Double, Double Toil and Trouble

The Witches Of Macbeth

How The Witches Ruined Macbeth

Despite the fact that there were many factors that lead to Macbeth's death, the witches were the main cause of his downfall. When Macbeth first encounters the witches, they tell him that he will become Thane of Cawdor and King. When Macbeth becomes Thane of Cawdor, the thought of killing Duncan first entered Macbeth's mind because of the witches' prophecy. When Macbeth earns his new title, he wonders if he will become king some other way, or if he should kill Duncan. "Two truths are told, as happy prologues to the swelling act/Of the imperial theme... If good, why do I yield to that suggestion/Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair/And make my seated heart knock at my ribs/Against the use of nature?" (Macbeth Act 1, Scene 3). Macbeth would never have thought of killing Duncan on his own; the witches wanted to stir up trouble in his life, so they gave him the prophecy. The second time that the audience is shown Macbeth's thoughts, he is scared because the idea of becoming king by murder has started to solidify. "That is a step/On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,/For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires!/Let not light see my black and deep desires" (Macbeth Act 1, Scene 4). Macbeth is asking the stars to not give off their light so that no one will see what he wants to do. When Macbeth eventually tells his wife and they carry out their plan, Macbeth loses a piece of his humanity. Killing Banquo and his family took the little he had left away. In Macbeth's last few lines, the audience can really see how the witches tricked him and have been manipulating him from the beginning: "And be these juggling friends no more believed,/That palter with us in a double sense,/That keep the word of promise to our ear/And break it to our hope!" (Macbeth Act 5, Scene 8). The witches lead Macbeth to believe that he was invincible when they gave him their prophecy, but when Macbeth learns that his opponent, Macduff, was not born naturally, he realizes that they purposely tricked him.
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A Dynamic Character

Lady Macbeth is a dynamic character in Macbeth. Lady Macbeth goes through an "important inner change, as a change in personality or attitude". In the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth was a strong, independent, manipulative woman. After murdering Duncan, with the help of her husband, the guilt eventually causes her to commit suicide. "Of this dead butcher and his friendlike queen,/Who (as 'tis thought) by self and violent hands/Took off her life..." (Macbeth Act 5, Scene 8). After Macbeth is killed, Lady Macbeth is found dead, presumably by her own hands ("by self and violent hands"). This shows the audience how dramatically being a murderer took it's toll on Lady Macbeth's conscious. The audience sees such a bold character reduced to nothing.
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In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth has a scene that perfectly symbolizes her insanity. Lady Macbeth begins sleepwalking, and is caught by a doctor and a gentlewoman reenacting Duncan's murder. "Foul whisp'rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds/Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds/To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets./More needs [Lady Macbeth] the divine than the physician" (The Doctor; Macbeth Act 5, Scene 1). The doctor has just witnessed Lady Macbeth's unconscious breakdown, and says that she needs a priest (someone to help her with her mental problems) rather than a physical doctor. This symbolizes Lady Macbeth falling apart and going insane.
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The Tragedy

The play Macbeth is actually classified as a tragedy, a "drama in which there is a display of human suffering". There are multiple scenes that show the struggle that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth go through (all of which could've been avoided had they not murdered Duncan, but that defeats the purpose of the play). One particular display of tragedy was the scene right after Macbeth kills the king. "Still it cried 'Sleep no more!' to all the house;/'Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor/Shall sleep no more! Macbeth shall sleep no more!'... I'll go no more./I am afraid to think what I have done;/Look on't again I dare not" (Macbeth Act 2, Scene 2). Macbeth is guilt ridden and is so horrified at what he has done that he decides to try and forget the incident ever happened. It is the only way Macbeth is able to continue. This is a clear example of human (Macbeth's) suffering.
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A Sonnet For Macbeth

Three ugly witches looking for trouble
Give poor Macbeth a deadly prophecy:
"A grand title, but let's make it double,
Thane of Glamis, you'll be Cawdor and King".

The ambitious Macbeth ponders their words,
The letter of news to his Lady came,
Then thoughts of murder begin to occur,
And thoughts turned to actions; the king is slain.

Next down is Banquo and his precious son;
Such guilt does ruin the Lady and Lord
The Lady raises, to her head, a gun
And Macbeth falls to Macduff's vicious sword

So there is the tragedy of Macbeth,
The witches' game led to chaos and death
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The Sword In The Stone to Macbeth

A movie that really compares to Macbeth is Disney's The Sword In The Stone. In this movie, a character (Merlin) is tricked by a witch (Madam Mim) when challenged to a "wizard's duel". Madam Mim sets rules for the battle, as if she's going to fight fairly. But during the fight, she cheats and breaks the rules, hence tricking Merlin. This relates to how Macbeth was tricked by the three witches ( they gave Macbeth the illusion of invincibility).

The link below is the Wizard's Duel scene from The Sword In The Stone on YouTube. The actual "battle" begins at the time 3:35 in the video.

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