To What Extent Is Macbeth Responsible for His Own Downfall? Essay

774 WordsNov 6, 20134 Pages
To what extent is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall? “I am thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair...” (Act 1, Scene 3, Page 6). “Why do I yield to that suggestion…” That suggestion Macbeth is referring to is that of killing King Duncan. Nowhere in that quote does Shakespeare mention Macbeth saying “we”. As a matter of fact, the word “we” was never uttered when Macbeth was formulating his next murders. “We” would be insinuating that there was more than one party responsible for the killing of King Duncan as well as his other victims. It was Macbeth’s greed, relentlessness and cowardliness that led to his own downfall. Many readers could argue that the Witches were responsible for Macbeth’s downfall. After all, it was their twisted prophecies and apparitions that started the whole affair. Then, there are those who could argue that it was Macbeth’s wife, Lady Macbeth, who is responsible for Macbeth’s downfall. It was her instigation and nagging, that ultimately caused Macbeth's downfall and consequently, her own. However, the truth of the matter is that Macbeth is solely responsible for his own demise. There is a fine line between ambition and greed; a line that Macbeth overstepped tremendously. After being prophesied by the three witches that he is to become the Thane of Cawdor and king, Macbeth, almost instantaneously, considered the possibility of killing King Duncan. Of course, like any human being, Macbeth weighed up the odds and realized he was in a good position already; after leading an army to victory, he was well respected by those around him. In addition to weighing up the odds, he also understands that it was not necessary for him to tamper with what is already destined to become his fate. Stating, “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir.” (Act 1, Scene 3,
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