Macbeth: The Decent Into Madne Essay

1124 words - 4 pages

Many factors contributed to the deterioration of the character Macbeth, of which three will be discussed. These three components are: the prophecies given by the three witches, the influence and manipulation of Lady Macbeth, and the character flaws of Macbeth. Combined, these factors caused the inevitable deterioration of Macbeth's character, resulting in his descent into madness. To explain how these three components worked together to cause the downfall of Macbeth, each factor will be addressed and explained in relation to the effect that they each had upon his character. The first factor which contributed to the deterioration of Macbeth was the prophesies, as told to him by the three witches. These original prophesies caused a chain reaction of events to occur within Macbeth, as well as within the world around him. Once aware of his own fate, Macbeth foolishly tried to control this entity, which greatly surpassed his own power and intelligence as a human being. His ignorance towards fate was the first element in this tangled web of deceit and obsession which worked against him. Macbeth's obsession with these prophesies also played an important role in the deterioration of his character. From the moment that he learned of his fate, each decision that he made was based solely upon these prophesies; his greed and ambition being the driving force behind each and every action made. These prophesies were the causative incident which triggered a chain reaction of ill fated events to occur. In turn, the aftermath of these events plagued the character of Macbeth, causing him to become only a shadow of his former self. The second factor is the influence and manipulation of Lady Macbeth. This alone contributed greatly to the degeneration of Macbeth's character, as she introduced him to the concept of murder. From the moment that she learned of the prophesies, Lady Macbeth began to manipulate and control Macbeth; attacking his manhood in an attempt to persuade him to fulfill the prophesies. In Act one, Scene seven, Lady Macbeth states, "Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem'st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,' like the poor cat i' the adage." His confidence only slightly shaken, Macbeth responds, "Prithee peace: I dare do all that may become a man, who dares do more, is none." Instead of respecting the wishes of Macbeth, she presses further, implying that Macbeth's manhood is at stake, and the only remedy for this is the murder of King Duncan. This conversation was the beginning of the end for Macbeth, as he fell prey to the schemes of his Lady. After Macbeth committed the murder, his character had changed to one which was plagued by guilt. The murder weighed heavily upon his conscience, which triggered the slow deterioration of his character. Madness was inevitable. The third element which contributes to the degeneration of Macbeth is his character flaws. Macbeth...

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