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Who is responsible for Macbeth's downfall?Also, I need three sub topics and 3 examples...

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yusufiqbal | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 27, 2011 at 9:13 AM via web

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Who is responsible for Macbeth's downfall?

Also, I need three sub topics and 3 examples to support each sub topic.

Tagged with discussion, literature, macbeth

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM (Answer #2)

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According to the site rules, teachers are permitted to answer one question per post.  The original question is a debatable one.  Some might say the Lady Macbeth is responsible for General Macbeth's downfall.  Ultimately, each human is responsible for his or her own actions.  It is true that Lady Macbeth originally came up with the plan to kill the king, but it is also true that Macbeth was selfish and greedy. If he had been patient he would have learned that he had already been promoted to Dane. His wife did encourage him to commit murder, but she did not force him to choose his path.  The three witches could also be considered a partially responsible for Macbeth's downfall because they gave him the prophecy.

Macbeth killed Duncan and then tried to frame the king's guards for the murder. However Macbeth did not stop there he continued his downfall and has no one to blame but himself.

"Macbeth commits a trio of heinous crimes in the course of the play: the regicide of Duncan, the murder of his closest friend, Banquo (and attempted murder of Fleance), and the wanton slaughter of innocents in the persons of Macduff's wife and child."

Shakespeare's message is of course one that forces mankind to look in the mirror and accept responsibility

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 30, 2011 at 2:31 PM (Answer #3)

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I agree that Macbeth is ultimately to blame for his own downfall.  Some people might blame the witches.  They might say that the witches put thoughts into Macbeth's head that would never have occurred to him had it not been for them.  Even if this is true, it's still Macbeth's responsibility.  The witches may have introduced the idea of kingship to him, but they didn't force him to pursue it the way he did.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 4, 2011 at 4:32 AM (Answer #4)

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Like the other postings state, Macbeth is ultimately responsible for his own downfall.  That being said, Macbeth did not act without being influenced.  First, the witches influenced Macbeth.  Their prophecy spoke of his becoming king.  Second, Lady Macbeth was also influential over Macbeth's downfall.  Once she heard about the prophecy, she knew that she would benefit from it coming true.  Her actions and attitude highly influenced Macbeth's.  Lastly, (and perhaps most controversially) Banquo could be found influential.  He heard the witches' prophecy and knows that Macbeth must become king so that his own children will.

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trishandra | Student , Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted August 27, 2012 at 5:41 PM (Answer #6)

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i agree that it is partly Macbeth's decision as to whether he should fulfill the witch's prophecies or not. i believe that he was strongly influenced by his wife, Lady Macbeth as there are times in the drama where she actually questions Macbeth's manhood and courage when he felt that what the witchs' had prophecised for him would damn his soul and that he should resist the temptation to fulfill the witchs' prophecised ambition for him.

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