Sharing the Blame in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Sharing the Blame in Macbeth The great Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth is a tale about a Scottish Thane, Macbeth, who, seemingly according to a prophecy of witches, becomes Thane of Cawdor, and King. And because Macbeth has gained his throne through deceit and treacherous ways, he loses it. The blame for the downfall of Macbeth lies with Macbeth himself, Lady Macbeth and the witches. Enter the first act, second scene. We see good King Duncan and his Thanes, talk about the outcome of a war well won. All the men seem to praise good Macbeth. A first impression is made that Macbeth is a good man, not a treacherous one. ""For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name -"" 1:2, 16 He receives the praise of his peers, and is well respected. What could turn a man like this to villainous ways? Only his own ambition, his own pride could have drawn him down the whole dark path. But something, or someone, must have egged him on. ""FIRST WITCH All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! SECOND WITCH All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! THIRD WITCH All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!"" 1:3, 57-59 Here we receive the prophecy of the Three Witches. Hailing Macbeth Thane of Glamis is nothing new. Macbeth is already Thane of Glamis. Macbeth has not yet heard of the treachery of the Thane of Cawdor, how he betrayed the Scottish folk (as stated earlier in the Act), and thus does not expect to be hailed Thane of Cawdor. Hailing Macbeth as king, is a totally different thing. How could he be king? They already had one, to speak of him replacing the king was to commit the highest treason in the kingdom. And yet the witches spoke the prophecy. At first Macbeth does not b... ... middle of paper ... ...hcock, 1987. Curry, Walter. Shakespeare s Philosophical Patterns. London: Mass Peter Smith, 1968. Epstein, Norrie, The Friendly Shakepeare, New York, Viking Publishing, 1993. Harbage, Alfred, Macbeth, Middlesex England, Penguin Publishing, 1956. Magill, Masterplots- Volume 6, New Jersey, Salem Press, 1949. Schlegel, August Wilhelm. Criticism on Shakespeare s Tragedies . A Course of Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature. London: AMS Press, Inc., 1965. Shakespeare, William. Tragedy of Macbeth . Ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Warstine. New York: Washington Press, 1992. Staunten, Howard, The Complet Illustrated Shakespeare, New York, Park Lane Publishing, 1979. T.W. Shakespeare, the Critical Heritage. Vol. 5. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979. Wills, Gary. Witches & Jesuits. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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