Macbeth And Responsibility Essay

1535 words - 6 pages

Macbeth's journey from hero to villain was all of his own doing. Only he can take responsibility for it. Discuss.One of the main keys to achieving a successful life is often taught to be the development of a strong ambition to achieve your aspirations. However, the very well-known playwright William Shakespeare's famous play Macbeth conveys a completely different view point on the topic of ambition. There are often many conflicting opinions regarding whether or not William Shakespeare's tragic hero Macbeth was fully responsible for his own downfall. It is often argued that he was simply falling victim to the evil nature of characters such as his wife and the three weird sisters in the play. However, these characters were merely messengers who informed him about the quick yet foul path that he could take in order to reach the destinations of his ambitions. There were other characters that showed to both the audience and Macbeth that the long but fair road to Macbeth's goal was always available to him. It was ultimately Macbeth's own "vaulting" ambition and lust for power that led him to choose the foul path rather than the fair one. Only he should be held responsible for the series of choices that led him from his triumph to decline.The three witches, often referred to as the weird sisters in Macbeth are often seen as the antagonists of the play who's often considered responsible for the turn of events that lead the story to its tragic end. It's easy to cast them off as the notorious women that incited evil inside of Macbeth, but further analysis of their actions reveal that they were simply manipulating the potential for lust and unrestrained ambition that already existed inside of Macbeth. Macbeth is fully responsible for the conclusion he comes to after hearing the witches' prophecy and therefore it is he who's responsible for his journey to villain hood from there on. This is evident from his very first encounter with the witches. After the witches revealed their prophecies to Macbeth and Banquo, Banquo noticed him "start" and look "rapt". In contrast to Macbeth's reaction, Banquo simply dismisses the prophecies by joking about them perhaps being hallucinations brought about by the ingestion of some "insane root". Later on when the weird sisters' prophecy of him becoming the Thane of Cawdor is proven to be true, he expects the "greatest" which is "behind". Banquo on the other hand warns him that the witches should not be "trusted home" as they are "instruments of darkness" that are inclined to "win [them] with honest trifles, to betray [them] in deepest consequence". Banquo clearly reminds him of the option of ignoring the witches' prophecies. While the witches never once mentioned murder of any kind, Macbeth reacted by thinking to himself of extreme measure "Whose horrid image" "unfix[ed] [his] hair and [made] his seated heart knock at [his ribs]; the thought of murdering Duncan. The contrasting reactions of Macbeth and Banquo displays two...

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