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Downfall of Macbeth The tragedy of Macbeth and his downfall as a person, is mainly derived from the fatal flaw

in his character; ambition. Shakespeare uses soliloquies, asides and various other dramatic techniques to depict this deterioration in Macbeths character and provide a deeper understanding of his thoughts and motives. Macbeth is strong physically, but mentally he is weak and does not have the capability to cope with the repercussions of his evil actions. This leads him to become a violent and relentless tyrant, whose insecurity leads to his death. The audience is first introduced to Macbeth; with the impression that he is a brave and loyal subject to his king, Duncan. He is referred to as, brave Macbeth, valiant cousin and worthy gentleman. Shakespeare adds emphasis to these traits through his imagery within Macbeths relation to Bellonas bridegroom; suggesting that he is worth of being groom to the Goddess of War. However these positive impressions later prove false, where appearance is not always reality, or fair is foul and foul is far. The witches, or weird sisters, who develop a strong association with evil and darkness, provide a prophecy to Macbeth that he will become Thane of Cawdor and later King. Almost immediately afterwards, Macbeth is respectively appointed Thane of Cawdor and later King Duncans son Malcolm is appointed Prince of Cumberland, heir to the throne. With this subtle intrigue and temptation of the witches, Shakespeare employs an aside to reveal Macbeths inner contemplation of murdering Duncan to obtain kingship. In this he questions, Why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, and later states, stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires. Shakespeare uses imagery of light and darkness, as in the previous quote, as reference to good and evil respectively. This aside portrays Macbeths strong ambition to become king and also denotes his strong moral conscience and negligence to commit such an atrocity. The struggle between Macbeths conscience and evil instincts continue; as he further contemplates the murder in a soliloquy. The soliloquy proves very effective in opening the audience to ideas that Macbeth does not express with other around him. Macbeth acknowledges that he is Duncans kinsman, subject and host; and therefore murdering him would break all the rules of natural order and human decency. He also acknowledges that the only force driving him in this evil deed is his vaulting ambition which oerleaps itself and falls on thother. In Elizabethan English, ambition denotes an aspiration for power, but connotes always that this aspiration is evil. This is very true for Macbeth; and this evil becomes a profound trait associated with him as a character. With this inner ambition it took only the manipulation and persuasion of Lady Macbeth to turn his thoughts into action. Lady Macbeth is strong where Macbeth is weak, in singleness of will and tenacity of purpose. She believes Macbeth is too full othmilk of human kindness to commit the murder, which she believes he deeply aspires and wishes to assist him in achieving. Lady Macbeth, who calls upon evil spirits to unsex her and fill her with direst cruelty; seems the stronger of the two at this point in the play, but their roles eventually change as she is affected to a greater extent by the guilt and repercussions that coincide with their actions. Macbeth finally decides to partake in the murder; however, this was largely due to the intrigue of the witches and persuasion of Lady Macbeth. This step in his tyrannical journey can be seen as the seed from which all his other crimes were to spring. Macbeths strong imagination can be seen as a representation of the guilt he faces and corruption of his conscience. Shakespeare uses this frequent imagery of his strong imagination to display his mental weakness and trauma. Prior to

the murder he is led by a fatal vision of dagger to Duncan; and immediately afterwards he thinks he hears a voice cry Macbeth shall sleep no more. Lady Macbeth on the other hand states after Duncans murder, These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so, it will make us mad. She does so; and for the first half of the play stays strong and unaffected by guilt. Macbeth however, thinks deeply and rationally about these deeds, stating, these terrible dreams that shake us nightly. We begin to encounter his insecurity and paranoia which take over his ambition and downfall, as he is not satisfied being king, stating to be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. Macbeth now sets out to murder all those who threaten his title. This change from ambition to insecurity represents a step in the degeneration of him as a person. His hesitance to murder and strong conscience begins to fade; as he abruptly kills the guards whom he set up, ostensibly out of rage. He establishes that, for mine own good, all causes shall give way. Displaying an increase in egotism and selfmindedness that he lacked at the beginning of the play. Shakespeare implements another soliloquy to again provide an insight into Macbeths thoughts; this time, of Banquo. Macbeths fears in Banquo stick deep, as Banquos sons are prophesised to become Kings and he believes that Macbeth has playdst most foully in his triumph as King. Macbeth hires two murderers to now kill his loyal friend Banquo; this time with little contemplation or thought. You can clearly see his conscience is being deteriorated as his ambition has taken over and his insecurities have become the central motive behind his action. Macbeth now expresses no remorse; however is still, with his wife now too, plagued by guilt and horrible thoughts. Macbeth states I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as goer. Although he is troubled by the ghost of Banquo; at a banquet that he hosted; nothing stops him as he orders the murder of Macduffs wife, children and servants, upon his flee to join Malcolm and the English. Macbeth states, From this moment the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand. This statement is highly symbolic of his change in character, as he now does not contemplate and thing of his actions; and instead acts immediately as he feels. Macbeth become more associated with evil and darkness as he cannot buckle his distempered cause within the belt of rule and his mind is full of scorpions. He seeks the witches again; who have been only ever associated with misfortune and negativity. He does so due to his insecurity, brought about by his ambition. He is given three apparitions: to fear Macduff, that no one born of woman shall harm him and that he will never be vanquished until Great Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane hill. His belief in his invincibility due to these prophesies eventually leads to his death. Macbeth becomes increasingly alone at this point in the play. With his increase in power and downfall as a conscientious general to a cruel tryant; his strong bond with his wife deteriorates, alongside his bond with his fellow Scottish population. Those he commands, move only in command, Nothing in love; and many have fled to England to join the conspiracy moving towards Scotland to abolish Macbeths kingship and proclaim Malcolm, the rightful heir to the throne. Lady Macbeth is faced with the severe guilt and trauma of her past crimes and involvement in Macbeths tyranny leads her to be plagued with horrible nightmares; where she tries to rub imaginary blood off her hands, screaming Out, damned spot!. Imagery of blood is implemented by Shakespeare as a means of denoting the guilt and trauma that sticks with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after their horrid actions. Macbeth and Lady Macbeths separation increases; and eventually she is withdraws and is driven to commit suicide. Macbeth has almost forgot the taste of fears that once were a major character trait. Within his personality, good things of day begin to droop and drowse, while nights black agents to their preys do rouse. Sunk in a deep pessimism, he barely acknowledges the death of his dear partner in greatness; having realised how noughts had, alls spent and his entire tyrannical

journey has proved detrimental. Shakespeare concludes Macbeths downfall as a character with a soliloquy, to display the extent of his pessimism. Macbeth comments on the futility and insignificance of life as he states, It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. This displays that his ambition, the fatal flaw in his character, has led him to commit a number of horrid deeds that in turn came back to deteriorate him as a person and eventually lead to his death. Although Macbeth is aware that Birnam Wood has come to Dunsinane hill and that Macduff was born of caesarean section; he continues to fight. Macbeth ends his life as the play began; a heroic warrior on the battlefield. He is killed, and the disorder brought about by his tyranny is restored by Malcolms order associated with his rightful claim to the throne and graceful nature. You can clearly see that Macbeths ambition led to his downfall as a character and death. Shakespeare effectively uses dramatic techniques, namely soliloquys, asides and imagery to help portray this downfall and provide a deeper understanding of Macbeths emotions and motives throughout the play.