Macbeth

By: Kamryn Martin Period 3

The Downfall

Due to their prophecies, the three witches are to blame for Macbeth’s downfall. If Macbeth had never met the sisters, he most likely would’ve never gotten the idea about being king. Their first prophecy tells of how “...Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!” (Act I, Scene 3, Lines 56-57). Here, his mind starts to turn as he ponders if he should kill the king or not. Although one might argue that Lady Macbeth was the cause of Macbeth’s downfall, she probably wouldn’t have even thought about it if she hadn’t read about the prophecies in Macbeth’s letter. After killing the king, he goes back to see the Witches because he now wants to make sure that he stays in power. In the second meeting, the First Apparition tells Macbeth to “Beware Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife” (Act IV, Scene 1, Lines 79-81). Because of this, Macbeth goes on to kill Macduff’s family. Throughout all of this commotion, Macbeth is drifting further and further away from his original self. In the beginning of the play, he was a heroic and honorable soldier. But after his bad deeds kept leading to worse ones, he started to change drastically. Finally, the cause of his actual downfall was the fact that he depended on everything the Witches told him which was that he “[bears] a charmed life, which must not yield To one of woman born” (Act V, Scene 8, Lines 15-16). This ends up backfiring while facing Macduff in battle. Macbeth learns that this time he can’t rely on the Witches, because Macduff was born by a C-section which meant that he can kill Macbeth. Therefore, the ultimate causes of Macbeth’s downfall were the Three Witches prophecies.
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Symbolism

After killing Duncan, Macbeth goes back to his wife to tell her that the deed is done. However, he is already starting to feel guilty and asks "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand?" (Act II, Scene 2, Lines 81-82). In this case, the blood is the symbol and represents the murder of Duncan. Here Macbeth is wondering if he will ever have a clear conscience.
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Tragic Hero

In the beginning, Macbeth is a war hero and is even rewarded with the title, Thane of Cawdor. However, that changes when he is faced with whether or not he should kill the king. After making up his mind, "[He goes], and it is done. The bell invites [him]. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven, or to hell" (Act II, Scene 1, Lines 72-74). What he is saying here, is that the bell tells him to go and kill Duncan and it ultimately leads to his demise.
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Foil

In the scene after the first meeting with the witches, Macbeth discusses the prophecies with Banquo. Since the first one had already come true (Thane of Cawdor) Macbeth asks Banquo if he hopes that his sons will become kings. Banquo responds by telling Macbeth that "...to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray's In deepest consequence" (Act I, Scene 3, Lines 144-146). This demonstrates that Banquo is Macbeth's foil because here, it can be inferred that Banquo doesn't take the prophecies as seriously as Macbeth.
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Pompeii- Bastille

The song "Pompeii" by Bastille represents Macbeth's character. Just like in the book, "[He was] caught up and lost in all of [his] vices...In [his] pose as the dust settled around [him]" (Bastille, 1:12). This is saying that his wicked behavior got the best of him and he couldn't control it. All of his bad deeds left him with "...Curses not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not" (Act V, Scene 3, Lines 31-32). So, after he finally realized where the path he chose had led him, it was too late and everything was catching up with him.

Bastille - Pompeii (Lyrics)

Stormy Sky

Stormy Sky #157 by John O'Grady represents the Witches' cause of the downfall. This is because in every scene the witches are in, there is some type of stormy weather. For instance, the first time the witches are introduced, they discuss "When shall [them] three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain?" (Act I, Scene 1, Lines 1-2). All three of these types of weather have to do with storms. So, this painting symbolizes the Witches because the storm shows the darkness that the they brought to Macbeth.

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