Who is more to blame for Macbeth's downfall: Macbeth or Lady MacbethNeed a nice thesis for an essay of William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The French pilot who became the famous author of The Prince, Antoine Saint-Exupery, wrote, "etre homme, etre reponsable." {To be man is to be responsible].  That is, man himself must be responsible for his own existence.  In one of his soliloquies, Macbeth admits to this axiom of St. Exupery within himself when he reflects upon his desire to give credence to the predictions of the three sisters. As he struggles with his conscience which recognizes the evil in his consideration of murdering Duncan, his kinsman and his king who possesses virtues, Macbeth, instead, gives way to his "Vaulting ambition, which o'erleap itself/And falls on th'other--" (1.7.27-28)

And, yet, he still has some misgivings; for these, Lady Macbeth chides him,

...Art thou afeard

To be the same in think own act and valor

As thou art in desire? Woulds thou have that

Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,

And live a coward in think own esteem,

Letting "I dare not " wait upon "I would,"

Like the poor cat in' th' adage? (1.7.43-49)

While Lady Macbeth embarrasses Macbeth in questioning his bravery and manhood, she does encourage him to commit the heinous acts he does.  However, as a man with his own conscience, Macbeth is ultimately responsible for his own actions, and, by his own admission, his "vaulting ambition" overrides his conscience.  Even his wife points this out when she says, "Are you afraid to be the same man that you wished to be?" in lines 43-44.