Despite the influences of Lady Macbeth and the three Weird Sisters, Macbeth is mostly responsible for his own downfall. He is the one who makes the decisions throughout the entire play even though he is influenced by others. He also uses the prophecies in a negative way and loses his relationship with his wife by leaving her out of decisions later on in the play. Throughout the play Macbeth overthrows his guilt and continues to kill people to protect his crown. His confidence and desire for power fuels his ambition to become king.
Macbeth was contemplating the consequences of murdering Duncan and foresees his future of being overthrown by righteousness. He is worried that “This even-handed justice/ Commends th’ ingredience if our poisoned chalice/ To our own lips.” (1.7.10-12). Macbeth, at this point, have not been obsessed with lust for power. He raised self-awareness that the violence he used to wrongly proclaim himself king will be used to take vengeance against him. Such violence made him a “tyrant” and eventually killed by Macduff in anger of Macbeth’s crimes.
Macbeth is a Shakespearean play about a man called Macbeth who becomes evil in a rise to power. The play has many characters who change throughout, in ways more than one. These changes add layers and meaning to the drama and are shown in many ways. A very important character in this play by William Shakespeare is Macbeth, who starts off as Thane of Glamis, and extremely loyal to King Duncan. This character’s first scene of the play is him after killing a traitor to King Duncan.
These elements are found in William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Macbeth. Macbeth begins the play as a war hero, but in the end, he is killed for his evil ambitions. Throughout the play, Macbeth makes choices that affect him negatively, to the point of death. Macbeth fits the definition of an Aristotelian tragic hero because of his nobility, his fatal flaw, hubris, his fall from grace, and he redeems a small measure of lost nobility through a moment of self-awareness.
Following the format of a tragic hero, Macbeth suffers from a tragic flaw. He has multiple flaws in character, the most prominent being his vaulting ambition and his impressionability. After the witches told Macbeth about his bright future of nobility in Scotland, his honorable nature seemed to fade, and was soon replaced by a “by any means necessary” attitude. His lust for power, along with persuasive words from Lady Macbeth, led to him murdering King Duncan in his sleep. Macbeth was crowned King of Scotland, which led to extreme paranoia, fearing anyone with a noble bloodline as a threat to his power.
Macbeth is presented as a gallant nobleman in The Chronicles, similar to Shakespeare’s noble Macbeth, whom King Duncan sends to destroy the rebellion steered by the Thane of Cawdor. The role of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the death of Holinshed’s Mackdonwald is modified for Macbeth to be heroic. “Macbeth found the carcasse of Mackdonwald lying dead amongst the residue of the slain bodies, he caused the head to be cut off (Chronicles 264).” In contrast, Shakespeare’s Macbeth does not merely find the body of Thane of Cawdor, but intrepidly slays him during the battle to elevate Macbeth as a hero. “For brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name,with his brandish’d steel,Which smok’d with bloody execution, ( I.ii.15-23)”. It is vital that the audience is aware of Macbeth’s strengths early in the play, because it evolves Macbeth as a tragic hero when the audience witness Macbeth’s downfall, instigated by the witches and Lady Macbeth.
The ambitious and manipulated Macbeth reflects Shakespeare’s message in Macbeth that too much ambition leads to ruin. “Behold where stands Th’ usurper’s cursed head”(5.8,65-66) Macbeth meets his fated end by the hands of Macduff due to his overconfidence from the prophecy the witches told him. Macbeth is influenced by the witches and his wife, but in the end, his ambition and greed for power brought him to his end. From Macbeth as a character, we know that Shakespeare intended to show that too much ambition is bad. “Reverence toward the gods must be safeguarded.
Macbeth himself, is one of the reasons for the tragic events that occurs throughout Shakespeare 's play, Macbeth. Macbeth is known to be a dreadful hero with a troublesome flaw; his flaw, which is ambition, affects him to eventually make poor decisions guided by Lady Macbeth and the witches, and, he is manipulated to secrete his conscience which ultimately leads hims to a path of destruction and to his own death. For instance, when the witches come to tell him his three prophecies, he is Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and will be the king hereafter, his ambition leads him to think that to be king, he must murder Duncan. He says, “My thoughts, whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man that function is smothered in surmise and nothing is, but what is not” (1.3.151-154). Here Macbeth realises that what the witches have told him are still a fantasy, yet he starts to think about murdering the king to become king himself.
Macbeth’s mania gets to a point where, “[the Witches] no longer need to go and meet him; he seeks them out. He has committed himself to his course of evil… We have no hope that he will reject their advice; but… they make careful preparations to deceive him into [accepting it]” (Bradley 345). When his rule is at stake, Macbeth willingly tries to seek reassurance from deceptive, treacherous beings without thinking of the consequences. Additionally, Bradley wrote “and, almost as though to intimate how entirely the responsibility for his deeds still lies with Macbeth, Shakespeare makes his first act after this interview one for which his tempters gave him not a hint - the slaughter of Macduff’s wife and children” (345). Because he saw Macduff as a threat, without any hesitation Macbeth decided to kill the ones he loves because of his acquired ruthlessness.
At the beginning of the play, Macbeth was a noble and loyal person, but by the end of the play, his “vaulting ambition” had taken over him. This caused him to become malicious and nihilistic and above all murderous, Macbeth portrays a tragic hero. Shakespeare portrays a tragic hero as someone who is noble and valiant but turns out to have a tragic flaw and Macbeth portrays this by fighting for his country and king but then murdering the king because of his hamartia, “his vaulting ambition”. Macbeth is greatly responsible for his downfall, but the witches have an impact on Macbeth’s actions. In Greek tragedies characters face a point in which they turn towards death, almost all plays have someone die and, in the end, justice prevails.