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The Downfall of Macbeth
Is everyone defeated or brought down from power at some time? Often, in a tragedy or drama, the main hero experiences a downfall. However, just as the downfall of a tragic hero varies, so do the causes of this downfall. Throughout the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, many factors contributed to the downfall of Macbeth such as fate, errors in his judgment, and the main factor being flaws in his character.
Among the causes of Macbeth’s fall from power and grace, fate was the least important and influential. However, fate did have quite an impact on why Macbeth was brought down. For instance, Macbeth relied too heavily upon the prophecies of the Weïrd Sisters, and took everything they said for granted. When the Weïrd Sisters would give Macbeth their different predictions for what would happen, he would believe them and would take no actions of his own to ensure his own safety or well-being. Macbeth believed that what was predicted would happen and he would be prosperous and safe as king without any effort on his part. He also relied completely on the witches to tell him of his future. This specific point was illustrated when he said, “Stay you imperfect speakers. Tell me more” (I, iii, l. 73). Yet another example of how Macbeth heavily relied on fate was when he was visited with the visions of the armed head, the bloody child, and the crowned child with a tree in hand. Macbeth took the sayings of the three apparitions to heart and did not worry about his safety due to their predictions. He went through the rest of the play not afraid of any man due to what the second apparition, the bloody child, told him. This apparition said to Macbeth, “The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” (IV, i, ll. 91-92). Both these reliances by Macbeth on fate caused him not to worry about anything and not to prepare for his safety, which came back to get him and led to his fall from grace and his death.
The second most influential factor on the downfall of Macbeth in this tragedy involves his many errors in judgment. Among his many errors in judgment, one of them is Macbeth’s unnecessary murder of quite a few individuals. In doing so, Macbeth may have gotten rid of his foe at that moment in time, but he also lost many allies and created many enemies who vowed revenge. Throughout the killing spree of Macbeth, he made enough enemies that they combined forces and were able to defeat the tyrant Macbeth in the end. This flaw was illustrated when all the armies of Macbeth’s many foes came together at Birnam Wood (V, iv, l. 5). It was there that all the armies teamed up and went on the march to defeat the king Macbeth. Macbeth unnecessarily killed many different individuals through the play. First, Macbeth had the kind king Duncan done away with. This was in order for Macbeth to fulfill the prophecy of himself becoming king, and was for his selfish needs. However, Duncan was good to Macbeth, in naming him Thane of Cawdor, and showed how inhumane and cold he was. Also, Macbeth has Banquo, who was once his best friend and closest ally, killed. Macbeth becomes slightly fearful of Banquo, so decides to kill him. Macbeth often resorts to this method of killing whomever he is threatened by, and it does him no good. Macbeth shows his fear of Banquo, when in talking about him, he states “There is none but he who’s being I do fear” (III, i, ll. 59-60). Finally, Macbeth does away with the family of Macduff. This is a huge mistake on the part of Macbeth, because in doing so, he awoke an enormous rage within Macduff. Macduff then swore never to rest until he had taken his revenge upon Macbeth, and Macduff does, in turn, be the one to kill Macbeth in the end. Macbeth’s downfall can also be attributed to many unnecessary killings which enraged many and caused them to team up against him in the end.
The third, and most influential, cause of Macbeth’s downfall can be attributed to his many flaws in character. One major flaw
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Characters in Macbeth, English-language films, British films, Regicides, Macbeth, Banquo, Macduff, King Duncan, Malcolm, Three Witches, Fleance
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