By: Rebecca Lincoln
Many factors impacted Macbeth’s choices throughout the play. Some influences were people and some nonhuman. From floating weapons to the ghost to the three witches, these forces may or may not have been real, but were certainly not mortal. They may have merely been a figment of Macbeth’s own imagination. Whether or not these factors were real, the influence they had on Macbeth’s decisions throughout the story is undeniable.
The dagger that Macbeth saw in front of him while confronted with the decision to kill the king or not to had an impact on his choice. It tempted him to kill. The dagger, although not actually being there, represented his power to control the situation. He wanted to be king so desperately that he was willing to take short cuts and commit treasury. He could not resist the opportunity that sat in front of him so he pondered the thought and decided to use the dagger. It was, metaphorically speaking, right in front of him and he was willing to do anything to become king, as he betrayed his country and killed his king. Choosing the imaginary dagger would lead to his ultimate goal, the crown, so he caved.
After causing the death of his friends, Macbeth allowed the ghost of Banquo to influence his actions. His guilt got the best of him and it may have been a hallucination or it may have been a ghost, but he saw Banquo. Banquo haunted him of his hideous deeds and caused him to have several outburst in front of his guest. Banquo made him uneasy, so he shouted out some things that made him look suspicious. His guest stared and became uncomfortable as they backed away. After this scene, he turned to the witches for a peek into the future.
The witches played a huge role in Macbeth’s decision making. They were responsible for his desire to be king, as they initially put the idea in his head. Previously, he had no intent of becoming king, and why would he? That would be crazy; however, the witches prophesied that he would become Thane of Cawdor, King and that Banquo would have Kings. After their first prediction coming true, they proved their credibility, so of course what they said would be true. Macbeth now feels that the crown is not so far out of reach so he sets his eye on it. When Malcom was named heir to the throne, he didn’t see how he could become king, so took drastic measures. Macbeth kills Duncan because he wanted to become king because the witches got his hopes up.
The witches also said the Banquo’s children would become royalty, so Macbeth finds that to be a problem, as he wasn’t to remain king. In attempt to prevent this from happening, Macbeth sends people to kill Banquo and his son because of what the witches said. After another visit to the witches, Macbeth was lead to believe that Macduff was a threat, he would not have to worry until the forest came up to the castle and that no one of woman born could harm him. Macbeth basically thought that this meant he was invincible, so he did not worry. Everyone was of woman born so who could hurt him? Macduff. Macduff was born from a C-section so was technically not of woman born. Macbeth got a false sense of safety from the way the witches worded their predictions that made it seem like he was in the clear.
All these supernatural factors, the floating dagger, Banquo’s ghost, and the witches, influenced Macbeth’s story. The dagger tempted him to kill for power. The ghost reminded him of his wrong doings and made him feel guilty. The witches put every idea into Macbeth’s head, from being king, to Banquo having kings, to him being safe, that he upon accordingly. Throughout the unfolding of the play, Macbeth was persuaded by the imaginary.