Macbeth’s Downfall (Macbeth by William Shakespeare Book Review)


Life was created to have some ups and downs and full of challenges a person must find their own way through. No one is supposed to be perfect. If one's life is, then they are not living to their full potential. A good example of this would be illustrated in Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The protagonist, Macbeth, is responsible for his major downfall.

To start, Macbeth chooses to believe the lies he was told. Macbeth could have dismissed the prophecies as fantastical like Banquo did. But instead Macbeth chooses to believe in those miss-interpreted predictions, which ultimately lead to his own downfall. From the start, when the witches say that Macbeth would be king. Hereafter Macbeth seems to be taken in by the predictions then suddenly commands the witches to be told more . It is shown in this quote “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more…..Upon this blasted heath you stop our way /With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you!” (1.3.69-77). He should have listened to Banquo’s warnings, “ And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,/ The instruments of darkness tell us truths'' ( 1.3.123-125). Banquo, Macbeth’s best friend,  has always been suspicious over what the witches have told him and he hopes that Macbeth would listen to him. But obviously Macbeth chose not to listen to this true and noble man.  Also, the witches never tell Macbeth that he will have to murder Duncan in order to be king. But upon hearing their premonition that he will be king, this thought enters his mind. He is terrified at the idea, but he has the thought nonetheless. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical / Shakes so my single state of man that function/ Is smothered in surmise” (1.3.139-141) . He thinks that this is the only way to become king of Scotland, his long held dream is to listen to the people he trusts and he decided to trust the evil witches which impacted the downfall. In summary, Macbeth’s ambition makes him believe the wrong things and is stuck in lies.

Next, Macbeth makes all his choices that lead to the downfall with his own free will.

He kills at his own free will no one forced him; he could have said no and stood by that. He let someone else change the way he perceives in life . He let Lady Macbeth, a two faced woman, change his mind .At first he had no intention of murdering Duncan but Lady Macbeth, the woman he loved, did not agree with his opinion. So she threatened him into these arguments,      “And live such a coward in thine own esteem”(1.7. 43), calling him a coward for not achieving his dream and 

“I would, while it was smiling in my face,

 Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums 

And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you 

Have done to this”( 1.7 56-59).

Lady Macbeth is explaining how far she would go to be crowned and shame Macbeth for changing his mind about killing Duncan. The final and most important argument was if you loved me you would do it. These arguments pushed Macbeth to murder Duncan. To continue, the only real reason he did it is because of his extreme need or want to be great. “ I go, and it is done; the bell invites me./ Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell/ That summons thee to heaven, or to hell”

( 2.1. 62-64) . He leads himself to defeat by falling into his fatal flaws , one of the flaws being he needs to be more manly, “I dare do all that may become a man/ Who dares do more is none” (1.7. 50-52), suggested by Lady Macbeth. In conclusion, Macbeth’s free will changed his way to live and go about things to get what he thinks he deserves in a not so “normal” way.

Furthermore, Macbeth's character changes from a noble man to an evil, greedy and ambitious man. First, Macbeth’s ambition was to be King of Scotland, after the witches greeted him as ,“King hereafter”, Macbeth strived to be king. His ambition was far too great and his strive to be king took over him replacing him with an evil shell, murdering anyone who stands between him and the throne. Macbeth’s ambition was the creation of his downfall; his ambition to be king overtook his humane qualities, and drove him to the point of madness. This is  shown when he says, “To thus is nothing, but safely thus, “( 3.1. 47-8).An example of a time his greed is shown was killing Banquo and his son, Fleance, so that he would get what he wants and same for his future kids. Finally, in Act 5,  when the killing of Duncan is finally getting to Lady Macbeth’s mind , she is sleepwalking and replaying the night of the Duncan murder. During Lady Macbeth’s struggling moments , Macbeth was told about it but just pushed it off. He is too invested in attacking Macduff’s castle to release his anger of unfairness and portraying his evilness. He only attacked because it was one of the apparitions the witches said about the child crowned , with a tree on his head, “Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill/ Shall come against him” (4.1. 93-94) The apparition inspired him to cover all soldiers in branches and leaves and walk up the hill, to get payback Also, when she dies he does not seem to care “she would have died hereafter” (5.5. 17) .His evil and ambitious side of him took over the noble man he used to be when he really loves her and would do anything to make her happy.  She dies fom the guilt of the murder she did not even commit, Macbeth could have said no.Therefore, Macbeth not getting what he deserved and unfairness sparked his evil, greesy and ambitious side. 

In conclusion, Macbeth’s downfall was caused by his own actions and thoughts that he was easily manipulated into. A life without challenges is like a life that is not lived. Thin before you act, care for others, push through the bad times and listen to others. Live life the opposite way Macbeth has. The best life is the least perfect life.

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