What could cause his downfall?
Curiosity Sparked the Flame, Ambition Made Him Burn
Macbeth's descent into madness begins when the witches prophesy that he is to become Thane of Cawdor, and later even king. At first he was quite skeptical of these "Weird Sisters," but after some consideration, Macbeth states,"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?" (25). The idea has arose the possibility of murdering King Duncan to get his way to the throne. All the witches had done was prophesy, Macbeth's murderous thoughts brought him to his knees. As for the involvement of Lady Macbeth, she had come to the same conclusion that the King should be murdered. Macbeth then begins to question whether or not the deed should be committed. He speaks to himself again, "If the assassination could trammel up the consequence, and catch, with his surcease, success, that but this blow might be the be-all and the end-all here, but here, upon this bank and shoal of time, we'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases we still have judgement here, that we but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague the inventor" (41). He means that if only the KIng could be murdered and Macbeth claim the throne without consequence looming, then it would be good to commit what he had thought to do. But in good judgement, most terrible deeds tend to backfire. Even as he doubts himself, you can sense the ambition and what he might be feeling. You can tell from this if there was nothing to stop him Macbeth would have murdered Duncan without second thought. Lastly, after Macbeth has become king it is still not enough when Banquo begins to suspect his past deed. He hires murderers to kill him, but before he consults them he speaks to himself, "For Banquo's issue I have filed in my mind; for them the gracious Duncan have I murdered; Put rancors in the vessel of my peace only for them, and mine eternal jewel given to the common enemy of man to make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!" (81). At the first meeting with the witches they had also said that Banquo would not be a king, but beginning with his sons would be a line of kings. Macbeth, would not like his crown, the "eternal jewel" to be his until it is taken by the sons of Banquo. Once again, his own ambition and greed causes him to commit another murder through those he hires.
There are more than a few literary devices that are key in Macbeth. First, Macbeth being the tragic hero of the story. He starts off being a hero in the eyes of King Duncan and the other Thanes, earning him a new title. But after he murders Duncan, his error then led to his ultimate demise. This is excellently explained in his speech in Act 5 after the passing of his wife. He says, "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" (171). Another literary device used often in the play is the use of analogies. When Macbeth begins to fear that Banquo has found out what he had committed, he says, "There is none but he whose being I do fear; and under him my genius is rebuked, as it is said Mark Antony's was by Caesar" (81). He feels as if Banquo's presence threats his rule, as Caesar did Mark Antony. Lastly, throughout the play lots of foreshadowing can be found, especially with the witches. In the witches meeting with Hecate, she states to them, "This night I'll spend unto a dismal and fatal end" (109). Hecate means to bring a gruesome end to Macbeth, and that she does when he is finally killed by Macduff.