The Downfall of Macbeth

Bergan Hilger

Whose to Blame

Macbeth's own ambition is the cause of his downfall. Throughout his journey others may have important roles to play and hold strong influences, but when it comes time to act it is Macbeth's decision that causes his ruination.

In Act 1, Scene 7 Shakespeare states,"To prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself and falls on the other-"(41). This quote is stating that the only possible reason for Macbeth to kill King Duncan is his own ambition blinding his morals. Another quote stating that Macbeth's ambition is clouding his thoughts was when he killed Duncan. He heard the bell signaling it was time to kill Duncan and states,"I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell. That summons thee to heaven, or to hell." (Shakespeare 51). In this scene it is Lady Macbeth ringing the bell signaling for Macbeth to kill Duncan in his chamber, but Macbeth's decision, and only his, to follow through on the plan of the King's murder. He could easily have disregarded the bell and his wife's opinion but decided to complete this task on his own accord.

Lastly, Macbeth fears Banquo because his aspiration led him to attaining the throne but makes no promises he'll keep it. He feels he has earned the position through his desire to get here and worries Banquo will come after the power. While Macbeth quietly worries aloud he states,"To be thus is nothing, But to be safely thus."(Shakespeare 81). This piece of the story, along with others, show how Macbeth's undoing was a cause of his own. His ego and power hungry personality have created Banquo to be a portrayed as a threat to the throne when, in reality, Banquo was expressing grief for the death of the King and a feeling resembling happiness for his friend's good fortune.

Literary Device Pictures

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Literary Devices

'"All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glaimis!'

'All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!'

'All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!"'(Shakespeare 19).

This literary device is an example of foreshadowing. In this scene Banqo and Macbeth meet the witches who reveal a prophecy of both the warriors future. The witches look to valiant Macbeth and Banquo and say,'"All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glaimis!'

'All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!'

'All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!"'(Shakespeare 19). This is a vital part of the story, allowing Macbeth to wonder how the prophecy might take place and alters his future actions to make it true.



" Faith, here's an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven" (Shakespeare 61).

This quote demonstrates verbal irony. The porter is drunk and begins to ramble about treason. The drunk and confused Porter states," " Faith, here's an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven" (Shakespeare 61).Little does he know, treason will soon be committed for killing the King of Scotland. The text is stating that the person who committed treason won't be admitted to heaven and the intoxicated Porter rambles to Macduff and Lennox until Macbeth, the one who truly carried out the crime, walks in to collect his visitors.



“Look like th’ innocent flower but be the serpent under’t” (Shakespeare 67-68).

This quote is a simile and is very important to the story line. In this scene Macbeth's wife has been told of the prophecy and of Duncan's upcoming visit. She is speaking to Macbeth telling him it is important to appear calm on the outside but be vicious like a snake underneath when killing the King. Macbeth will take his wife's words to heart and follow through with the murder so his dreams and aspirations of becoming king will come true.

Gone Girl Official Trailer #2 (2014) Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike HD

Movie scene

In the movie Gone Girl, the lead character Amy Dunn becomes increasingly more unhappy with the life she's been given. As she slowly loses her happiness her rational thought leaves with it, causing her to plot her murder leaving those closest to her looking for someone to blame and ways to handle the grief. Amy begins to self-destruct and aims to kill the perception others see of her in the process. She creates her own downfall much like Macbeth; both being blinded by ambition and following through with a plan.

Artwork

This piece of artwork is clearly showing this persons self-destruction much like Macbeth. In the story, Macbeth's decisions allowed him to travel the path where he was killed for his choices. After killing Duncan, Macbeth believes he hears voices saying,"Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor Shall sleep no more! Macbeth shall sleep no more!( Shakespeare 57). His death was completely his fault and belonged solely to him. In the image below it's showing someone choosing to take their life which is another example of someone self-imposing negativity on themselves which results in their death.
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