Mad Macbeth

By: Trevor Turner

The Downfall of Macbeth

Many people contributed to the downfall of Macbeth, but the people that contributed the most are the witches. The witches are known for only giving half of the truth. So, they took advantage of Macbeth in many different ways, which contributed to his downfall. I feel that Macbeth shouldn't have fully trusted the witches, but he did. When the witches go and greet Macbeth and Banquo the first witch said, "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!" the second witch added, "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!" the third which replied, "All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!" (1.3.49-51). Little did Macbeth know, the king hasn't been announced yet. So, there was no guarantee that he would become king. But, he now believes this is true, and doesn't know if it will happen naturally, or if he has to work for it. This is showing that because the witches told him this information, he thinks he might have to act upon it. After Macbeth was told this information, Lady Macbeth read a piece of writing that Macbeth wrote. It stated, "(reading) They met me in the day of success, and I have learned by the perfectest report they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it came missives from the king, who all-hailed me 'Thane of Cawdor,' by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me to the coming on of time with 'Hail, king that shalt be!' This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.” (1.5). Since Macbeth was greeted by the kings men as "Thane of Cawdor", like the witches prophesied, he believes they will also be right about him being king. This gives him more of a reason to believe them, and potentially take matters into his own hands about being king. Now that Macbeth fully believes them, and tells Lady Macbeth, she starts believing them. When she starts believing them, she then wants Macbeth to take matters into his own hands, and murder the king. When Macbeth starts doubting his ability to kill the king. Lady Macbeth gets furious when Macbeth says this. She says, "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 the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,” Like the poor cat i' th' adage?" (1.7.40-46). This shows that, not only does Macbeth truly want it, thanks to the witches, Lady Macbeth does also. This leads to Macbeth murdering King Duncan, which leads to Macbeth's downfall. I believe that if Macbeth would have been a little more skeptical of the witches, then the situation wouldn't have happened.
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Literary Device #1

  • Device 1: Comic Relief. Comic relief is when comedy is added to relieve tension in literature. In Macbeth, a scene with comic relief in it is Act 2 Scene 3. Leading up to this scene, there was a lot of tension, because of the murder of Duncan. Suddenly, the mood shifts when a clearly drunken porter enters. The porter says, "Here’s a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key." he hears knocking, "Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there, i' th' name of Beelzebub? Here’s a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty. Come in time, have napkins enough about you, here you’ll sweat for ’t." (2.3). Because of this scene, the mood is lightened a bit, and things aren't so tense, showing coming
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Literary Device #2

  • Device 2: Tragic Hero. A tragic hero is someone in a story that is led to their downfall. This can be shown through many ways in Macbeth. In the story, the witches told Macbeth that he was going to be king after Duncan. Because Macbeth put too much trust into the witches, he was being led to his downfall. He said, "(aside) Two truths are told, As happy prologues to the swelling act Of the imperial theme." (1.3.130-132). This is saying that after the witches other two prophecies were true, he believes this prophecy has to become true. But, the witches never disclosed how Macbeth would become king, so Macbeth decided to take things into his own hands, and kill Duncan, which causes his downfall, making him a tragic hero.
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Literary Device #3

  • Device 3: Verbal Irony. Verbal irony is when one thing is said, but they mean another. Leading up to the use of verbal irony, Macbeth is plotting to murder Banquo. So, when Macbeth and Banquo planned to go to dinner together Macbeth says, "Fail not our feast" (3.1.29). Macbeth is saying this, but he knows that Banquo will not make it to the feast, because he will have been murdered. Because Macbeth says something that he means the opposite of, this shows verbal irony.
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Art connection

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This piece of art can be connected to Macbeth, because as he is getting ready to have the murder of Duncan committed, he starts hearing voices in his head, much like this picture. He also starts hallucinating, and seeing things. Macbeth stated, "Methought I heard a voice cry, 'Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep'—the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast." Lady Macbeth replied with, "What do you mean?" (2.2.35-41). This is implying that Lady Macbeth has no idea what Macbeth means. He is just hearing voices in his head, and he is seeing things.

Song connection

The downfall of Macbeth can be related to the song "Where are Ü Now?" covered by Pentatonix. The lyrics that relate to Macbeth's downfall are the lyrics:


“I gave you the key when the door wasn't open, just admit it

See, I gave you faith, turned your doubt into hoping, can't deny it"


These lyrics are in the first 16 seconds of the song. These lyrics can be related to the downfall of Macbeth, because this is like what the witches did to Macbeth. They told him that he would become king, when the position of king wasn't yet open, like the first line, and they told him that he would become king, and made him begin hoping, much like the second line.

[Official Video] Where Are Ü Now – Pentatonix (Jack Ü ft. Justin Bieber Cover)