MacBeth's Downfall

How the Witches contributed to MacBeth's downfall

The Downfall of MacBeth

MacBeth’s downfall all started with many things, but mainly it started the witches that met with MacBeth and Banquo. Although Banquo got a prophecy too, the witches got into MacBeth’s head from the very start. Lady MacBeth may have contributed to MacBeth’s downfall, but she only encouraged the witches prophecy, saying that these prophecies must come true. MacBeth doesn’t agree at first, but then Lady MacBeth calls MacBeth a woman forcing him to prove his manhood and murder Duncan, “...and live a coward in thine own esteem...then you were a man; and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more a man.”(Act 1, Scene 7) Lady MacBeth tells MacBeth that with this deed it will make him more a man than what he was, which is a coward. This forces MacBeth to agree with the deed because his wife, a woman, is mocking him. Once the prophecy comes true, and the MacBeths become royalty, they go insane. Lady MacBeth reliving the night of the deed every night, and MacBeth letting power get to his head, becoming a cruel king. The witches arrange a visit with MacBeth to tell him of his new prophecies. MacBeth is visited by the witches and is shown his three prophecies. The prophecies say that MacBeth should beware of MacDuff, no man born a woman can harm him, and MacBeth shall not vanquish until the Great Birnam Wood moves to high Dunsinane Hill, “...MacBeth! Beware of Macduff…The pow’r of man, for none of woman born shall harm MacBeth...MacBeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.” MacBeth starts to believe that he will live on forever because wood cannot move from the roots in the ground. He also believes that MacDuff was born a woman; therefore, he cannot hurt him although the first prophecy told him to beware of MacDuff. Once England and the Scottish Rebels attack MacBeth’s castle, MacBeth thinks he will be invincible because of the prophecy, no man born a woman can harm him, so he decides to fight them off. Young Siward enters MacBeth’s castle, but MacBeth slayed Young Siward because he was born a woman. After that, MacDuff enters MacBeth’s castle, but MacBeth isn’t in the mood for fighting MacDuff because he has slaughtered too many of his family. MacDuff reveals that he was not born a woman, but he was ripped out of the womb. “...MacDuff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.” MacDuff later calls him a coward, which gets MacBeth to fight MacDuff. MacBeth and MacDuff fight for a little, but in the end MacDuff wins the fight because he was not born the normal way. Even if the witches weren’t there the entire time to tell MacBeth exactly what to do, the witches encouraged MacBeth in a way to do the things leading to his downfall, like killing King Duncan, or making him believe that no one can harm him. Since the woods cannot move from the ground and most people were born of a woman, but MacBeth was slain and Malcolm, the son of Duncan, became the rightful King of Scotland.

Macbeth Himself

Macbeth was a noble man by the side of his friend Banquo. One day Macbeth and Banquo run into 3 sisters. These weren't normal sisters, they were witches. They first greeted Macbeth as the Thane of Cawdor, and told Macbeth he will become royalty. The witches then tell Banquo that his sons will become kings. These two prophecies collide with each other greatly. Macbeth doesn't believe these witches at first but then two messengers gives Macbeth the rank of Thane of Cawdor from the king himself, "And for an earnest greatest honor, he bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor; in which addition, hail, most worthy Thane!" Macbeth begins to believe the witches and thinks he will he will be king, but first he had to murder the king ruling at that time. Macbeth murders King Duncan and blames the servants with Lady Macbeth's help.

The Floating Dagger

Right before Macbeth murders the King of Scotland, he sees a dagger floating in front of him. Macbeth talks about how this is meant to be, how this dagger in front of him is meant to be used to slay Duncan. Macbeth believes his eyes are deceiving him, showing him a dagger in front of him right before he kills Duncan. "Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses..." But in the middle of all this in his mind, a bell rings signaling Macbeth its time to murder the king.

The Birnam Woods to Dunsinane

One of the three new prophecies Macbeth was told was that before he could be taken down, the Birnam woods had to move to Dunsinane. To Macbeth it is impossible for trees rooted to the ground move to another place. "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill..."

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