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Macbeth Downfall Essay Research Paper Throughout the

Macbeth Downfall Essay, Research Paper

Throughout the centuries human beings have always had the need to achieve some

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things in life such as love, wealth, power or authority. The ambition of Macbeth

was power. Macbeths? strive for power affects his life in a negative way and

eventually leads to his downfall. Macbeth was a brave soldier of Scotland and

was very loyal to King Duncan. As he returned from a battle with his friend

Banquo three witches hailed him as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and in the

end King of Scotland. They also told Banquo that his children would become

Kings. This aroused Macbeth?s curiosity of how he could become King. When he

went to the palace and the King announced to him that he would become Thane of

Cawdor because the previous Thane was a traitor. His ambition rised and he

believed that some truth might be hidden in the weird sisters? words.

Therefore, he wrote a letter to his wife Lady Macbeth telling her what had

happened. When Lady Macbeth read the letter her intention was to talk Macbeth

into killing Duncan. Therefore, she planed the murder. She invited the King to

their house where she planned to have him killed. Macbeth had some hesitations

but she manipulated him into doing it. The murder took place at nighttime and

short after the murder Macbeth felt empowered and thought that nothing could

stop him. Duncan?s sons Malcom and Donalbain fled the country and one went to

England and the other to Ireland. Macbeth asked for the witches advice and they

told him that no woman born man could kill him and that only when Birnam Wood

came up to the castle would he lose his power. In order to maintain his power

Macbeth hired three murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance but they only

managed to kill Banquo whereas Fleance escaped. Macbeth also killed Macduffs

wife and son because according to him Macduff was a traitor. In the meantime,

Malcom and Macduff were gathering an army in order to overthrow Macbeth. After

the witches words Macbeth felt invincible whereas Lady Macbeth died, probably of

guilt. In the end of the play, the army disguised itself with branches from the

Birnam wood and marched to the castle where Macduff, who was ripped from his

mother?s womb, killed Macbeth and Malcom became King. In the beginning of the

play, Macbeth is regarded as a good man and a brave soldier. When he comes back

from the battle, the Captain described Macbeth’s honor and bravery to King

Duncan in Act I, scene 2. “For brave Macbeth-well he deserves that

name-Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, Which smoked with bloody

execution, Like valour’s minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave,

Which ne?er shook hands nor bade farewell to him Till he unseamed him from the

nave to th? chops, And fixed his head upon our battlements?(Act 1, scene 2,

line16-23). This shows that people, including the King trusted Macbeth and

considered him as a brave, just, and honest soldier who loved his country.

However, his character changes throughout the play in a negative way. In the

beginning of the play, Macbeth appears to be happy and content as Thane of

Glamis until he hears the witches prophesies. His ambition is reinforced when he

is made Thane of Cawdor and he starts considering murdering King Duncan. He

immediately writes to his wife in order to consult her. When Lady Macbeth reads

the letter, we can understand that she considers Macbeth as too kind and soft to

murder the King. As she says: ? Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o?

the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way.?(Act 1, Scene 5, line

13-15) This shows that in the beginning Macbeth was considered as to soft to

commit this kind of crime. So, she talks him into her plan and they invite

Duncan over for a banquet. Still, Macbeth has some reservations about the

murder. As he says to his wife: ?He is here in double trust: First, as I am

his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then, as his host,

Who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself.?

Also, towards the end of Act 1, Scene 3, speaking to Banquo, he thinks that

perhaps he doesn’t need to do anything to become king: “If chance will have

me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir.” (Act 1, Scene 3, line

145-146) This shows that he still had some signs of kindness in his heart and

knows to tell good from bad. We can also see that Macbeth was not a very strong

character because he immediately fell for what Lady Macbeth?s words when she

said that if he did not do it he didn?t love her and that he was a coward.

