Macbeth is a brave general who fights for his country Scotland, defeating the King of Norway. He is loyal to his king Duncan, but Macbeth has ambition to take over the kingdom for himself. He has lots of doubts of if he is doing the right thing, but still murders Duncan and then Banquo who is another general who fought with Macbeth. These murders and guilt about his treason are leading Macbeth to become insane. This essay shows that although Macbeth’s strong desire for power is influenced by the three witches in the play and also the planning and ambition of his wife Lady Macbeth, in the end he is responsible for his self-destruction.
In the beginning of the play, Duncan rewards Macbeth for his victories by making him Thane of Cawdor. The three witches foretell this to Macbeth and Banquo but also tell them that Macbeth is going to become king and then Banquo will be father of kings as well: “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter.” (Macbeth, 1.3, 50). Macbeth is excited to hear it, but Banquo warns him about trusting the witches: “Were such things here as we do speak about? Or have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner?” (83) “and…oftentimes to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths.” (123) Macbeth wants to become king and he’s also confused about whether the witches are good or bad: “This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good… why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth…make me seated heart knock at my ribs…” (130)
History presents that in Scotland witchcraft was a very important subject in that time. According to Faith Nostbakken in Understanding Macbeth a very sad moment then was th...
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...pecial wonder?” (3.4, 112) Macbeth turns paranoid as Banquo’s ghost comes and goes which in turn he seeks answers from the witches who make him even more aggressive and confused by telling him that “no man born of woman shall harm Macbeth.” (4.1, 82) He does not stop his murders and even kills Macduff’s wife and children. In the end, it is Macbeth’s own ambition which leads to his self-destruction. He faces the consequences of his actions as he is murdered by Macduff. Macbeth’s ambition for kingship and power, his self-preservation of the crown through murders is a result of his own destruction, his fall.
Mathur, Dr. K.C., Witches Caldron: a study of motive in Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Nostbakken, Faith, Understanding Macbeth: a student casebook to issues, sources, and historical documents
The Tragedy of Macbeth, edited by Sylvan Barnet
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