Macbeth

Faith Swenson Block 3

What's to Blame?

The main reason that Macbeth met his downfall was that he was too greedy. Throughout the play, Macbeth is trying to find any way he can to get power, including murdering numerous people. At first, the three witches set him off with prophesizing that he would someday be king. However, when he was wondering about the prophecy, he thought "If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs against the use of nature?" (Shakespeare 1.3.155-158). He was considering killing Duncan just from hearing the possibility of power. His greed took over, and he killed Duncan, becoming king. He wanted to be sure his position was safe, showing that he was so greedy that he wanted not only the position of power, but reassurance he wouldn't lose power. He soon realized the prophecy said that Banquo's sons would be kings, which concerned him. Thinking about this, he said "To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared" (Shakespeare 3.1.52-55). This shows how much Macbeth wanted power, since he was considering killing who was once his best friend. (He later did kill Banquo.) The witches also told Macbeth he was to fear Macduff. This worried him, because he still wanted to be king, and he didn't want anyone who could get in his way alive. So, he said "Seize upon Fife, give to the edge o' the sword his wife, his babes, and all the unfortunate souls that trace him in his line" (Shakespeare 4.1.174-176). Macbeth had decided to kill Macduff's family, who had done nothing. Macbeth transformed from a hero to a heartless murderer, on the search for power. This is how he met his end, by going power hungry, and being turned evil on a killing frenzy. The witches or Lady Macbeth may have started Macbeth on his search for power, but as the story went on, Macbeth chose to continue down that path. After Lady Macbeth went crazy, he could have turned around, but he still wanted power. So, Macbeth's downfall was his own fault, since he was greedy for power. He came to think he was invincible, since his actions had brought so much reward, and that is how he was killed. The picture shows a man with a crown (a king, perhaps Macbeth) surrounded by people bowing down to him. This is exactly what Macbeth wanted, power. Since these people are bowing to "Macbeth", he is in the perfect position of power. He can have anything he wants. This drive towards power is what kills Macbeth in the play.
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows "Three Brothers Story"

Movie Connection

The movie clip that I think shows Macbeth's downfall is from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. In the clip, the first brother resembles Macbeth because he is given power by getting the Elder Wand. Once he has that wand, he is driven by power, and kills another wizard because he has the power to. He comes to think he is invincible, and when he gets over confident, he is killed, and the power is taken from him. This is the same for Macbeth, except his power comes from being king, instead of the Elder Wand.

Literary Devices- Dynamic Character

In Macbeth, Macbeth is a dynamic character, because his personality changes drastically from the beginning of the play to the end. At first, Macbeth is a very noble soldier, and he is admired throughout the community. When Lady Macbeth suggests murdering Duncan so that he could be king, he has second thoughts and says "We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored me of late, and I have brought golden opinions from all sorts of people which would be worn now in their newest gloss, not cast aside so soon" (Shakespeare 1.7.35-39). So, Macbeth thought that he should not kill Duncan, since he was a good man who had given Macbeth a kind title. However, he is swayed by longing for power, and becomes greedy. Later in the book, he kills multiple people who may have threatened his future title as king. He no longer considers whether or not people deserve to be killed, he just kills them if they get in his way. This gives the reader a better understanding about what is important to Macbeth. Macbeth is a dynamic character because he changes from a noble soldier to a heartless murderer. This picture represents Macbeth before he became evil, a nobleman, similar to a knight.

Literary Devices- Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is a very important part of Macbeth. The three witches make prophecies about Macbeth, which lead him to his path of destruction. The first time, they tell him he will be king. He later became king, so he trusted the witches. The witches later say to Macbeth that he "...shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him" (Shakespeare 4.1.106-108). Macbeth thinks this could never happen, so he thinks he won't die for a long time. Later, this actually does come true, when an army uses tree branches to march up Dunsinane to kill Macbeth. This foreshadowing adds understanding to the story, since it gets the reader thinking more about what's going to happen next, and helps connect events together that otherwise may not have been thought of. The picture shows a castle on a hill surrounded by trees, similar to what Macbeth may have been picturing when the witches said he'd be killed by the forest.

Literary Devices- Tragic Hero

Macbeth is a tragic hero, because he makes an error in judgement, which leads to his own destruction. His error in judgement was that after the witches' second prophecy, he thought he was practically invincible, and would die of natural causes. He thought that they were telling him he would die when the forest marches in on him, or in other words, when pigs fly. As the army comes to his castle, Macbeth says to himself, "The cry is still, "They come!" Our castle's strength will laugh a siege to scorn. Here let them lie till famine and the ague eat them up" (Shakespeare 5.5.2-4). Macbeth was very confident that he was safe, and they wouldn't be able to kill him. However, the army had used branches of Birnam Wood to disguise themselves, which is what the witches had prophesized would happen when he was killed. So, Macbeth's error in judgment led to his destruction. Had he been more careful, he may have been able to escape his death. This helps the reader understand Macbeth, how trusting he was in the witches and how arrogant he had become. The picture shows a path split into two, representing Macbeth's judgement. He chose to go down the darker path on the right, leading to his demise. Had he chosen the light path on the left, he may have survived.
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Piece of Art

This piece of art shows Macbeth's downfall because it shows someone walking towards the end of a cliff. In the play, Macbeth is greedy for power, and he will stop at nothing to get it. So, if the person in the picture were Macbeth, he'd be seemingly at the top, the highest position of power. This high position of power in addition to the witches' prophecy about Macbeth being defeated by a forest makes Macbeth think he is invincible. Therefore, Macbeth would keep walking right off of the cliff, not realizing that it would lead to his own destruction. As Macbeth talks to Macduff, he says "Thou losest labor. As easy mayst thou the intrenching air with thy keen sword impress as make me bleed. Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests. I bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of woman born" (Shakespeare 5.8.11-16). He basically says that Macduff is wasting his time, and he won't be able to kill him. This later proves to be false, but it shows that Macbeth truly believed that he was invincible. This greed for power is the ultimate reason for Macbeth's death.