The Tragedy of Macbeth
Fear the Fear
Fear is to blame for Macbeth’s downfall. It is seen that fear plagues Macbeth early in the play, “O, yet I do repent me of my fury that I did kill them” (II.III.121-122). Here it is seen that Macbeth had fear of being caught, so he murdered the guards who were to be blamed. This effectively put the blame on Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan’s sons. Their own fear driving them away and giving them feelings of contempt towards their father’s murderer. Later it can be read that Macbeth commands that one of his best friends, Banquo, and his son, Fleance, to be murdered out of fear of his family losing lordship. “Both of you know Banquo was your enemy” (III.I.125-126). Macbeth fears losing his kingship to Banquo’s son(s), so he orders that possibility to be eliminated. This endeavor fails, as Fleance escapes. Macbeth’s fear of a messenger’s report causes him to go confront his enemy and, in turn, end up fighting the one not born of woman. “As I did stand my watch upon the hill, I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought the wood began to move” (V.V.36-38). Macbeth fears that the witches have led him astray, so he goes out to face his enemy instead of staying within the castle. In going out to face his enemy, he has caused the man not born of woman, Macduff, to be able to reach him alive. Macduff then kills him as “Birnam Wood” conquers his castle. Fear has caused Macbeth’s downfall.