The Downfall of Macbeth
All through the play Macbeth strives for power. This motivation
affects every aspect of his life and eventually leads to his demise.
Many different factors come together in deciding his ill-fated future.
With his wife's cajoling and the three witches' foretelling of his
future, Macbeth, will stop at nothing to gain the position as King of
The witches and their prophecies are the first major influence which
trigger Macbeth's actions. Macbeth, Thane of Glamis is content with
his life, until the three witches tell him, "hail to thee, Thane of
Cawdor, thou shalt be King hereafter." (I, iii.). After hearing this,
Macbeth and Banquo, his loyal friend, find out that King Duncan has
indeed bestowed upon him the title "Thane of Cawdor." The two friends
contemplate how the rest of the prophecy could come true. The witches
also advise them that Banquo's son would be King one day. Macbeth
writes a letter to Lady Macbeth explaining what has happened.
Macbeth comes to the realization that for him to in fact become King,
he will have to defeat the recently named heir to the throne, Malcolm,
the King's son, and also prevent Banqou's son from gaining access to
the throne. Macbeth returns home and he and his wife play host to the
King. Lady Macbeth begins to contemplate what "impedes thee from the
golden round" (I, v) could possibly mean. It is at this point in the
play that we see Lady Macbeth as the second major influence that will
bring about her husbands downfall. She desperately wants her Macbeth
to be King and she calls upon the "aids of sprits"(I, v) to help her
in her quest for the throne.
Lady Macbeth requests that the, "sprits that tend on mortal thoughts,"
unsex her, and fill her with the "direst cruelty." (I, v.). The
supernatural world will aid her in the hardening of her heart and make
it possible for her to carry out her malicious plan. Lady Macbeth
wishes to throw out her morality for the sake of gaining a title. With
the help of invisible sprits, she wants to make herself able to commit
a heinous act of murder to make her dreams of the royal life come
true, without having reservations or remorse. She approaches Macbeth
with her intent to kill King Duncan. Macbeth, although wanting the
prophecy to come true and become king, lacks the enthusiasm of his
wife to commit the murder. Lady Macbeth urges Macbeth to act on his
desires or he will think of himself as a coward.
King Duncan is invited to Macbeth's castle, and it is there that he
will be killed. Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to "look like the
innocent flower, but be the serpent under it." (I, v). Lady Macbeth
wants Macbeth to act as he normally would, to appear to be happy with
the King's visit and keep his malevolent plan to the confines of his
mind. Macbeth still has...