Before Macbeth was about to murder the king, he saw a dagger floating in the

air. He was not able to decide whether he was imagining it or not, however, he

finally went through with killing the king. This shows that he still had some

hesitations and guilt about what he was about to do. However, after he committed

the murder the feelings of guilt did not leave Macbeth. When Lady Macbeth tells

him to clean his hands from the blood, he replies: ?To know my deed, ?twere

best not know myself. Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou

couldst.?(2,2,77-78) After it was found out that the king had been murdered,

Macbeth was crowned as king because the two sons of Duncan had fled the country.

This was the peak of Macbeth?s life but also the beginning of his downfall and

his insanity. After a while, Macbeth felt empowered and he was determined to

maintain his title of King of Scotland, whatever it took. Furthermore, in order

to accomplish this, the only solution seemed to be murder. At this point, his

insanity begins and he acts ruthlessly. Macbeth was aware that the only person

who knew about the witches prophecies, was his once friend Banquo. In addition,

when Banquo had asked the weird sisters what would happen to him in the future

they answered with the words: ?Lesser than Macbeth, and greater?, ?Not so

happy, yet much happier?, ?Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all

hail, Macbeth and Banquo? (Act 1, scene 3, line 65-69). To Macbeth this meant

that Banquo?s sons would become kings, not his. As Macbeth says later: ?

Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, And put a barren sceptre in my

gripe, Thence to be wrench?d with a unlineal hand, No son of mine succeeding

(act 3, scene 1, 57-56). At this point Macbeth realized that the only way to

keep the crown was by murdering people. So, he hired three murderers and ordered

them to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. Banquo was murdered but his son Fleance

escaped. At a dinner banquet at their house, Macbeth started going even more

insane and he saw a ghost of Banquo, which started talking to him. He replied to

the apparition and Lady Macbeth covered up for him by saying that he had some

kind of mental illness and excused the guests. Macbeth also noticed that Macduff,

the Thane of Fife did not attend the feast and was suspicious of him. After all

these happenings, Macbeth felt that he should consult the witches in order to

see how he would keep his crown. At this point of the play, Macbeth had become

so heartless and ruthless that even the weird sisters characterized him as

wicked. When Macbeth knocks on the witches door one of them said: ?By the

pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes?? (Act 4, Scene1,

line 44-45). When Macbeth entered and asked them what he should do, three

apparitions appeared and told him three things. To be aware of Macduff, that

none of woman borne can harm him and that he would be king until Birnam Wood

came to Dunsinane Hill. This made Macbeth feel invincible and made him even more

evil. He immediately ordered to have Macduff and his family murdered without

knowing that Macduff had escaped to England. Therefore, the murderers killed

only his family. In the meanwhile, Malcom and Macduff had been gathering an army

in order to overthrow their evil ruler, Macbeth. At Dunsinane Castle, a doctor

informed Macbeth that his wife was sick and that there was no cure for that kind

of sickness. This made Macbeth even more miserable and he ordered the doctor to

cure her whatever it took. Then, he was told that an army from England was

coming in order to overthrow him. He put his armor on and at the same time, he

was informed that his wife was death. At this point, we see for once more how

heartless he had become. He showed no interest in the death of his wife and the

only thing he cared about was how he could win the battle and remain king.

Suddenly, a servant told him that Birnam Wood was moving towards the castle.

This was because Malcom ordered the soldiers to disguise themselves with

branches and leaves. In spite of these facts, Macbeth continued to feel

confident and invincible because as the apparition said no woman born man could

kill him. The army arrived and Macbeth attacked and killed young Siward while

Macduff was looking for him. Macduff found him and they started fighting while

Macbeth boasted that no woman born man could kill him. Macduff replied that he

was ripped by his mothers womb and then killed him. Macbeth stood up for himself

until the last minute and did not surrender himself. ?I will not yield to kiss

the ground before young Malcom?s feet?? (Act 5, Scene8, line28-29) This

shows that he preferred to die than surrender. After this, Macduff exited the

castle with Macbeth?s head and Malcom was crowned king.

Purves Alan, Carol Olson, C. Cortez. (eds). Literature and Integrated

Studies: English Literature. Illinois: Scott Foresman, 1997.


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