Internal And External Forces In Macbeth

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Often times in literature, the downfall of a character arises due to both external and internal forces. In Macbeth, William Shakespeare demonstrates that the downfall of Macbeth arises due to both internal and external forces, but among the two, internal forces have a greater influence on the outcome. The forces of Macbeth’s own nature, the supernatural and Lady Macbeth all contribute to his downfall but the true deciding factors are the forces within. The external forces that affect Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the witches, prompt Macbeth into doing actions and making decisions that lead to his downfall. Right from the beginning, the reader is introduced to the witches who say they will meet next time on a heath, specifically, they say “ there…show more content…
Macbeth’s ambition is one of the most prominent things that drive Macbeth in the play and truly becomes evident when he hears of the Witches prophecies. When the witches stop talking, he demands to know more. “Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more” (I, III, 73-74). This portrays his excessive curiosity on the subject as well as his craving for more desirable prophecies. This ambitious nature and craving for power is also demonstrated only moments after hearing the witches, when he starts formulating a plan to kill Duncan in order to make the third prophecy come true. “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion[killing Duncan]/Whose horrid image doth unify my hair” (I, III, 144-145). This quote indicates that the force of ambition is so strong within Macbeth that even he himself cannot understand why it is making him think of killing Duncan. Likewise, Macbeth’s ambition to become king is further emphasized after Duncan names his son Malcolm as his successor. Here, Macbeth says that he will have to “oerleap,/For in my way it [Malcolm] it lies” (I, III, 55-57). Macbeth’s ambition is what is causing him to intervene with his prophecy and pursue his goal (rather than leave it to chance). In a way, it is Macbeth’s own “black and deep desires” that make him kill in the first place as the witches never tell him to do so. Furthermore, apart from ambition, it is Macbeth’s own weak will and moral system that causes him to do the actions that result in his downfall. Macbeth’s weak will is undeniable and is illustrated before killing Duncan. “I have of spur/To prick the sides of my intent, but only/Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself/And falls on the other” (I, VII, 25-28). Even after listing all of the reasons why not to kill Duncan and coming to the conclusion that it is only ambition driving him, he still quickly succumbs to Lady Macbeth’s
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