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Essay on The Fault of the Character Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The Fault of the Character Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth


"Macbeth" by William Shakespeare is the story of a brave, honourable soldier who ruins his life due to his own greed for power, respect and wealth. The story starts with Macbeth as the king's favorite soldier, a very respectful, honorable man. Macbeth then is told by the witches his life will change for the better - "All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!". In a desperate effort to obtain this promised position of King, Macbeth takes his fate in his own hands. He kills, lies and betrays to get what he wants. This changes him, into a mean, suspicious and evil man. The story ends with the pathetic Macbeth being killed, therefore losing all that he finally had. "The dead butcher" discovered cheating fate does not pay.

I believe much of what happened to Macbeth was his own fault. However, there are times when the blame lies elsewhere. The first example of this is the appearance of the witches near the beginning of the play, who tell him his fate is to be Thane of Cawdor, then King. Before this incident, Macbeth's thoughts were fairly honorable toward the king and although he understood that if Duncan died, he could take his place, he did not think of killing him. However, after his encounter with the witches, Macbeth found out that he was the new Thane of Cawdor. This made him have no doubt in what the witches said. Macbeth now had two choices. The first option was what Macbeth originally decided upon - to ignore what the witches said, and wait and see if anything else happened; "If chance will have me king, why, chance my crown me, without my stir". The other option was to do what Macbeth chose to do eventually, and to take fate into his own hands and mak...


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... much more of the tragedy than is first apparent. The witches may have triggered the idea within his mind, and Lady Macbeth may have convinced him that the murder was a good idea, but Macbeth was in the centre of this. He was a righteous man, and easily could have stopped it, should he have really wanted to. My belief is that Macbeth was to blame for his own tragedy, through his greed for power, respect and wealth, despite encouragement from others.

Works Cited and Consulted

Curry, Walter. Shakespeare s Philosophical Patterns. London: Mass Peter Smith, 1968.

Epstein, Norrie, The Friendly Shakepeare, New York, Viking Publishing, 1993.

Schlegel, August Wilhelm. Criticism on Shakespeare s Tragedies. London: AMS Press, Inc., 1995.

Shakespeare, William. Tragedy of Macbeth . Ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Warstine. New York: Washington Press, 1992.


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