In stories where a character experiences a downfall, there is always something or someone who is to blame. Readers may wonder whenever these kinds of incidents happen. In the William Shakespeare play, Macbeth, the character Macbeth has an incredibly horrible downfall that progresses from the beginning to the end of the play. He starts out a normal man whom the audience would never expect to change in the way he does. As his wife, Lady Macbeth, urges him to kill king Duncan so he can become king, his urge for killing only grows and transforms him into a serial killer.
His decision to kill Macduff’s family was one that cost him his life. Macduff immediately retaliated and unleashed his army upon Macbeth’s army with the help of Malcolm. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth is beginning to go mad, has started to sleepwalk, and has lost her mind. As the enemy forces approach in the distance of Forres, Lady Macbeth kills herself. When the horrific news is revealed to Macbeth he states, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (V. v).
“For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name – disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valor’s minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave; which nev’r shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, till he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops, and fixed his head upon our battlements” (Act 1, Scene 2). His conscience in the beginning of the tragedy is clear and serene. This all ends when he decides to murder King Duncan. Macbeth starts to feel consumed with his guilty conscience, which makes him hallucinate. “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?
In Act 1, Scene 3, through the archetypal school of critical theory, key archetypes in this play are outlined. Firstly, there are the witches. Right from the start, The witches in Macbeth reveal themselves as evil characters who solely create turmoil. The witches represent the villain archetype. They are “the bad guys” in this play.
Hamlet has come to see his mother, Queen Gertrude, and ends up stabbing Lord Polonius, which ultimately leads to his death. Lord Polonius’ final words include “O, I am slain!” Even though this provides a slight amount of comic relief to the reader, it has a reverse effect on Ophelia’s mental state. Her father’s death seems to be the potent punch in this fight because she officially goes mad after this final event. This is apparent in Scene IV Act I, when Laertes has come back to visit his sister and check on her well being. He is disappointed to see that Ophelia is displaying irrational behavior when she begins to sing “They bore him barefac’d on the bier; Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny; And on his grave rains many a tear.” She is so mentally ill that she must be locked in a padded room during the day.
Hamlet feels betrayed by his mother and feels like he can 't trust anyone. Shakespeare gives Hamlet these struggles in the play to amplify the mental and psychological events that make the reader feel bad about what all happened to Hamlet. Hamlet eventually kills Claudius like his father told him to, but only did it after his mother, Gertrude, drank the poison that Claudius meant to give Hamlet. This is a result of external action from all the sorrows that was building up in Hamlet’s life. This brings us to our next character, Gertrude, Claudius’s wife and Hamlets
Ophelia goes mad throughout the story. She is overwhelmed by the loss of her father and the rejection of Hamlet. Her character is seen spiraling down a dark path that also ends in death. Ophelia is depicted as not having control over her actions; speaking and acting erratically. While Hamlet is speaking erratically and behaving oddly, he still maintains control over his actions and movement throughout the story.
With his father just being murdered by his uncle Claudius and Polonius banning the relationship between him and Ophelia, the only thought running through Hamlet’s mind was anger and revenge. The acts of violence throughout the play comes in three different forms; murder, suicide, and combat. Polonius is unexpectedly murdered, Ophelia goes mad and commits suicide, and Hamlet provokes a battle with Laertes that ends poorly for both men. All three of these violent acts can be traced back to clouded judgements, indecisiveness, anger, revenge, and heartbreak. Shakespeare created such acts of violence to keep the readers on their toes and informed, but also to invoke questions.
This mix up causes Hamlet’s well thought out plan to spiral out of control and puts Laertes on a quest to avenge his father’s murder just as Hamlet is. Laertes however goes at obtaining his revenge in a completely different way than Hamlet does. While Hamlet spent every moment planning every little thing to perfectly get away with killing his father’s murderer, Laertes gathers a band of soldiers and charge around accusing everyone someone says might have done it. While Hamlet puts a lot of planning and secrecy into his approach, Laertes has a much more brutal way of avenging his
Then, he hires murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance (Banquo’s son). They kill Banquo but Fleance manages to escape. Back at the castle during the banquet, Banquo’s ghost appears. Macbeth is struck with fear and guilt when he sees it. This is when Macbeth, for the first time, is expressing his internal guilt.