Macbeth Is Responsible For His Own Downfall

1078 words - 5 pages

Macbeth has always been viewed as a tragedy. A tragedy is a story of a hero whose flaws got the best of him. The question is what exactly is Macbeth's fatal flaw? Is it his 'vaulting ambition'? Is it his pride, his greed? Or is it a general weakness in his character, an uncertainty about his own identity that brought about his doom? Can we truly say he is a good man? Are the choices he makes truly made of his own free will? How much of it is his own fault and, if indeed, the lions share of the blame can be placed on Macbeth, what does this mean for his sense of self?

The idea that Macbeth was originally a good man at the start of the play is confused at best. We first here of him through ...view middle of the document...

Where Macbeth is wavering, concerned with the practical and moral consequences of his possible actions, Lady Macbeth pushes hard for him to commit to the murder of King Duncan. She pushes his buttons, questioning his manhood 'When you durst do it, then you were a man'. She also resorts to shock tactics ,with the horrific image of her dashing a helpless infants brains out. Lady Macbeth is clearly a determined character, willing to go to extremes to get what she wants.

It is clear that Lady Macbeth does hold some sway over Macbeth. However, as we see later in the play, Macbeth is perfectly capable of making decisions like that of killing King Duncan without the goading of his wife, such as ordering the assassination of Banquo, his former friend. He has no need of her goading and taunting to come to that decision and indeed, does not even inform her of it until after the deed has been done. Indeed, if we analyse the scene in which he decides to murder King Duncan, we can see that Macbeth may have simply been using his wife in order to justify his own decision. When Macbeth is giving his soliloquy at the beginning of the scene, he gives some very solid reasons as to why he should not go through with the plan of killing King Duncan. 'He's here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject.....then, as his host'. Macbeth also mentions that Duncan is actually a, good king 'So clear in his great office'. These are excellent reasons why Macbeth should not follow through with this plan. He also goes on to admit that he has only one motivation for this deed, his 'vaulting ambition' which 'o'erleaps itself'. Clearly, at this point, Macbeth is leaning towards not going through with this plan.

Then Lady Macbeth enters. All it takes for Macbeth to go from a firm 'We will proceed no further in this business' to a timid ' If we should fail?' is some almost childish taunting about his manliness and ridiculous hyperbole from Lady...

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