Macbeth Is Responsible For His Own Destruction

899 words - 4 pages

In accordance with the Aristotelian tragedy, the hamartia of the character Macbeth is undeniably through his own flaw. William Shakespeare, in his play Macbeth, historically portrays the nobility of the protagonist and his gradual descent into an ambitious fiend whose disregard for the great chain of being cost him his honour, wife and status. Through his interference with fate, succumbing to the voice of his wife rather than reason and ambition are the catalysts for his fall from grace.
An interference with fate and destiny is sure to cause chaos. Macbeth’s greatness as a soldier is met with surprise when he is greeted as, ‘thane of Cawdor,’ which he receives with much pleasure. However, he notes that the witches first prophesy, ‘All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!’ has in fact been realised which Banquo also sees as he exclaims, ‘what ,the devil speaks, ‘ alluding to the witches’ prophesy. The seed of doubt is planted here as he begins to take the prophesies seriously. The final prophesy, ‘thou shalt be king hereafter,’ foreshadows Macbeth’s slow downfall as he becomes ambitious. According to the cultural beliefs of the Elizabethan times, a violation of the historic set-up of the chain of being is sure to lead to one’s death. While the blame for Macbeth’s downfall is through his own demise, it is also evident that Lady Macbeth’s desire to be queen also contributed to Macbeth’s hamartia.

The letter that Macbeth sends to his wife is full of his victories but mainly about the witches who, ‘met (him) in the day of success,’ making their predictions and when he wanted to know more, they, ‘made themselves air, into which they vanished.’ Lady Macbeth is now fuelled with ambition as she plots regicide being informed that this opportunity presents itself when the messenger says, 'The king comes here to-night. Lady Macbeth‘s desire to succumb to evil ways is contrary to the perception of women in the Elizabethan times. She has to therefore instil in her the toughness of a male as she calls upon the evil forces to, ‘fill (her) from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty!’ She is fired up with passion as she calls out to the (quote) ‘spirits that tend on mortal thoughts’ to ‘unsex’ her meaning that she wanted to shed her femininity and be more of a man. The pun in the word ‘crown’ is effective in foreshadowing her new status of queen. Such is the nature of her greed and ambition that she calls upon the forces of nature in its darkest form in the personification, (quote) ‘Come, thick night,’ so that she can be full of evil and...

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