Macbeth's Downfall Essay Example

Macbeth is a man who is willing to do whatever to get the throne and gain power. He will get it no matter who or what is in the way by killing, poisoning, and even blaming innocent people for murder, while he is the man who does it. When reading this story readers can see how self doubt and a lack of confidence can contribute to someone’s downfall. 

During this play Macbeth seems like a war hero, whose fame on the battlefield displays him as a great person and who has earned great honor from his king. Macbeth is also very doubtful of himself and his choices. Before acting in a serious matter there is always a slight perception of how he’s going to fail or let down his wife. When Macbeth is pondering the whole act of killing king Duncan he had a couple things come to mind. Macbeth is king Duncan’s relative, subject, and his host. During those days it was your duty as the home owner to protect your guests at all times. “First, as I his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then, as his host, who should against his murder shut his door, not bear the knife myself.”(Shakespeare Act 1, Sc 7, Ln 13-16) Like I said earlier Macbeth is portrayed as having great honor to his king and his kingdom, alone he thinks about what he is planning on doing. He knows what power can be restored to him and his family if he does go through with the plan. There is something bothering him about it he can’t get over the self doubt from his fear of retribution both heaven and for what would be his loss of reputation. This is where I believe Macbeth gets his lack of confidence and self doubt in him and his plans. After telling lady Macbeth he doesn’t want to go through with the plan she persuades him by attacking him mentally. She is very angrily attacking his courage, ego, and manly hood. She questions him if he can even make his own decisions, questions if he has the courage too kill, and she questions him if he is even a man. By asking “Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor as thou art in desire? (1.7.39-41) No matter how strong you are mentally or how you don’t care what people say about you. If your own wife said that about that would absolutely kill your confidence and your desire to do what you want. This is one case of where Macbeth let his lack of confidence and self doubt get the worst of him. 

After Macbeth was scolded, humiliated, and dishonored by lady Macbeth he killed king Duncan.  Even after he killed Duncan, Macbeth still doubted him self again. When he was supposed to put the knives back, he thought he heard one of the guards say “sleep no more”(2.2.39) to him while they were passed out. Therefore he didn’t not leave the bloody knifes with the guards as lady Macbeth and Macbeth agreed on doing. Maybe the guards did whisper something in their sleep, but in the end Macbeth’s slight second choice of self doubt ruined the plan and lead to a bad idea of killing the two guards. One place where Macbeth has self doubt with the witches predictions that leads to his lack of confidence is when Macbeth is worried that the witch told Banquo that he would be the father of kings. After all of that Macbeth fears that Banquo’s children will end up on the throne he desperately wants so bad. Macbeth won’t kill Banquo himself because after what happened last time he tried to kill someone, he doesn’t have the confidence to do it himself. So he hired three murderers, but only two of them to kill the kids. Macbeth hired a third one just to make sure the first two when through with the plan. Why? Because he has lost his lack of confidence and self doubt so bad that he can’t even trust murderers he hired himself. Macbeth needs reassurance on everything he does, he can’t just trust the words of someone he needs to see it done, or make sure no matter what it happens. Another situation where lack of confidence and self doubt clouded his mind when making a very important decision.  




During Macbeth and lady Macbeth’s banquet of welcoming the thanes of Scotland. Macbeth is informed that Banquo has been murdered but Fleance has escaped. Right away he is happy and thanks his men for killing Banquo. But Banquo was his old friend so he is torn by guilt and disturbed by the news. He is even more disturbed when he returns to see the bloody ghost of Banquo. Only he could see him and he gave the crowd a terrified reaction. Once Macbeth started to give a speech the ghost came back and with his self doubt in if knowing if it was real he just kept on ranting. After lady Macbeth dismissed the crowd she once again questions if Macbeth is man and that he is starting to look suspicious. After seeing all of this I believe Macbeth lost his confidence in murder, because every time he kills someone or has someone killed something always comes back at him. I imagine after just seeing the ghost of somebody you just had murdered and your wife immediately questioning your self there’s not much more confidence you would have in yourself. There’s no way Macbeth can’t doubt himself in every action he takes, besides the three prophecies the witch gave him. In which I believe ultimately lead to his downfall, and his lack of confidence and self doubt. 

In conclusion Macbeth’s goal of becoming king showed us many flaws in him that lead to his downfall. I believe lack of confidence and self doubt lead his death and failure. There were many times where Macbeth’s lack of confidence and self doubt  made him do one action instead of another, or maybe when his wife influenced him. Ultimately these two were the flaws that led wrong to his downfall the most because he could truly not make a decision without him or something else influencing his decision. His morality takes over and has trouble finding out what is right and what is . 


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