Macbeth's Downfall

Riley Dunsworth

The Witches are to Blame

Without the witches, Macbeth would not have had a downfall. Although Macbeth's ambition lead him to kill people, he would not have gotten the ideas without the witches. Macbeth's downfall started when Macbeth and Banquo have just won a major battle. They ran into the witches and they started complimenting Macbeth on how we would be Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King hereafter. Macbeth started by waiting for fate, but then, he started to think he wanted those things. At the very beginning of the book, the witches say, "Fair is foul and foul is fair Hover through the fog and filthy air" (Act 1 Scene 1 Line 12). This shows that they mean something, but also have a different meaning which causes Macbeth to die in the first place. For example, the witches tell Macbeth, "The power of man, for none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth" (Act 4 Scene 1 Line 82/83). This prophecy tricks Macbeth because he automatically assumes everyone is born naturally by women. At the end of the book, he goes into battle with lots of confidence that he won't be defeated. Then, Macduff tells him before they fight, "Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb. Untimely ripped" (Act 5 Scene 8 Line 15/16). That is when Macbeth realizes he will be defeated because Macduff was born by a doctor (c-section). The witches also tell Macbeth, "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him" (Act 4 Scene 1 Line 96/97/98). This prophecy also tricks Macbeth as well because woods he assumes trees can't move. That is when he has confidence he will not be defeated until his enemies cut down trees of Great Birnam Wood to Dunsinane Hill.

Literary Devices


Macbeth is a dynamic character which is someone who changes throughout the story. At the beginning of the book, Macbeth does not care what the witches are saying to him. His response is, "If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me. Without my stir" (Act 1 Scene 3 Line 147/148/149). This statement shows that he was waiting for fate to crown him King. Then, he starts to get overly obsessed with what the witches are saying. He gets way too anxious and starts to kill people to get what he thinks he wants. He changed from not caring about being King to caring way too much.


Symbolism is used in the book after Macbeth murders Duncan. Macbeth is second guessing himself and is very paranoid. Macbeth starts to hear voices like, "Macbeth does murder sleep" (Scene 2 Act 2 Line 34). In this situation, sleep symbolizes innocence and killing Duncan, so, Macbeth is murdering sleep because Duncan is innocent. Macbeth allows the idea of power to consume him which leads him on to do immoral things, like murder Duncan.


Verbal Irony is shown in the play, Macbeth. Macbeth invites Banquo to dinner, even though he knows Banquo will not be there; "Tonight we hold a solemn supper sir, And I request your presence" (Act 2 Scene 1 Line 13/14). The reader soon realizes that Banquo will not arrive at dinner because Macbeth hired people to kill him brutally. Macbeth wanted Banquo killed because he was scared Banquo will tie the murder of Duncan with him. This shows verbal irony because Macbeth says something that has a different meaning.

Movie Connection: Mean Girls

In the movie, Mean Girls, the Plastics, Regina, Gretchen, and Karen, represent the three witches, and Cady represents Macbeth. Cady comes to a new school and meets the Plastics. The Plastics meet Cady and they try to make Cady one of them. The Plastics will do anything to keep their reputation and then Cady tries to do the same. When Cady tries too hard, she ends up making the entire school mad and destroys her own reputation. This is what Macbeth did, he tried to make what the witches said happen. Then, Macbeth ended up dying.
Mean Girls - Trailer

Song Connection: "Crazy Train"

"Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne relates to how Macbeth goes crazy.

All aboard! Hahaha

Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe. it's not too late--- Macbeth seems to regret killing Banquo and King Duncan. He want to take back killing them.

To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

Mental wounds not healing---Lady Macbeth is mentally unstable and can seem to be cured of her mental disease.

Life's a bitter shame
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

I've listened to preachers,
I've listened to fools---Macbeth takes to heart, the witches prophecies.

I've watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role

Mental wounds still screaming
Driving me insane
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

I know that things are going wrong for me---this is when Macbeth realizes that Macduff is going to kill him.

You gotta listen to my words, yeah, yeah

Heirs of a cold war,
that's what we've become
Inheriting troubles,
I'm mentally numb---After Macbeth kills one person he starts to kill everybody.
Crazy, I just cannot bear
I'm living with something that just isn't fair

Mental wounds not healing
Who and what's to blame
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train