The Tragedy of Macbeth

by: Kayla Hughes

The Blame for Macbeth's Downfall

The concept that I believe is the cause of Macbeth’s downfall throughout the novel is the “Prophecy”. The prophecy was given by the three witches, which promised many uplifting ideas. These prophecies caused Macbeth to think of himself in a higher sense than he actually was. The overwhelming confidence he had, overpowered his morals and values causing him to spiral out of control. The first prophecy given by the witches made him hold his head higher than others, which stated, ”All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter” (Act I, Scene III). By promising Macbeth the head of the kingdom, it leads to the very brutal crime of killing Duncan ,the king, in his sleep on the first chime of the bell. Once, this horrific act was done Macbeth experienced the murmurs of spirits talking to him and the most treacherous dreams. When he talks about these horrifying experiences to Lady Macbeth he says,”Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep in the affliction of these terrible dreams that shake us nightly. Better be with the dead, whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy” (Act III, Scene II). In the quote above Macbeth is explaining how he had killed Duncan in order to live the life he once hoped to live, but all it has done is left him with nightmares and voices in his head causing him to experience mental torture. These incidents are a step closer to a downfall bigger than anyone could imagine. When Macbeth soon realizes that the prophecy states that Banquo’s children are next in line for the crown he takes it into his own hands. His overpowering confidence leads him to believe that the only way to destroy this promise to Banquo from the witches is to kill him and his sons. Macbeth hires three men to go and murder Banquo and his son before they arrive at his house for a feast that night. While the murders are committing the unthinkable something extremely bad happens; Banquo’s son escapes. When Macbeth learns of this news he is furious and can’t believe what he had just heard. He then remembers of his quests waiting on him in the dining room for the feast. When he arrives he notices that someone else hasn’t shown, Macduff. After hearing about all the unbearable news that keeps occurring he goes to the three witches for an explanation. When Macbeth asks for a reinsurance, the witches bring him another prophecy that involves 3 apparitions. The three apparitions then inform him that, “ First Apparition. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife” (Act IV, Scene 1). “Second Apparition. Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn The pow’r of man, for none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth” (Act IV, Scene 1). “Third Apparition. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him” (Act IV, Scene 1). This prophecy said that he should fear Macduff, that no one born of a woman could hurt him, and that he couldn’t be defeated until the Birnam Woods moves to Dunsinane Hill. Macbeth’s confidence beams up when hearing this prophecy because he believes there isn’t any realistic way that he could be defeated. A few days later Lennox informs him that Macduff has fled the country and formed an army to fight against Macbeth and regain the Scottish throne. This announcement given by Lennox makes Macbeth lash out and hire murderers to hunt down and kill Macduff’s wife and kids for his betrayal. This last brutal crime Macbeth does is his climax to his great downfall. He brutally kills innocent people for the wrong doing of someone they can’t control. These events have shown the impact on how the prophecy has led him to an overbearing confidence level that leads to many tragedies in many people's lives.

Novel Connection: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince By: J.K. Rowling

The novel I have chosen that best relates to what I believe was the downfall of Macbeth is, "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince". I have chosen this because in the book there is a prophecy given to Harry Potter by his professor through tea leaves that predict the future. The prophecy given is called "The Grin" it states that he will suffer and be happy at the same time. Also, stating that in order for Voldemort to die Harry must die, too. This prophecy to Harry makes him feel like he has a huge burden knowing he has to die but eventually accepts it. This is strongly related to the prophecy given to Macbeth because the only way possible for him to become king would be to kill the King. In the end both novels strongly resemble each other by the prophecies.

The Seventh Sign

The movie I chose that best relates to what I believe was the downfall of Macbeth is, "The Seventh Sign". The reason I chose this movie to resemble the book "Macbeth" is because in the movie there is a prophecy like concept that involves the bible. The concept are seven signs that are eventually going to happen which ends in a huge tragedy, the end of the world. These seven signs were all sited in the bible and become true throughout the whole movie. This prophecy like concept doesn't just affect one person, but millions of people. When people start noticing these signs occurring they begin to freak out and try to find an end to this prophecy. Although there are differences between the reactions towards the prophecies they both end in some shape or form of a downfall.