In William Shakespeares Macbeth, the main character, Macbeth, is a brave and loyal subject to the King of Scotland, but as the play progresses, his character begins to change drastically. Evil and unnatural powers, as well as his own passion to become king, take over his better half and eventually lead to his downfall. The three main factors that intertwine with one another that contribute to Macbeths tragic end are the prophecies told by the three witches, Lady Macbeths influence, and finally, Macbeths excessive passion and ambition which drove his desire to become king to the utmost extreme. The prophecy told by the three witches was what triggers the other factors that contribute to Macbeth s downfall. In the first act, the witches tell Macbeth that he is to become the Thane of Cawdor and soon after, king. This prophecy arouses Macbeths curiosity of how he can become the King of Scotland. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more: By Sinels death I know I am Thane of Glamis; But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives, a prosperous gentleman; and to be king stands not within the prospect of belief. (Act I. sc.III) This quote shows how the witches prophecy attracts Macbeth. It demonstrated how Macbeth thirsts for an answer from the witches of how is he to become the Thane of Cawdor and even king. As the play continues, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches prophecies. It becomes a remedy for Macbeths curiosity, which corrupts his character. One of the witches prophecies becomes true when King Duncan names Macbeth the Thane of Cawdor. At this point, Macbeth seeks advice from his wife, Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth provides a scheme for Macbeth to assassinate the King. She is manipulative and persuasive in corrupting Macbeth s judgement. What beast wast then that you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man; And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man. (Act I. Sc.VII) In this quote, Lady Macbeth is agitating Macbeth by saying he is not a man if he does not do what he says he is going to do, which is to murder the king of course. This angers Macbeth and enables him to follow Lady Macbeths scheme to kill the King easier. Macbeths first murder is definitely a trying experience for him. However, as the play progresses, killing seems easy and the only solution to maintain his reign of the people of Scotland. Macbeth becomes increasingly ambitious as the play goes on. The witches prophecies and Lady Macbeths influence intensifies his ambition and drives Macbeth to obtain and maintain his title of Scotland by whatever means, even murdering his best friend, Banquo. Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, …no son of mine succeeding. Ift be so, for Banquos issue have I filed my mind; For them the gracious Duncan I have murderd; …To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings! (Act III. sc.I) At this point Macbeths passion becomes more and more extreme to the point where no one stands in his way. His greed, violence, and hunger for power drastically declines his character. The witches prophecy, Lady Macbeths influence, and Macbeths own ambition all contribute greatly to his deterioration of character which results in his downfall, which was death. All the causes link to one another. If it wasnt for Macbeths strong will and passion, Macbeth would still be his ordinary self. Because of this, Macbeths curiosity of possibly becoming king was brought out which led to Lady Macbeths controlling influence. Macbeths ambition then builds and causes him to commit a series of murders, one of which, includes his own best friend. If one of these factors were missing, Macbeth would not have been strong enough to carry the motive to kill King Duncan, which ultimately leads to his destruction.
By: Jake Ascher