The Mack

October 17, 2018 English Literature

English LiteraturePeriod 2Macbeth’s DownfallorThe Downfall of MacbethOne of the most hotly debated questions in English literature is: What was the primary cause of Macbeth’s downfall? In my view, the primary cause of Macbeth’s downfall was his wife, Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth caused Macbeth’s downfall by her own ambition to be the queen of Scotland and by her constant belittling of her husband. The main reason for Macbeth’s downfall was Lady Macbeth’s ambition to be Queen of Scotland. Lady Macbeth originally was like any normal woman, wanting to outdo the other noblewomen of Scotland. After Macbeth related the three weird sisters’ prophecies (that Macbeth would first be the Thane of Glamis, then the Thane of Cawdor, and finally the King of all Scotland) to Lady Macbeth, she started to aspire to becoming the queen of Scotland. She was already the Lady of Glamis, and then Cawdor, but she didn’t have enough patience to see the third prophecy come true on its own. Her ambition is shown beautifully in the following quote: “‘They met me in the day of success; and I have learned by the perfectest report, they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who all-hailed me ‘Thane of Cawdor’; by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.’ Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great; Art not with ambition, but without The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly That wouldst thou holily; would not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou’ldst have, great Glamis, That which cries, ‘Thus thou must do, if thou have it’; And that which rather thou dost fear to do Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear, And chastise with the valor of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have thee crowned withal” (Macbeth 1.5, 1-24). The quote shows Lady Macbeth’s glee in reading Macbeth’s letter about the three weird sisters’ prophecies and how the first two had already come true. Lady Macbeth knew that the third one would definitely come true, but she decided to speed things up a little bit because she knew that her husband didn’t have the will to do so. Lady Macbeth then planned the murder of good King Duncan of Scotland, framing the two guards in his chambers and blaming them for the foul deed. Macbeth then slew them after everyone else woke up, before the guards had a chance to deny that they killed Duncan. After that, Macbeth was chosen as the new King of Scotland because Duncan’s two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, fled to England and Ireland respectively. Macbeth then became a tyrant and killed many good people including Banquo (a fellow general in King Duncan’s army), young Siward (the son of the great English general who helped Malcolm in his quest to wrest the throne of Scotland from Macbeth’s clutches), and the wife and children of Macduff (a good man, soldier, and the Thane of Fife). Macbeth was then just fully beheaded by Macduff, and Malcolm became king. If Lady Macbeth had not been so ambitious, Macbeth and she would have lived comfortably as the rulers of Glamis, then Cawdor, and eventually as King and Queen of Scotland. However she did not have patience, was not satisfied with what she had, and caused Macbeth to change from a good, noble, and brave man into an evil, tyrannical, and despised king. Lady Macbeth’s constant belittling of her husband was another reason for Macbeth’s downfall. If Lady Macbeth had not kept on getting after Macbeth to


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