What is Responsible for Macbeth's Downfall?
After Lady Macbeth reads her husband's letter, Macbeth comes home. Shortly afterwards, King Duncan and his party arrive. Not too long after their arrival, Lady Macbeth and her husband get into an argument. Macbeth wants to chicken out from killing the king, but Lady Macbeth won't let him. She begins to insult him as she says, "Such I account the love. Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor as thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem'st ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,' like the poor cat i' the adage?" (Shakespeare 43). By saying this she criticizes Macbeth's decision to not seize the crown. She calls him a coward, and compares him to a cat who won't catch a fish for the fear of getting his paws wet. This makes Macbeth feel weak, so he decides to follow through with the plan.
After Macbeth kills the king, he feels instant regret. He doesn't know what to do and is close to breaking. Then, Lady Macbeth comes and insults him again by saying, "Your constancy hath left you unattended" (Shakespeare 59). By this she means that his courage has left him, which is just like when she called him a coward a few scenes ago. When she says this, he then again feels weak. He then is motivated by her to be strong, and not disappoint her. If Lady Macbeth hadn't insulted Macbeth, convincing him to kill the king, he probably would not have followed through with the plan, thus preventing his downfall.
With the use of a metaphor, Malcolm emphasizes his fear. After everyone had found our about Duncan's murder, everyone is shocked. The guards are put to blame; however, not everyone is completely sure that the guards actually committed the crime. Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan's two sons, are talking about how they could be killed next, for their dad was just murdered. Donalbain says that he is leaving for Ireland, and that they would both be safer if they were far away and separated. Malcolm responds with, "This murderous shaft that's shot hath not yet lightened, and our safest way is to avoid the aim" (Shakespeare 71). By this metaphor, he shows his fear of assassination. He is saying that him getting assassinated is the same as someone shooting an arrow at him, but he is just out of the arrows aim; however, if the shooter fires another arrow, he will be hit. This is just like him being assassinated; it will happen unless he goes very far away, out of the assassin's aim. The use of this metaphor adds to the story, because it emphasizes Malcom's fear. By using the metaphor instead of saying bluntly that he was scared to be assassinated, he is emphasizing how close they are to being killed. If he would have just said that he was frightened of assassination, he could mean that thought he'd be killed sometime in the future, or that it may or may not happen. But when he uses the metaphor, he emphasizes how close he is to being killed.
My wife is my world; happy she shall be
I am strong, what she wishes I will do
I must prove to her that her love is me
I will kill the king if that's what she asks
I'd do anything for her, she is my love.
For my lady I would do countless tasks
I need to, for her, I must rise above.
Now I'm thinking, what did I just promise?
Is it true that I'm risking everything?
If all goes wrong, there are things I will miss
I'm risking all for a chance to be king.
When you're in love, you'll do things you regret
Although you won't do things that you'll forget