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Macbeth’s Tragic Downfall

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Is murder and betrayal really worth power? Macbeth is one of the most tragic, powerful, and gruesome plays William Shakespeare has ever written. Shakespeare is the father of tragedies. More importantly, with every tragedy he wrote, he based it around a moral or a lesson that should be learned after the completion of the play. This being the case, in the play Macbeth, Shakespeare puts forth the idea that by betraying others one is in turn betraying themselves. Shakespeare proves this by showing that at the conclusion of every murder Macbeth commits, he gradually declines on the ladder of respect and nobility. Macbeth starts off as a noble and respected leader. He is kind and a brave fighter. But after three witches give him a prophecy, he starts to betray other characters and becomes an evil malicious man. Therefore, by betraying others he is being scurrilous to his sense of humanity and how others view him.

Macbeth’s betrayal of Duncan is the first major form of betrayal portrayed in the play. In short, Duncan trusts Macbeth full-heartedly, and Macbeth stabs him in the back. He does this because he is too malcontent with how he is currently living and is allured by the thought of what Duncan has: power. After the witches tell Macbeth his prophecy, and Lady Macbeth plots Duncan’s murder, Macbeth contemplates the reason he is killing Duncan. He realizes this would most likely be an egregious mistake, as he says, “...Not bear the knife myself. Besides, Duncan / Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been / So clear in his great office, that his virtues / Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against / The deep damnation of his taking-off” (1,7,16-20). This being said, not only does he understand the consequences of killing Du...

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...ing himself.

Macbeth is a perfect example of the fact that by betraying others one is also betraying themselves. Macbeth pays for what he does in many ways such as hallucinations, hearing things, and dying. Is power really worth all of that? A man named Erich Fromm once said, “There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers. “ This idea pairs up perfectly with Macbeth because it explains that a person’s life is their own choice. If an individual decides to use their power for evil their life will slowly become evil, and they will pay the price. Macbeth uses his power for malicious acts and he betrays others. It all comes back to him in the end when he realizes he betrayed himself. One must be careful of how they use their power. Will it be used for evil? Or for good? And, is the price of evil really worth it?
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