The Rise and Fall of Macbeth
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth’s misinterpretation of the ambiguity and prevarication of the three weird sisters relates to the play’s theme, which states that irrational desire for power often leads to irrational and violent actions, resulting in death and or destruction. After the first of the witches’ prophecies comes true, Macbeth begins to believe in their truth. However, he also believes that their prophecies must all lead to his advantage and empowerment. To the end, he twists the three weird sisters’ words to fit his own purpose, neglecting the possibility that the prophecies might have other, less fortunate meanings. This misinterpretation, committed in pursuit of power, leads Macbeth to perform certain actions which result in the death of the king, the death of Macbeth’s friends, and eventually his own demise.
At the start of the play, Macbeth is seeking a great amount of power. His wife, Lady Macbeth says to him, “When you durst do it, then you were a man;” (Act 1, sc. 7, line 56), suggesting that they have either considered or committed murder for the sake of their own advancement in the past. Macbeth further condones this in his action to the witches’ prophecy that he will become king. Once made Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth realizes the truth in the witches’ predictions, and immediately begins to contemplate the other part of their prophecy. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,” (Act 1, sc. 3, line 151-152) he thinks, bringing murder to the front of his mind almost as soon as the witches are proven correct. Later in the play, Macbeth’s yearning for power, encouraged by the weird sisters, convinces him to kill the king and assume the throne.
Macbeth and his wife use ambiguity and prevarication themselves in their quest of power.
All our service/In every point twice done, and then done double, / Were poor and single business to contend/ Against those honors deep and broad wherewith/ Your...