Responsibility for the Tragedy
In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of Macbeth the main character Macbeth is driven from his status as a well respected warrior and lord of not one, but two Scottish regions to a dishonest, unloyal murderer. Macbeth gets caught in a web of lies and vile acts of murder in which he brings about his own demise. His criminal actions lead up to his tragic ending of life. ‘ They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, But bearlike I must fight the course.’ His great ambition and gullibility of the witches predictions are two of the biggest factors of his downfall;however, Lady Macbeth was probably the biggest influence in the whole tragedy.
Early in the tragedy, Macbeth is portrayed as a great leader and hero of many. He was a wonderful soldier who not only for for his country but for his King. During the course of the play though, Macbeth was greatly influenced by the supernatural forces of the witches. ‘ All hail, Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter!’ These witches led him to believe that he could be a King over all of Scotland if he would just do a few dishonest things to get what he wanted. ‘If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me, without my stir.’ Macbeth was gullible enough to believe the witches and thus led to his very own deception and demise. He brought himself to an even greater status than he began with but only through a gigantic web of lies which could not be untangled. He then felt lost and alone with nobody left to turn to. ‘ Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.’
However Macbeth was not the only influence in this great tragedy. Lady Macbeth played a large role as Macbeth’s seductress and brainwasher. Lady Macbeth persuaded her husband to kill the King not so that he would himself be King but so that she could be Queen.Although because of her involvement in this web of lies she felt guilty and drove herself insane worrying about what had happened and what would happen to her and her husband for being so dishonest. She was not responsible for the tragedy, she was only a manipulative factor in the scheme of things. Even though it does take two to tango, Macbeth tangoed on his own.
After the death of Duncan Macbeth begins to work on his own without the help of his wife. He plans the murders of Banquo and the heir to the throne, Banquo’s son Fleance. Although it does not turn out as expected Macbeth remains calm until Banquo’s ghost appears. ‘… and keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, when mine is blanched with fear.’ This was the turning point in the whole story because until this point everything was going great for Macbeth, he had power, fame and fortune, all you could ever want;however, when this ghost appeared Macbeth went on a little insanity trip. He, also like his wife was engulfed with guilt and unable to function properly anymore. This led to another visit with the witches. Showing his overconfidence, Macbeth believed the three apparitions shown to him by the witches and was then extremely calm. He felt that no man could ever harm him thus he had nothing to worry about. ‘ Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?’
Macbeth’s downfall continues still. He plans the murder of every member of the Macduff clan, even the scottie dog, in hopes that it will bring Macduff back to Scotland for one final duel with Macbeth. Macbeth feels that he is invincible and cannot be harmed by anyone in Scotland; however, Macduff brings reinforcement from England in order to scare Macbeth. Macbeth begins his demise as he is filled with depression and regrets, especially over the death of his wife who killed herself after a brief battle with insanity.
At the conclusion of the tragedy Macbeth is defeated by Macduff, a man not of woman born but one delivered by a caesarean section just like the witches had prophetised with the second apparition. His ambition is crushed and he is portrayed as a dead butcher because he killed so many people to get where he was but he never achieved exactly the status that he had hoped for.
Macbeth killed Macbeth. He brought everything upon himself and deserved everything he received. He could blame it on his wife or on the witches but that just would not be justifiable because he did not have to listen to any of them. He killed everyone who in the beginning were his loved ones and did not show any guilt or remorse for doing it. Is that a hero? No. A hero is a man of exceptional quality who wins admiration by his noble deeds. Once again, Macbeth killed Macbeth. He tangoed alone this time.