Macbeth's Downfall

Collin McDonald

How Lady Macbeth Caused Macbeth's Downfall

Although Macbeth went through with his actions, Lady Macbeth was the one who persuaded him to do this, leading to his downfall. Macbeth was told by three witches that one day he would become a king. To make sure this came true Macbeth planned to kill Duncan making him next in line for the throne; however, Macbeth decides to not go through with his plan. Lady Macbeth desperate for royalty begins to push Macbeth till he changes his mind. First, Lady Macbeth makes fun of Macbeth saying, "Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor as thou art in desire" (Shakespeare 43). Lady Macbeth proceeds to tell Macbeth how to act, by telling him, "Only look up clear. To alter favor ever is to fear. Leave all the rest to me" (Shakespeare 37). After murdering Duncan, Lady Macbeth says, "Go get some water, and wash this filthy witness from your hand" (Shakespeare 57) as to get Macbeth to believe it was no big deal. Lady Macbeth persuaded Macbeth to kill Duncan, sending him crazy in remorse.
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Literary Devices found in Macbeth

Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare uses several literary devices such as, tragic hero, dynamic character, and dramatic irony.

Macbeth starts out in the book as a beloved war hero. For his war efforts Duncan praises him many times. Despite his kindness to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth convinces him that killing Duncan is the right thing to do. Macbeth decides to kill the King, but it comes with a consequence. Macbeth regretting his decision says,"I had most need of blessing, and "Amen" Stuck in my throat" (Shakespeare 55). His choice to kill Duncan leads to his downfall making him a tragic hero.

Another literary device found in Macbeth is dynamic character. At the beginning of the book, Lady Macbeth is seen as a selfish, manipulative wife. Throughout the play, she attempts to persuade Macbeth into killing King Duncan, thus giving Macbeth the next in line, the throne. Her persuasions are successful and Macbeth goes through with the plan. Lady Macbeth shows no regrets and states,"Go get some water and wash this filthy witness from your hand" (Shakespeare 57) as if to say the murder was no big deal and that just washing your hands will make it okay. However in the later acts, Lady Macbeth becomes engulfed in guilt. She sees blood on her hands that can't be removed due to her madness she has succumbed to. This makes Lady Macbeth a dynamic character.

Dramatic Irony is another literary device used in Macbeth. In Act 1 Scene 6, Duncan visits Macbeth to honor him for his efforts in the war. Lady Macbeth hosts are large dinner in the event that the king has come to visit them. In this scene she is very polite, generous, and welcoming towards Duncan saying, "Your servants ever have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs in compt" (Shakespeare 39). This is an example of dramatic irony because Lady Macbeth is being very nice to Duncan when later she is going to kill him.

How Ferris Bueller's Day Off is similar to Macbeth

In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ferris decides to skip school and go on the adventure of his life. Ferris' two best friends, Cameron and Sloane, decide to come along for the journey, but they need transportation. Ferris persuades Cameron to let him borrow his dad's Ferrari. The three friends enjoy their day of fun, but when they return to Cameron's garage they realize that the Ferrari has one to many miles on it. Ferris creates a genius plan to put the Ferrari on a car jack and drive in reverse until all of the miles are erased. The plan is working brilliantly until Cameron throws a fit about how his dad pushes him around. In his rage Cameron kicks the car knocking the car jack loose. The car hits the ground and drives in reverse through the glass window behind them, falling down many feet, hitting the ground, presumably leading to Cameron's downfall. This resembles Macbeth because Lady Macbeth convinced Macbeth to kill Duncan like Ferris convinces Cameron to let him borrow the Ferrari. This causes Macbeth to go crazy and eventually lead to his death, also known as his downfall. Similarly, Cameron lets Ferris borrow the Ferrari leading to its destruction, and the downfall of Cameron.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) Trailer

Analysis of Macbeth

Initially in Macbeth, the reader sees Macbeth as a brave, heroic, war leader. The play starts during the battle between Scotland and Norway; Scotland wins the war and Macbeth becomes a hero. For his efforts Macbeth is given the title Thane of Cawdor by King Duncan. Shortly after Macbeth is greeted by three witches, hailing him by Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King Hereafter. The first two titles have come true making Macbeth believe someday he may become the King of Scotland. Macbeth sends Lady Macbeth a letter letting her know about the prophecy. Lady Macbeth badly wants her husband to be a king, so she wishes to rid herself of all emotions, allowing her to kill Duncan without feeling regret. Later, King Duncan visits Macbeth to congratulate him for what he did for Scotland. Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth into deciding to kill Duncan, giving him the throne. Macbeth is indecisive and struggles to commit to his decision stating, "We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored me of late" (Shakespeare 43). Lady Macbeth then went on to insult Macbeth and his manliness. After being persuaded and insulted Macbeth states, "I am settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat" (Shakespeare 45). Macbeth goes through with the crime, killing King Duncan. Instantly Macbeth begins to feel guilt and regret his decision and says to Lady Macbeth,"I'll go no more: I am afraid to think what I have done; look on't again I dare not" (Shakespeare 57). Macbeth begins to go crazy, killing many more just to keep his actions hidden. Lady Macbeth's persuasions drove Macbeth to kill Duncan, making him full of regret and guilt, the exact opposite of what he was at the beginning of the play.
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