The Downfall of Macbeth

4 April 2015
An analysis of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth with an examination of the reasons for his demise.

This paper discusses Shakespeare’s use of Macbeth to illustrate the universal theme that a lack of strength of character will lead to one’s downfall. Macbeth’s actions and the motivations behind them are demonstrated with examples from the story and text.
“Many a great man has fallen prey to greed, ambition and power. Macbeth is no exception. His ambition to control the power of the thrown confuses his judgment. He succumbs first to the prophecies of the three witches and then later, murderously, to his wife’s bidding.
Shakespeare uses Macbeth to show the terrible effects that ambition and guilt can have on a man who lacks strength of character. Although the play was written in 1600 England, its theme is universal and cares not about time. It is Macbeth’s lack of character strength that is his demise.

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The reader is introduced to Macbeth by way of description. A “bleeding sergeant” meets the good King Duncan and his son, Malcolm. The sergeant tells a tale of the recent battle in which “brave Macbeth” fought bravely (I.ii.19). At first introduction, Macbeth seems to be the perfect soldier, “carving out his passage” (I.ii.22). Between meeting the witches and his wife’s immoral determination, we are left wondering if Macbeth ever really stood a chance against fate. Perhaps had he not started his crime wave, he might not have ended so horribly and would not have become the tyrannt everyone calls him by the end of the play.”

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