The Spark of Macbeth’s Downfall

Men have always fallen from greatness due their greediness and ambitions. Humans have showed the obvious fall from grace, starting with the original sin of Eve; and following with its constant reoccurrence in our everyday lives. In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, it clearly shows the negative impact of excess ambition. The witches, Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth’s own ambitions sparked Macbeth’s downfall.The three witches harvested the seed of ambition in Macbeth and foreshadowed the evil that shall follow, in this case Macbeth, by the contradictory saying, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I, ii, 12). When greeting Macbeth they started out with the lines “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! /All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! /All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter. ” (I, iii, 47-49) These prophecies inspired Macbeth to think big, and fantasize for bigger fame and expansion of his title. As the witches prophesized Macbeth’s future success, they never specified how, or to what occasion his rank will excel, therefore, he took their prophecies and personalized them.Instead of waiting patiently for the prophecies to come true, Macbeth’s thirst for power over came his good judgment, and the witches reassurances made him believe he was unbeatable. The witches’ prophecies continued by presenting the three apparitions that gave Macbeth even more hope and confidence of his invincibility. As the first apparition, an armed Head, warned Macbeth to “beware Macduff,” (IV, I, 71) his fear of loosing all he has lusted for, and killed for, overtook him, and that’s when he decided to secure his permanent position on the throne. Macbeth orders the killing of Macduff’s wife, children, and servants, in the hope of ruining Macduff’s strength. While, instead of weakening Macduff, the deaths only made Macduff stronger and helped him realize that Macbeth’s killing rampage wasn’t going to stop.The second apparition, a bloody Child, reassured Macbeth that “none of woman born/ Shall harm Macbeth.” (IV, I, 79-80) which gave Macbeth all the security he needed, and due to the fact he had no one greater than him, he could treat Scotland however he pleased to. The final apparition, a Child crowned with a tree in his hand, reassured Macbeth of his permanent possession over the throne by telling him that “Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill/ Shall come against him.” (IV, I, 91-93) Macbeth, thinking that it would be impossible, was fully mesmerized by his confidence and didn’t give the prophecies much thought. Macbeth fell into his tragic flaw of ambition and ignored the metaphorical meaning of the prophecy.As the witches awake Macbeth’s desires of greatness and power, Lady Macbeth leads him into committing murders, and fulfilling the witches’ prophecies. Lady Macbeth is depicted as a power hungry woman who, through her husband, gains the power she has thirsted for. She was the initial force to make this entire play roll along. Macbeth, even though he was not comfortable with where he was, he was at the stage of curiosity, not action. Once Macbeth returned home, his point of view changed completely by Lady Macbeth’s plans.Lady Macbeth, firstly questions his manliness once he disagrees with her or speaks his mind. It is her constant needling of Macbeth that pushes him towards the decision to kill Duncan, since her challenges towards him triggers, unconsciously, his want to prove her wrong. She is strong willed and knows her husband well enough to exploit his sensitivity about manliness. Lady Macbeth, employs emotional blackmail; “From this time, / Such I account thy love” (I, vii, 38-39). Lady Macbeth appears to be without a conscience but later on, as foreshadowed “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I, ii, 12); we find that she does indeed have a conscience, which ends up leading her to suicide.Although, some could argue that ambition is something one should be proud of, Macbeth’s desires are reached by wrongful methods. His confidence in the witches’ prophecies blinds him to the point that he does not see obvious danger in front of him. The admiration by his wife and the witches caused Macbeth to fantasize about over-achieving, and even after he had everything the three weird sisters promised him, he strived for more and more.Macbeth’s confidence built up throughout the play, and soon enough everything shred to pieces; When fighting Macduff, Macbeth states confidently that he “bear[s] a charmed like which must not yield/ To one of woman born.” (V, viii, 12-13) without realizing that the apparitions could play against him, again the matter of “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I, ii, 12) Not only did Macduff not come from a woman’s womb, but the prophecy, “Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until / Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill / Shall come against him.” (IV, i. 92-94), was ignored by Macbeth, which lead him to fall into his tragic flaw of ambition and disregarded the metaphorical meaning of the prophecy. Had Macbeth looked deeper into the prophecies and warnings, he could have been better prepared for the contradictory outcomes.Macbeth’s downfall was a combination of his own ambitions, Lady Macbeth’s influences, and the witches’ prophecies. Macbeth had a lot of nobility and ambitions prior to the witches’ forecasts, but the wicked sisters harvested his ambitions, and Lady Macbeth’s convincing words were enough to persuade Macbeth to commit deeds that lead both, Lord and Lady Macbeth to the grave. Macbeth’s nature seemed to be honest, but the darkness and inevitability of evil caught up to him and pulled him deeper until he was wrapped in his own doom.

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