Macbeth Essay

1943 words - 8 pages

"Macbeth" is Shakespeare's shortest, brutal and one of his most poignant of tragedies. It illustrates the life if Macbeth- a once loyal and noble subject to King Duncan of Scotland, during a period of rapid change when Macbeth disregards his moral values to uphold his own flaws and vices. This journey of dire change begins with Macbeth being approached by three witches, is prompted by the murder of Duncan, and ends with Macbeths own tragic downfall. Shakespeare left us to ponder over what really did cause 'Macbeth' to end the way it did. Was it the curiosity provoked invoked by the witches in the very beginning of the play? Was it the ever-present but dormant nature of 'vaulting ambition' suddenly awakened in Macbeth? Was it his sweet nature 'too full o' the milk of human kindness' [I: -V] and humble obedience that his wife, Lady Macbeth exploited to the greatest extent? Or was it an invisible force that etches the path of our future long before we are born and will ultimately lead us to our final resting place? To arrive at a proper conclusion of what really caused Macbeth's downfall an analysis of the story and an examination of the points that lead to this conclusion is necessary.

During this period of time when 'Macbeth' was written, there was an accepted belief of a higher force that controlled and guides us through our lives. This force was widely renowned as fate. Fate is frequently mentioned in Macbeth. Lady Macbeth refers to Macbeth's ascension to the crown as inevitable and predestined by fate. "All that impedes thee from the golden round, which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to have thee crowned withal," [I: - V] Another example of fate being mentioned is when Hecate is scolding the three witches and says to them that Macbeth is trying to avoid his own fate "Shall draw him onto his confusion. He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear his hopes 'bove wisdom, grace and fear." [III: - V] The alternative version of fate is the wheel of fortune. As a fraction of a wheel shifts from a low to a high position so does a man's life. Hence a man enjoying particularly good fortune is likely to expect some sudden misfortune. This can be applied to Macbeth, 'He hath honored me of late; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people.'[I: - VII] So it can be said that perhaps Macbeth's own wheel of fortune had turned to the lower position but became fatal when Macbeth tampered with the natural order of things such as murdering God's selected ambassador on earth therefore destroying the perfect order of the world. "A Falcon towering in her pride of place was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed… And Duncan's horses- a thing most strange and certain…Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, Contending 'gainst obedience as they would Make war with mankind. 'Tis said they ate each other." [II: - IV] ...

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