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The Downfall of Macbeth Macbeth_ written by William Shakesp

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The Downfall of Macbeth Macbeth_ written by William Shakesp Powered By Docstoc
					The Downfall of Macbeth          Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, is the tragic tale of Macbeth, a
virtuous man, corrupted by power and greed. This tragedy can be classified by one of two theories. O
ne theory suggests that the tragic hero, Macbeth, is led down an unescapable road of doom by an outs
ide force; namely the three witches. The second suggests that there is no supernatural force workin
g against Macbeth, which therefore makes him responsible for his own actions and inevitable downfall
. 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 con
trol over his actions but simply pointed out different paths for him to follow. Ultimately, Macbeth
chose the path of darkness.                    Throughout the entire play Macbeth ignores the voice of
his own conscience. He knows what he is doing is wrong even before he murders Duncan. His own consci
ence is nagging at him but he allows Lady Macbeth and greed to cloud his judgement. In referring to
the idea of the murder of Duncan, Macbeth first states,'We will proceed no further in this business'
(I, vii, 32). Yet, after speaking with Lady Macbeth he recants and proclaims, 'I am settled, and ben
d up /Each corporal agent to this terrible feat'(I, vii, 79-80). He allows himself to be swayed by t
he woman he loves. Lady Macbeth gave him an ultimatum and provoked him by saying:
                    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..... (I, vii, 49-51)         She provokes him by questioning his manhood and then sayi
ng that he would be a much greater man if he were to go through with the deed. Macbeth then had to m
ake a decision. He willingly chose to follow the path of death and destruction. Lady Macbeth simply
showed him that path.                   It is easy to believe that the witches controlled Macbeth and m
ade him follow a path of doom. The predictions they give, coupled with their unholy ways suggest tha
t they are in control of him. They are not. It is admittedly strange that the weird sisters first ad
dress Macbeth with,'All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee Thane of Cawdor!'(I, iii, 49), a title which not
 even Macbeth is aware he has been awarded. Even stranger is the third witch calling to Macbeth,'All
 hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!'(I, iii, 50). Here it may seem as if the witches are u
sing their supernatural powers to control Macbeth's future. All they have done is foretold his futur
e. A prophecy is hardly an invitation to murder. Banquo hears the witches' words and tells Macbeth:
                                       The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
                            Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
               In deepest consequence (I, iii, 124-126)         He is telling Macbeth not to be swayed b
y the witches even though one of the prophecies has come true. It is a warning that Macbeth ignores.
 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 definite
ly have no physical control over Macbeth. At the very beginning of the scene, the first witch punish
es a sailor's wife by tossing his ship about on the seas. This in turn will cause his sleeplessness.
                                       Weary sev'nights nine times nine
                   Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine:
 Though his bark cannot be lost,                                           Yet it shall be tempest
-tossed (I, iii, 22-25) The witches can do no more to Macbeth than they did to the sailor. The witch
 can toss the ship about but she cannot cause its sinking nor can she directly cause the sailor to g
o without sleep. She must cause the sailor's misery indirectly by tossing his ship about The witche
s may tell the future and tempt Macbeth; they may toss about his 'bark', but they have no direct inf
luence over him. Only Macbeth controls his actions.                        The final argument for the theory
 that Macbeth is reponsible for his own actions, would be a point that the infamous witches and Mac
beth agree upon. This point exists in the form of Macbeth's ambiton. In the soliloquy that Macbeth g
ives before he murders Duncan, he states:                                               ...I have no sp
ur                                   To prick the sides of intent, but only
                     Vaulting ambition,... (I, vii, 25-27).               These are not the wo
rds of a man who is merely being led down a self destructive path of doom, with no will of his own.
They are the words of a man who realizes not only the graveness of his actions, but, also the reason
s behind them. Macbeth is a fully cognizant person and not a mindless puppet of the supernatural. La
ter the head witch, Hecate, declares:                                            Hath been but for a
 wayward son,                                        Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
                                Loves for his own ends, not for you. (III, v, 11-13)          This a
gain highlights Macbeth's ambitious nature. There is no connection between Macbeth's ambition and so
me spell cast by the weird sisters which might be said to magically cause an increase in his desires
. He willingly committed the crimes to fulfil his ambitions; not because of a spell cast by the witc
hes.                  While purposely played in a mysterious setting, the location is not meant to clo
ud the true theme of the play with the supernatural. Macbeth simply succumbs to natural urges and hi
s own ambitions which lead him to a fate of his own making. The provocations of Lady Macbeth, the w
itches, his ambition and his reluctance to listen to his conscience were the deciding factors in his
 life. He was not supernaturally controlled by the black magic of the witches nor was he purposefull
y led down a path of destruction. He was fully aware of the consequences of all the decisions he ma
de. Everyone has character flaws that they must live with; Macbeth simply allowed those flaws to de
stroy him.downfall macbeth macbeth written william shakespeare tragic tale macbeth virtuous corrupte
d power greed this tragedy classified theories theory suggests that tragic hero down unescapable roa
d doom outside force namely three witches second suggests that there supernatural force working agai
nst which therefore makes responsible actions inevitable downfall indeed responsible actions which p
rovoked lady witches ambition unwillingness listen conscience these forces direct control over actio
ns simply pointed different paths follow ultimately chose path darkness throughout entire play ignor
es voice conscience knows what doing wrong even before murders duncan conscience nagging allows lady
 greed cloud judgement referring idea murder duncan first states will proceed further this business
after speaking with lady recants proclaims settled bend each corporal agent this terrible feat allow
s himself swayed woman loves gave ultimatum provoked saying when durst then were more than what were
 would much more provokes questioning manhood then saying that would much greater were through with
deed then make decision willingly chose follow path death destruction simply showed path easy believ
e witches controlled made follow doom predictions they give coupled with their unholy ways suggest t
hey control they admittedly strange weird sisters first address hail hail thee thane cawdor title wh
ich even aware been awarded even stranger third witch calling hail shalt king hereafter here seem us
ing their supernatural powers control future have done foretold future prophecy hardly invitation mu
rder banquo hears words tells instruments darkness tell truths honest trifles betray deepest consequ
ence telling swayed though prophecies come true warning ignores enraptured prophecies consciously fo
llows darkness effort fulfil prophecies also shown definitely have physical over very beginning scen
e first witch punishes sailor wife tossing ship about seas turn will cause sleeplessness weary night
s nine times nine shall dwindle peak pine though bark cannot lost shall tempest tossed more than sai
lor witch toss ship about cannot cause sinking directly cause sailor without sleep must misery indir
ectly tossing ship about tell future tempt toss bark have direct influence over only controls final
argument theory reponsible would point infamous agree upon point exists form ambiton soliloquy gives
 before murders duncan states spur prick sides intent only vaulting ambition these words merely bein
g down self destructive doom will words realizes only graveness also reasons behind them fully cogni
zant person mindless puppet supernatural later head hecate declares hath been wayward spiteful wrath
ful others loves ends again highlights ambitious nature there connection between ambition some spell
 cast weird sisters might said magically increase desires willingly committed crimes fulfil ambition
s because spell cast while purposely played mysterious setting location meant cloud true theme play
simply succumbs natural urges ambitions lead fate making provocations reluctance listen deciding fac
tors life supernaturally controlled black magic purposefully down destruction fully aware consequenc
es decisions made everyone character flaws must live allowed those flaws destroyEssay, essays, termp
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