Who is to blame for Macbeth's downfall?

Many options as to who or what is to blame for Macbeth’s downfall are evident, being that there are lots of things that influence his decisions. Based on the events that took place in the book, the witches are to blame for Macbeth’s downfall. The witches have a huge effect on Macbeth because of their prophecies for him. In Act 4, scene 1, The witches summon the apparitions, “Come, high, or low; Thyself and office deftly show!”(IV.I). This effects Macbeth because the second one boost his ego by saying that average people should beware Macbeth and that he is basically untouchable, “... The pow’r of man, for, none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth”(IV.I). The fact that the second apparition said this and makes him believe that he is invincible. The witches also were also the main reason behind why Macbeth killed King Duncan. They told him that he would be king so that influenced his thought of needing to get rid of Duncan, which he later feels guilty for enticing his downfall. In the beginning of the book, during Act 1, scene 3, the third witch announces, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!”(I.III). Killing King Duncan was the beginning of Macbeth’s downfall because of his hallucinations and his thoughts. The witches continue with their prophecies and that allows Macbeth to be in denial about his “immortality”. The witches were also a reason that Hecate came along and planned on giving false hope to Macbeth. Hecate was angry, “ Shall draw him on to his confusion. He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear His hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear; And you all know security Is mortals’ chiefest enemy”(III.V). Ultimately, Hecate is the reason the witches summon the 3 apparitions(which as explained earlier is part of Macbeth’s downfall) as she is angered and she is a goddess who is their leader. She predicts he will see the apparitions who will give him his false hope and belief in himself. I think that the witches are deceiving, and evil. They allowed him to believe he was untouchable, and gave him confidence by many of their prophecies. The influence of the weird sisters were very deceiving, and creepy. At the end of the day Macbeth makes his own decisions, but i feel that if the witches had never been there in the first place then he would never have been influenced to make the choices that he did and the story would have ended totally different.

Literary devices

  • One literary device is a paradox. The witches say,"Foul is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air" (I.I) This saying contradicts itself because fair is not foul, and foul is not fair. The witches enter and begin explaining what will happen and talk about their future meeting with Macbeth.
  • Another literary device is a tragedy. Macduff's son screams, "He has killed me, mother. Run away, I pray you!"(IV.II). The murders kill Macduff's son in looking for him, sadly. This is a tragedy since he died.
  • My third literary device is verbal irony. Lady Macbeth says, " All our service In every point twice done, and then done double, Were poor and single business to contend Against those honors deep and broad wherewith Your Majesty loads our house. For those of old, And the late dignities heaped up to them, we rest our hermits" (!.VI). In this scene Lady Macbeth is being really nice to King Duncan and is acting like a perfect hostess, when she is secretly planning to kill him with Macbeth. This is ironic because she's acting like everything is okay even though she wants him dead.


  • One connection I found for Macbeth would be a movie connection of the movie Mean Girls. The witches are like the Plastics, in the sense that they are nice to Cady just like the witches are nice to Macbeth. They feed her things that will "help her" and allow her to become "more popular", just like when the witches tell Macbeth that he will be king and invincible. This leads to his downfall as well as Cady's in the movie Mean Girls. The video I chose describes the first time that Cady met the Plastics and they are allowing her to sit with them, they start complementing her, and giving her advice later on. this is the beginning of her journey to her own downfall, by listening to what the Plastics have to say. Just like in Macbeth when the witches first met him, it was the start of his downfall as well.

  • My second connection is a character analysis about Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is very ambitious and ruthless. She can be inhumane and cold due to her determination. After the murder of Duncan, she says to Macbeth, "Who was it that thus cried? Why worthy thane, You do unbend your noble strength to think so brainsickly of things. Go get some water And wash this filthy witness from your hand. Why did you bring these daggers from the place? They must lie there. Go carry them and smear The sleepy grooms with blood"(II.II). She is quite heartless here, because Macbeth feels horrible and she just doesn't care much, she thinks it's cowardly and stupid of him to feel this way. Lady Macbeth is deceiving and convincing. She acts so friendly and respectful to Duncan, and acts as a great hostess for him, even though she is planning to have Macbeth kill him. She says to him, "Your servants ever Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in compt, To make their audit at your Highness' pleasure, Still to return to your own"(I.VI). Lady Macbeth is also pretty crazy. She tries to call on the spirits to change her into the man, that she feels Macbeth can not be, due to his lack of courage. she speaks, "... Come you spirits That tend on morale thoughts, unsex me here..."(I.V). Lady Macbeth is a very important and an interesting character. She is motivated so Macbeth can be King, in order for her to be by his side in power as queen. However, I am not a fan of her, I feel like she is evil in her own way and is very cunning and a mad woman due to theses events in my quotes. Her feelings towards the murder, her decisiveness of Duncan, and her insanity of wanting to be a man just to be a better and less scared Macbeth.
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