By: Jake Beauchamp

Who is to blame for Macbeth's downfall?

Macbeth listened to the witches prophecies; as a result, Macbeth's decisions caused his downfall. Macbeth's Ambition and Lady Macbeth played smaller roles for Macbeth's destruction. These concepts were important, but the witches were the main reason for Macbeth's defeat. The witches explained to Macbeth that he would become Thane of Glamis, which became true. Macbeth was astonished and thought the witches prophecy would come true if he killed king Duncan. The witches called out, "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!"Act 1 Scene 3(Shakespeare 17). Macbeth did not believe it would be a true statement, but when it did, he was astounded. After the witches first prophecy came true, his mind was altered into thinking he could become king if he killed king Duncan. He became so focused on the witches prophecies, that he would kill anyone that got in his way of becoming king, or anyone who questions his authority as king of Scotland. Macbeth's thought process was also changed when the witches told, "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsisnane Hill shall come against him" Act 4 Scene 1(Shakespeare 122). This is important to Macbeth's decline because he thinks nobody can kill him. This turns out to be false when the witches third apparition becomes true and Macbeth is killed by Mcduff. Also, after Macbeth kills king Duncan, he describes it as, "Witchcraft celebrates pale Hecate's offerings; and withered murder, alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf..." Act 2 Scene 1(Shakespeare 51). The acts of witches and other evil creatures pleased Hecate, the goddess of the night and witchcraft. This proves that the witches were manipulating Macbeth into killing king Duncan to fulfill the prophecy, eventually leading Macbeth into defeat.
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Literary Device - Dramatic Irony

Macbeth is confident about his safety; meanwhile, the audience knows Macbeth will die when Macduff and Birnam wood are present. Macbeth accepts that he cannot be killed by anyone naturally born of a woman, and until Birnam woods moves. This boosts his confidence, although he does not realize he will be killed when these two things are present. However, the audience knows that Macduff is not naturally born of a woman, and Birnam Woods is dressed in camouflage creeping toward the castle in Scotland. Macbeth only knows he, "...shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinsane Hill shall come against him"Act 4 Scene 1(Shakespeare 122). The witches told Macbeth he is almost invincible. The audience had seen the prediction of the witches long before Macbeth realized, which happened to be too late.

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Literary Device - Dynamic Character

Macbeth's character changed throughout the plot because Macbeth was overthrown with ambition due to the witches prophecies. Macbeth started out as a brave, noble soldier. Once the witches spoke to Macbeth about the prophecy, Macbeth lost all self control and began to rely on the witches. Macbeth wanted to know that," Even till destruction sicken-answer me what I ask you" Act 4, Scene 1(Shakespeare 119). Macbeth got very demanding with the witches, for he wanted to know what his next fate resembled. He is outraged when the witches bring up Macduff and Banqou's sons. Since Macduff stands in the way of Macbeth's authority, Macbeth kills Lady Macduff and her son. This shows that Macbeth has changed into a very deceiving, detached person due to his ambitious thoughts caused by the witches.

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Literary Device - Symbolism

Because the witches prophecy said Macbeth would be king, Macbeth killed king Duncan and thought water would not be able to cleanse all guilt from his hands. After Macbeth killed king Duncan, his hands were red with blood. Macbeth asks himself, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No. This my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red" Act 2, Scene 2(Shakespeare 57). This statement represents the symbolism of how the blood on his hand will redden the seas. Holding back his guilt, he soon forgets about Duncan and focuses on being the king. His guilt aggravates his ambition to become more powerful for years to come; however, his guilt cannot be forgotten by washing his hands with water.

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Song Connection

Macbeth is resembled as "Another one Bites the Dust" because the characteristics of both are similar. Another one bites the dust is referred to as Macbeth killing all those people in order for him to reach the throne as king. In the song it states, " took me for everything that i had and kicked me out on my own..."(Queen). This resembles the witches telling Macbeth he would be king if he killed king Duncan. After that, the witches abandoned Macbeth and came back right before Macbeth killed Macduff. (1:04 - 1:42)
Queen - Another One Bites the Dust (Official Video)

Piece of Art

Macbeth cannot control his own actions due to the three evil witches. This piece of art represents Macbeth because he is discussing the prophecy, which led to Macbeth's downfall. The witches describe their actions as, " fair is foul, and foul is fair" Act 1, Scene 1 (Shakespeare 7). This represents the witches love the delight of confusion. This is important to the story because the witches influenced Macbeth into believing he would become king if he killed king Duncan. This made Macbeth very confused and weary about his decision to kill the king, but he decided to do it anyway so he could become king of Scotland due to the witches prophecy.
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