Macbeth- Own Character, External Forces Or Both

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The tragedy in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the result of both his own character and external forces acting on him. The tragic downfall of Macbeth was not determined by one single cause but rather caused by a combination of three dark forces: supernatural, external and internal. The three witches and their dark powers represent the supernatural forces. Lady Macbeth acts as Macbeth’s external force, pushing him towards the bloody deeds. Macbeth’s own ambition and inner desires are the internal forces he battles and they act as the deciding power in bringing him to his downfall. The witches played an undoubtedly large role in Macbeth, being the instigators of Macbeth’s actions. In act one scene three, the witches say “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! ... All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” These prophecies throw into his mind the possibility that he could perhaps become King of Scotland. If the witches had not told Macbeth that he shall become king, there would have been much less chance that he would have thought about it himself, and even less chance that he would have murdered King Duncan. In Act IV the witches conjure up three apparitions for Macbeth. Each apparition gives Macbeth a message. The witches ensure that the messages are said in such a way that as to make Macbeth feel safe and out of harm’s way. All three apparitions appear as a different entity and each gives a different message. The first a bloody head tells him to “beware Macduff” and then the second tells him that “none of women born can harm Macbeth.” The third and final apparition says that Macbeth will not be destroyed until “great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him. All of these are warnings for Macbeth, if he chooses to heed them. They lull Macbeth into a false sense of security because he believes the messages that were relayed to be
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