convince Macbeth into murdering Duncan through belittling his masculinity and courage. When Macbeth initially hesitates to Lady Macbeth’s evil murder plots, she fiercely interrogates his manhood “When you durst do it, then you were a man; And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man” (Act 1 Scene 7) until he agrees to murder Duncan to prove himself. Despite Lady Macbeth is fully aware of the immorality of the regicide, she proceeds to dismiss Macbeth’s guilty conscience through her “motivational speech”. Shakespeare has portrayed Lady Macbeth as a strong, merciless woman to emphasize the existence of corrupted mindsets and intentions within humans when they hunt and desire for power. When Macbeth asks Lady Macbeth about the consequences of their failure to murder Duncan, she answers “We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail...” (Act 1 Scene 7). Lady Macbeth calmly asserts him that as long as they stand bold, their plot would become successful. She also


Ada Tam 11.3 Mr.Brasher

encourages Macbeth to carry out the deed by revealing her planned action of getting Duncan’s two servants drunk so that they could lay all the blame on them. Once Macbeth is assured by Lady Macbeth’s response, it has completely convinced him to perform the murder. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth plays a major role in the downfall of Macbeth. Her love and loyalty to her husband has provoked her to have wicked intentions, which leads to her responsibility for manipulating Macbeth. She is the main culprit and influence in the regicide. Lady Macbeth’s verbal attacks on Macbeth has an important impact on his decision to perpetrate the deed, which later established Macbeth’s mental sufferings from guilt and tension.

Macbeth’s immoral intentions in all his crimes are instigated from greed and desire for power. He is ultimately responsible for his actions that lead to his own downfall as he has chosen to abandon his own will, and allowed himself to be influenced by the other characters in the play. The battlefield warrior initially manifested bravery and courage in his persona. Nevertheless, the virtuous impression of Macbeth is distorted when nefarious forces have effectively manipulated him into committing treacherous crimes. When Macbeth first come across with the witches, he blindly listens to the witches’ prophecies with no solid proof of their validity. He is gullible enough to believe words from the supernatural and to base his decisions upon irresolute remarks from outsiders. Furthermore, he is blameworthy for being easily convinced to perpetrate Duncan’s murder by Lady Macbeth after she verbally assaults his manhood. “I am settled, and bend up. Each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show. False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” (Act 1 Scene 7), in response to Lady Macbeth’s proclaimed plans for the murder, Macbeth believes he is ready to commit the deed.


Ada Tam 11.3 Mr.Brasher

Shakespeare has conveyed Macbeth as a man that is full of self-doubt to exhibit the significance of influences that can have on an individual who lacks mental strength and direction. Greatly famished for power, Macbeth has completely disregarded the consequences that would occur when he is determined to assassinate Duncan. The first crime Macbeth has committed caused the distraught over his sinful feelings. However, it has also branched another planned murder of Banquo and Fleance. “The moment on ’t; for ’t must be done tonight, and something from the palace” (Act 3 Scene 1), Macbeth’s paranoid caused himself to generate thoughts regarded to the good reputation and morality of Banquo and the witches’ prophecy, in which Banquo’s descendants taking over his throne. He is envious that Banquo demonstrates “royalty of nature”, goodness and wisdom— all qualities that he doesn’t own. Furthermore, he believes that if the prophecy is valid, then he has tortured his conscience and disrupted peace for their own benefit. Consequently, he intents to continue unethical acts to retain his power and throne. Macbeth’s tyrannic behavior have eventually caused the betrayal and lost of trust from the lords over the long haul. He has befallen Scotland since he took the crown as he has devoted most of his time on planning the murders to secure his power. Macbeth refrains from the responsibility of a King, which leads to his own death during the combat with Macduff and Duncan’s son, Malcolm when they overthrow the King. In the end, it is Macbeth who holds the final decision to commit the series of murders to fulfill his desire for power. Macbeth’s weak character nevertheless prevents himself from conquering the guilt, and he is not equipped to cope with the consequences f rom his crimes. With his pessimistic mindset, it provoked further misconduct and corruption in the story until his tragic death.


Ada Tam 11.3 Mr.Brasher

In conclusion, Shakespeare has conveyed the importance of responsibility and actions of individuals, which remarkably effects the outcome in the story. Macbeth is a play that concentrates on the corrupted intentions determined by the three witches and Lady Macbeth carries the responsibility for vitalizing Macbeth to attain the throne. The prophecies from the witches have originated all of the gluttonous desires for power while Lady Macbeth exacerbates on Macbeth’s belief in his fate, exhorting him to perpetrate the deed. However, Macbeth is blameworthy for his corrupted mindset and his inability to vanquish the desire of power, which leads to his engagement in a series of murders. Nonetheless, with Macbeth’s reckless decisions and actions committed throughout the story, he is ultimately culpable of his own downfall.

Bibliography: SparkNotes: Macbeth: Analysis of Major Characters. (n.d.). SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/macbeth/canalysis.html

Shakespeare, W. (n.d.). How is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall? - Macbeth - Questions & Answers. eNotes - Literature Study Guides, Lesson Plans, and More.. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://www.enotes.com/macbeth/q-and-a/how-macbeth-responsible-his-own-downfall-150651

Shakespeare, W. (n.d.). Why did Lady Macbeth want to kill the king? - Macbeth - Questions & Answers. eNotes - Literature Study Guides, Lesson Plans, and More.. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http:// www.enotes.com/macbeth/q-and-a/list-5-reasons-lady-macbeth-wanted-kill-king-160441

Shakespeare, W. (2005). Macbeth. S.l.: Oxford Univerity.


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