The Downfall Of Macbeth Throughout the centuries human beings have always had the need to achieve some things in life such as love, wealth, power or authority. The ambition of Macbeth was power. Macbeths strive for power affects his life in a negative way and eventually leads to his downfall. Macbeth was a brave soldier of Scotland and was very loyal to King Duncan. As he returned from a battle with his friend Banquo three witches hailed him as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and in the end King of Scotland. They also told Banquo that his children would become Kings. This aroused Macbeths curiosity of how he could become King. When he went to the palace and the King announced to him that he would become Thane of Cawdor because the previous Thane was a traitor.
His ambition rised and he believed that some truth might be hidden in the weird sisters words. Therefore, he wrote a letter to his wife Lady Macbeth telling her what had happened. When Lady Macbeth read the letter her intention was to talk Macbeth into killing Duncan. Therefore, she planed the murder. She invited the King to their house where she planned to have him killed. Macbeth had some hesitations but she manipulated him into doing it.
The murder took place at nighttime and short after the murder Macbeth felt empowered and thought that nothing could stop him. Duncans sons Malcom and Donalbain fled the country and one went to England and the other to Ireland. Macbeth asked for the witches advice and they told him that no woman born man could kill him and that only when Birnam Wood came up to the castle would he lose his power. In order to maintain his power Macbeth hired three murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance but they only managed to kill Banquo whereas Fleance escaped. Macbeth also killed Macduffs wife and son because according to him Macduff was a traitor.
In the meantime, Malcom and Macduff were gathering an army in order to overthrow Macbeth. After the witches words Macbeth felt invincible whereas Lady Macbeth died, probably of guilt. In the end of the play, the army disguised itself with branches from the Birnam wood and marched to the castle where Macduff, who was ripped from his mothers womb, killed Macbeth and Malcom became King. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is regarded as a good man and a brave soldier. When he comes back from the battle, the Captain described Macbeth’s honor and bravery to King Duncan in Act I, scene 2.
For brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name-Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valour’s minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave, Which neer shook hands nor bade farewell to him Till he unseamed him from the nave to th chops, And fixed his head upon our battlements(Act 1, scene 2, line16-23). This shows that people, including the King trusted Macbeth and considered him as a brave, just, and honest soldier who loved his country. However, his character changes throughout the play in a negative way. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth appears to be happy and content as Thane of Glamis until he hears the witches prophesies. His ambition is reinforced when he is made Thane of Cawdor and he starts considering murdering King Duncan. He immediately writes to his wife in order to consult her.
When Lady Macbeth reads the letter, we can understand that she considers Macbeth as too kind and soft to murder the King. As she says: Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way.(Act 1, Scene 5, line 13-15) This shows that in the beginning Macbeth was considered as to soft to commit this kind of crime. So, she talks him into her plan and they invite Duncan over for a banquet. Still, Macbeth has some reservations about the murder. As he says to his wife: He is here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself. Also, towards the end of Act 1, Scene 3, speaking to Banquo, he thinks that perhaps he doesn’t need to do anything to become king: If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir.
(Act 1, Scene 3, line 145-146) This shows that he still had some signs of kindness in his heart and knows to tell good from bad. We can also see that Macbeth was not a very strong character because he immediately fell for what Lady Macbeths words when she said that if he did not do it he didnt love her and that he was a coward. Before Macbeth was about to murder the king, he saw a dagger floating in the air. He was not able to decide whether he was imagining it or not, however, he finally went through with killing the king. This shows that he still had some hesitations and guilt about what he was about to do.
However, after he committed the murder the feelings of guilt did not leave Macbeth. When Lady Macbeth tells him to clean his hands from the blood, he replies: To know my deed, twere best not know myself. Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst.(2,2,77-78) After it was found out that the king had been murdered, Macbeth was crowned as king because the two sons of Duncan had fled the country. This was the peak of Macbeths life but also the beginning of his downfall and his insanity. After a while, Macbeth felt empowered and he was determined to maintain his title of King of Scotland, whatever it took. Furthermore, in order to accomplish this, the only solution seemed to be murder.
At this point, his insanity begins and he acts ruthlessly. Macbeth was aware that the only person who knew about the witches prophecies, was his once friend Banquo. In addition, when Banquo had asked the weird sisters what would happen to him in the future they answered with the words: Lesser than Macbeth, and greater, Not so happy, yet much happier, Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo (Act 1, scene 3, line 65-69). To Macbeth this meant that Banquos sons would become kings, not his. As Macbeth says later: Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, And put a barren sceptre in my gripe, Thence to be wrenchd with a unlineal hand, No son of mine succeeding (act 3, scene 1, 57-56).
At this point Macbeth realized that the only way to keep the crown was by murdering people. So, he hired three murderers and ordered them to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. Banquo was murdered but his son Fleance escaped. At a dinner banquet at their house, Macbeth started going even more insane and he saw a ghost of Banquo, which started talking to him. He replied to the apparition and Lady Macbeth covered up for him by saying that he had some kind of mental illness and excused the guests.
Macbeth also noticed that Macduff, the Thane of Fife did not attend the feast and was suspicious of him. After all these happenings, Macbeth felt that he should consult the witches in order to see how he would keep his crown. At this point of the play, Macbeth had become so heartless and ruthless that even the weird sisters characterized him as wicked. When Macbeth knocks on the witches door one of them said: By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes (Act 4, Scene1, line 44-45). When Macbeth entered and asked them what he should do, three apparitions appeared and told him three things. To be aware of Macduff, that none of woman borne can harm him and that he would be king until Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane Hill.
This made Macbeth feel invincible and made him even more evil. He immediately ordered to have Macduff and his family murdered without knowing that Macduff had escaped to England. Therefore, the murderers killed only his family. In the meanwhile, Malcom and Macduff had been gathering an army in order to overthrow their evil ruler, Macbeth. At Dunsinane Castle, a doctor informed Macbeth that his wife was sick and that there was no cure for that kind of sickness.
This made Macbeth even more miserable and he ordered the doctor to cure her whatever it took. Then, he was told that an army from England was coming in order to overthrow him. He put his armor on and at the same time, he was informed that his wife was death. At this point, we see for once more how heartless he had become. He showed no interest in the death of his wife and the only thing he cared about was how he could win the battle and remain king.
Suddenly, a servant told him that Birnam Wood was moving towards the castle. This was because Malcom ordered the soldiers to disguise themselves with branches and leaves. In spite of these facts, Macbeth continued to feel confident and invincible because as the apparition said no woman born man could kill him. The army arrived and Macbeth attacked and killed young Siward while Macduff was looking for him. Macduff found him and they started fighting while Macbeth boasted that no woman born man could kill him.
Macduff replied that he was ripped by his mothers womb and then killed him. Macbeth stood up for himself until the last minute and did not surrender himself. I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcoms feet (Act 5, Scene8, line28-29) This shows that he preferred to die than surrender. After this, Macduff exited the castle with Macbeths head and Malcom was crowned king. Bibliography Purves Alan, Carol Olson, C.
Cortez. (eds). Literature and Integrated Studies: English Literature. Illinois: Scott Foresman, 1997. Shakespeare.