How Do The Witches Contribute To Macbeth's Downfall

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In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare explores the role of the witches, while also analysing the different characters which further contribute to Macbeth’s impending fate. Early in the play, the reader is introduced to the three witches, who plant the seeds inside Macbeth, sparking his ambition and leading him to elicit his eventual downfall. Likewise, Lady Macbeth further kindles her husbands growing ambition as she manipulates him to cross the line into a world of never-ending madness. Despite being heavily influenced by the witches and his wife, it was Macbeth’s sole actions which inevitably resulted in his catastrophic death. The witches spark Macbeth’s ambition by revealing his fate, which inevitably leads Macbeth to precipitate his ultimate…show more content…
Shakespeare represents Lady macbeth as stronger, more ruthless, and more ambitious than Macbeth. Lady Macbeth gives the impression that she is fully aware of this, and knows that she will have to push Macbeth into committing murder when she says Macbeth is “too full of the milk of human kindness” (Act 1, scene 5). Lady Macbeth fears that Macbeth lacks the strength of character to go through with the murder of Duncan, so she decides that she will manipulate him until he capable of performing the assassination. Lady Macbeth repeatedly questions Macbeth's manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself. She chastises Macbeth when she says, “when you durst do it, then you were a man” (Act 1, scene 7). This depicts how Macbeth was more of a man when he dared to commit the murder, and Lady Macbeth recognises his ambition to become king. However, now that Macbeth has backed down, he is no longer worthy to be a man. This emasculation, persuades Macbeth to follow through with the manslaughter to prove his manhood to Lady Macbeth. Subsequently, Macbeth’s wife pulls the “love” card when she says “From this time such I account thy love” (Act 1, scene 7). This quotation questions Macbeth’s love for his wife, as if he truly loved her, he would murder Duncan. These examples of Lady Macbeth’s manipulation caused Macbeth to go forward with his actions and fulfil…show more content…
Following the witches predictions Macbeth comes to the realisation that “the prince of Cumberland! That is a step. On which I must…o’erleap” (Act 1, scene 4). Macbeth views Malcolm as an obstacle - a step that he must overcome. Once Duncan has named Malcolm Prince of Cumberland, Macbeth figures that eradicating Malcolm and Duncan will enable him to become king. Moreover, Macbeth refers to his ambition as “black and deep desires” (Act 1, scene 4), demonstrating how in order to achieve the throne he will have to commit deeds that are contrary to his sense of right and wrong. Thus, Macbeth must conceal his desires, ensuring that nobody will find the true evil that he is capable of. Although being heavily influenced by first the witches, then Lady Macbeth, it is Macbeth’s “Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself.” (Act 1, scene 7). Macbeth says this as he is trying to rationalise his impending murder of King Duncan. Macbeth has no spur to prick on his intent and he can only draw on "vaulting ambition": an intense desire for power. His desire vaults even beyond its intrinsic limits, ”o'erleaps itself”, to land on the other side, somewhere unknown and beyond reason. Moreover, following the regicide, Macbeth spirals down a path of madness and insanity which he is unable to escape. He ploughs on, ordering mass killings of anybody who poses a threat, from Banquo to

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