Macbeth's Mistakes in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Macbeth’s Mistakes

At times man is prone to call into states of disillusionment, whether it be their own fault, or that of others, and this may cause them to commit grievous errors. The character of Macbeth suffers from a delusional view of the world. The diluted ways in which he interprets many of the prophecies foretold by the witches brings forth a detrimental effect upon many of his peers and acquaintances and leads him to execute grave mistakes. It is Macbeth’s choice to interpret things in a more literal meaning, rather than a prophetic one, that becomes the downfall of many characters in the story. The meddlesome witches can not be left dry of blame, for it was their prophetic truths that led Macbeth to take such a literal stance on all of the forthcoming prophecies. “Men at times are masters of their own fates: the fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves.” It is however Macbeth at fault for pushing the prophecies further than fate would take them.

At first encounter with the witches, Macbeth is foretold three prophecies. The witches call him Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and king hereafter. Macbeth at first dismisses the prophecies as fantastical. Then thoughts of the greater power seep into Macbeth’s mind. The “fiends that lie like truth” (Shakespeare) encourage Macbeth’s malice thinking by foretelling the truth that Macbeth does indeed become Thane of Cawdor without any extra effort on his part. Banquo, although at first charmed by the witch’s prophecy for him, tends to eventually dismiss it as a trick by the witches. “To win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betrays in deepest consequence,” (Shakespeare)

Once Macbeth has been named Th...

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...y Macbeth, many of Macbeth’s mistakes led him into a delusional state of mind which in turn directed him to commit heinous murders against many characters, including his best friend and his cousin and king. It is evident that Macbeth’s main mistake was taking the witches’ prophecies to literal and listening too closely to his wife. Instead of letting fate run its course, he took it into his own hands, and lost sight of reality on the way. Lady Macbeth also played a big role in his mistakes, because he let him manipulate and persuade him to perform these atrocious tasks all in order to gain power.

Works Cited

Boyce, Charles. Shakespears A to Z. New York, NY: Roundtable Press, 1990.

Foster, Edward e.. Masterplots. Englewood Cliffs: Salem Press Inc., 1949.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York, NY: Washington Square Press, 1992.