Macbeth's Downfall

June 14, 2011
By , Wilmington, MA
Many works of literature include a character whose life is dramatically affected by a single act or mistake. A character that fits this description perfectly is Macbeth in the play Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare. In this dramatic and tragic play, the main character Macbeth is present with a rare and easy opportunity to move up in rank and gain more power by becoming King. Macbeth would gain this extra power by killing the existing king, which comes across as being nothing but a coward. The existing King, King Duncan, is well respected by all and a very honorable and just leader. As suspected Macbeth and his thirst for power, kill Duncan and take over the thrown. This uneducated and rushed decision leads Macbeth down a troubled path, were a single killing spirals into multiple cover ups and eventually the downfall of this tragic hero.

Shakespeare presents to us an ambitious and cunning character named Macbeth. In the opening scenes of this play Macbeth, a soldier, is brave, loyal, and well respected by the King and his fellow soldiers. In Act one Scene one, Macbeth is confronted by three witches who prophesize that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and eventually be crowned King. Macbeth is very skeptical of these prophesizes and highly doubts they will come hold any truth, but when the first of these prophesizes comes true and Macbeth become Thane of Cawdor, he is instantly obsessed with over taking the thrown. When word of this first prophecy and its truth reaches Lady Macbeth, she too believes that Macbeth has the right and fate to become King; they both then try to take fate into their own hands when they should have let fate handle itself. Macbeth and his even more ruthless wife devise a plan to kill King Duncan and blame it on the faithful servants so Macbeth, who is next in line for the thrown anyways, will be crowned King quickly.

The moment after Macbeth goes through with this unthinkable act of treachery, he realizes that it was a wrong and unethical decision. After these horrible acts are committed, Macbeth’s life is permanently changed for the worse, and continues to plummet downwards through out the play. Macbeth becomes uneasy and constantly paranoid and on edge because of what he has done. He beings to lose his appetite and shows signs of insomnia. Eventually his friend Banquo realizes the truth about the Kings murder and confronts Macbeth about it. Macbeth who is so afraid and shamed of what he has become and what he has done, murders Banquo because of his ever growing suspicion. After Macbeth murders Banquo he finds himself dreaming about Banquo’s ghost and begins to be haunted by it. Later on in the play yet another character catches on to Macbeth and his ruthless ways, this time it’s MacDuff. Macbeth then proceeds to kill off MacDuff’s entire family except him, just to prevent more suspicion of who really killed King Duncan and Banquo. MacDuff who is filled with revenged and enmity rallies his troops and storms off to take down Macbeth at his castle. While on the battle field MacDuff and Macbeth confront each other, this confrontation however ends with Macbeth being decapitated by MacDuff.

The murders of Duncan, Banquo, and MacDuff’s family not only affect Macbeth, but his wife Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth begin to experience insomnia as well, she would constantly think she had blood dripping from her hands and couldn’t bare to think about what she had just been involved in. The killing of Duncan ruins Macbeth’s marriage, tarnishes the once honored and respected reputation he once had, destroys the friendships he once held dear to him, eventually causes the death of him.

Macbeth experiences with thirst for power and tragic ending closely related to the work as a whole. The whole plot is centered on the decision Macbeth makes and the events that follow because of his decision. Shakespeare main reason for writing this play, besides being hired by the king, was to warn people what could happen if they try to gain power over the King and kill him. Around this time there were many assassination plots against the king of England like the gunpowder plot. But by Shakespeare writing such a powerful play related to this subject matter, he makes it clear to the people that they should twice before they made and Macbeth like decisions.





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O_Riet said...
Jul. 2, 2011 at 11:11 pm
Interesting article. It seems more like a review than fiction, though.
 
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