What points can I write about in regards to Macbeth's downfall for an essay?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth is not respected by his subordinates or by the Scottish people, because they all know he is a murderer, a traitor, and an usurper. He cannot rule by being loved, as did Duncan, so he ends up trying to rule by force and fear. Macbeth is a good warrior but not a good ruler. This leads to chaotic conditions in Scotland, and it is the chaotic conditions that cause his downfall. These conditions are described by Ross when he goes to see Malcolm and Macduff in England.

Alas, poor country,
Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Be call'd our mother, but our grave. Where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air,
Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy. The dead man's knell
Is there scarce ask'd for who, and good men's lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.

Macbeth's downfall is caused by the army sent to Scotland by the English king. He would not have sent the army unless he felt that his own country might suffer from the conditions described by Ross. Such conditions might lead to disruption of trade between the two countries, to an unmanageable influx of refugees from Scotland, to hostilities between Scotland and England, or to incursions by desperate homeless men who had formed into bands of killers and plunderers. 

 

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Macbeth

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