The Downfall of Macbeth

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The downfall of Macbeth is most often attributed to either his own ambitions run amok or the influence of his wife's Machiavellian manipulations. The husband and wife work in tandem to bring about the prophecies of the Weird Sisters, and is Macbeth's hand that does the greater evil deed against Duncan and the only evil against Banqo and MacDuff's family members; in essence the rise of the Macbeths to power is one of shared responsibility.


The belief in prophecy is particularly important in gaining a foothold on understanding the downfall of Macbeth and his Lady. When Macbeth first comes upon the Weird Sister and they roll out the prophecies for both Macbeth and Banquo, and by extension Duncan and his family, more is going on than just a foretelling of the future. The prophecies instill in Macbeth the realization of his dreams, of course, but they also portend that the darkest fears of Macbeth will be realized alongside his dreams (Van Doren, Lehman 216). Without Macbeth's unquestioned belief in the occult and acceptance that the Weird Sisters have the power of prophecy, there would be neither a rise nor a fall. If the rise of Macbeth to king can be said to be a combination of belief in the Sisters and the manipulation of his wife, his fall comes about as the result of a fatal mistake on his part: mistakenly believing that he has the power to deny the future as foretold.
Macbeth fervently believes in the power of the occult, yet he does not accept his role as mere recipient of the power of fates beyond his control. ...
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