The Tragic Downfall of Macbeth

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Daniel Wong Ms. Sikorski ENG-2D1 27 November, 2012 The Tragic Downfall of Macbeth When we first meet Macbeth in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, he is presented as a brave and noble soldier of King Duncan’s army. We learn that, against the odds, Macbeth has led the king’s army not only against the opposition, but also against a traitor to Scotland, Macdonald. Ironically, upon gaining the trust, praise and title of Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth is tempted by the witches’ suggestions to also betray the king in order to succeed to his throne. Though the witches encourage him with their prophesies to move forward with his treacherous deeds and though his wife goads him for his lack of masculinity and ambition, it is ultimately Macbeth who chooses his fate and must accept blame for his defeat. Through analysis of Macbeth’s choices in the play, it is evident that his ruthless ambition, blind trust in the witches, cowardice towards his wife’s demands and overconfidence were the key faults that led to his demise. One of the reasons Macbeth meets his untimely tragic defeat is due to his ruthless ambition. From the moment Macbeth hears the witches’ prophecy and the first of them is realized (becoming Thane of Cawdor), Macbeth begins to seek out future ambitions: becoming the King. His personal ambition, fortified by his wife’s drive for power makes him blind to the man he was before he met the witches and before he became Thane of Cawdor. When Macbeth debates with himself regarding the pros and cons of killing Duncan he states: “I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell,” (Macbeth 2.1.62-64).It is clear from this quote that Macbeth’s ambition is stronger than his moral code and trustworthiness. Having murdered Duncan, the evil act of killing becomes easier to handle as he plots to murder Banquo
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