What are two quotes from Macbeth that show how Macbeth's actions led to his downfall?

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lusie0520 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth is his own worst enemy.  A really good example of this is after he kills King Duncan, and instead of sticking to the plan, he kills the guards.  “Oh yet I do repent me of my fury/that I did kill them!” (Act 2/sc 3, line 107)  Macbeth panics, thinking that leaving the guards alive will somehow come back to haunt him.  In reality, this is the moment when his friends first start to suspect him.  Eventually, their suspicions are confirmed and they rebel against him.

Another example of Macbeth’s actions leading to his downfall is the decision he makes to kill Banquo.  Banquo is his best friend and the only person to have witnessed the predictions made by the witches.  Once Macbeth and Lady Macbeth carry out their plan, Macbeth begins to think that Banquo’s honorable nature will prevent his friend from supporting him as king.  “Our fears in Banquo stick deep/And in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared.” (Act 3, Sc. 1, lines 49-51)  At the end of this important soliloquy, he has decided to kill his friend. “Rather than so, come, fate, into the list, and champion me to th’ utterance” (lines 71-72).  The reader can perhaps understand his ambition leading him to kill Duncan, but the murder of his best friend is much harder to justify.  His inability to try to protect himself and his crown at any cost is what leads to his downfall in the end.

edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In act V, scene V, Macbeth learns that it appears that Birnam Wood is actually moving toward his stronghold at Dunsinane.  It is Scottish rebels and the English army advancing on his position.  Macbeth says, " Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come wrack!/At least we'll die with harness on our back." He recognizes that the prophecies that he thought offered him protection were actually not protection at all.  Malcolm has come with Siward's army to reclaim the throne that Macbeth stole from him.  Malcolm's efforts to avenge his father's murder and reclaim his title are the direct result of Macbeth's earlier crimes.  In Macbeth's distorted way of thinking, he indicates that "at least" his death in battle will somehow be a consolation.

In act V, scene VIII, when Macbeth and Macduff face off for the final battle, Macbeth, at first, does not want to fight Macduff. He says, "Of all men else I have avoided thee/But get thee back; my soul is too much charged/with blood of thine already." Once Macbeth understands that the circumstances of Macduff's birth exclude him from another of the Weird Sisters' "protective" prophecies, he understands that Macduff has every reason to kill him since Macbeth arranged for the murder of Macduff's family.