There are three major influences in the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare. The three major influences are the witches, Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth but only one of them is responsible for the downfall of Macbeth. At first it would appear that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s marriage is an equal partnership. But as the play continues it is evident that Lady Macbeth was the dominant of the two characters, she could have persuaded Macbeth to do anything if she so wished. And though she does not openly exercise her power over him in public, in private she often uses humiliation and emotional bribery to manipulate Macbeth to execute her will.
Lady Macbeth is not a typical woman of Shakespearean time in this play. In that time a woman would just be at home cooking, cleaning and looking after the children. They wouldn”t have an active role in public life. However Shakespeare has created Lady Macbeth as untraditional. She talks to Macbeth about his problems, insults him, doubts his honor and courage. A woman might have been badly beaten for saying something like it but Shakespeare has made Macbeth tolerate that and it has great effects on him.
Because of Lady Macbeths influence it can be argued that Lady Macbeth is responsible for Macbeth’s downfall. Her actions certainly help him decide on his deeds. Lady Macbeth’s relationship with Macbeth goes deeper then that of the witches. The witches act only as a trigger to start the events in the play and Lady Macbeth herself is the driving force behind Macbeth’s actions. Macbeth takes actions that lead to his downfall. Although he takes the actions, he would not have done this if the witches had not told him that he would be king in Act I Scene III.
The witches introduce Macbeths’s fate. At the beginning of the play they plan to meet with Macbeth and they say Fair is foul, and foul is fair. This line shows foreshadowing; it makes the audience know that something unfair and evil will occur. Macbeth’s goal was not to become king until the witches made him believe it was his destiny. In the play, Macbeths destiny was paved out by the witches. Destiny is not something that can be changed. A person has control of his/her destiny. Macbeth’s destiny was suggested by the witches, he listened to their suggestions and followed them.
In Act I, Scene III, the witches tell Macbeth that he is Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and that he shalt be king hereafter. Immediately after hearing the witches prophecies that he will be king, Macbeth thinks that he must kill the current king to become king himself. If the witches had not met Macbeth, he would not have become king. His ambition grew more after they told him he would become king of Scotland. The witches seem to have been planning on meeting him because they knew he was going to the impossible in order to become king.
If the witches had never met Macbeth, he would remain being Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth would have continued to be loyal and would have not betrayed God, the King, Scotland and himself. Macbeth would not have acted paranoid and see his life as an empty meaningless charade. Macbeths character changes throughout the play. At the start he is a war hero “brave Macbeth” who has defeated the enemy. He becomes greedy and wants power. His doubts come into his mind about whether he should kill Duncan and after that he becomes obsessed with the prophesies and wanting to wipe out anyone that doubts him as king.
At the beginning of the play Macbeth is introduced as the conquering hero who has just defeated the enemy. Also at the end he is shown as a warrior who has died in battle. This is when Macduff kills him. In a way he is sort of a tragic hero because he was a hero at the start but power hungry his greed got the better of him and this was quite tragic. His meeting with the witches make him consider himself as king. Before his encounter and during it he was surprised by their prophecies and intrigued after that.
He begins to ponder the idea of being king while Banquo dismisses the witches. Lady Macbeth influence on him is big, that it has a subconscious effect on Macbeth. When Macbeth begins to ponder and lose faith in the idea of killing the king, she redirects him back onto the path of killing Duncan. I also think Shakespeare was also showing that Macbeth tolerated her and they must have loved each other very much. However that love deteriorated as the play went on because Macbeth didn”t involve her in the murders of Banquo and Macduff’s family.
Before the murder of Duncan Shakespeare makes Macbeth doubt whether he should kill Duncan or not. When he says things like “I am his kinsman” “he hath borne his faculties so meek” and “so clear in his great office” he is saying what a good man Duncan is and how he is meant to be loyal to him. But he says it is only his “vaulting ambition” that is driving him on. Then when he asks Lady Macbeth if Duncan has asked for him ,he says “we will proceed no further” but Lady Macbeth asks Duncan if he is “afeard” or if “art in desire” of his to kill Duncan.
Macbeth at this point must have been swinging either side of if he should kill Duncan. When Lady Macbeth ask him “live a coward in thine own esteem” I think he gets very annoyed this is shown by his reaction “I dare do all that may become a man” and after Lady Macbeth’s has said that she has “given suck” and it would make Macbeth “more than what he is” if he killed Duncan. This is where he changes his mind. Macduff joins forces with Duncan’s son Malcolm and the English to go and defeat Macbeth and give the Scottish throne to the rightful king.
Macbeth was killed at the end of a play by ” a man not born of woman” (Macduff) just as the witches” prophesised. The person who is mostly responsible for Macbeth’s downfall is Macbeth. Banquo, a good man wasn”t influenced or believed in any of the witches but Macbeth however did. There had to be some desire to be king inside him that would make him kill. All the witches and Lady Macbeth did was coach him and make him realise his true potential. Even the witches didn”t do that they just said he would be king and not how he was going to become king. He decided his own course of action.