Is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall?


Macbeth is responsible for his own downfall. In the end he committed the murder, no one had a knife to his throat forcing him, he did it out of his own free will. However it is very clear that other people influenced him into continuing. These people were mainly the witches and Lady Macbeth. The witches lay temptation in the way of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth used Macbeth\'s weaknesses to bully him into doing what she wished. The way in which the witches and Lady Macbeth are alike is that both used Macbeth\'s weaknesses to force him into doing what they desire. These weaknesses are his greed, ambition and vanity.


Although we know that Macbeth\'s fall from grace was by his own decisions, there were no spells cast and he was not forced physically into doing it, the only real reason he did it is because of his extreme need or want to be great.


The witches certainly did not help matters with their trickery but they cannot be primarily blamed, as they cast no spell that would force Macbeth into committing the murder. It could be argued though that if Macbeth just rode right by and did not listen to the witches then he would not have been encouraged into thinking of his murderous thoughts. Once again Macbeth and only Macbeth could have changed this, making Macbeth more and more guilty of his own downfall.


Because Macbeth is an ambitious character he bares what the witches said in mind. So when he becomes the Thane of Cawdor (The second name of which the witches referred to him as), his ambition kicks in and for the first time he thinks that it may just be possible for him to become king. At this moment Banquo realises how this new title has affected Macbeth and so he tells him:


"…oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray\'s in deepest consequence."


Basically Banquo is saying that often, to bring about our own damnation, the agents of evil will tell us truths, so that we put our trust in them; then they deceive us into doing wrongful things.


After reviewing what the witches have and haven\'t done, it is clear to me that although they are guilty of setting temptation in the mind of Macbeth, there was no witchcraft, no spells cast and they forced nothing upon him, so in this case Macbeth is the only guilty party. Macbeth committed the murder alone by himself; the only real reasons were his weaknesses, his greed, vanity and ambition, these things all helped him pursue the murder of King Duncan.


Just like the witches, Lady Macbeth used Macbeth\'s weaknesses against him. She forced him mentally; she provoked and insulted him. She would have done anything to get her own way. The part that really was the last straw and gave Macbeth one of the final pushes in the direction of the murder was this:


"Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place did then adhere, and yet you make both: they have made themselves, and their fitness now does unmake you."


Lady Macbeth is saying that when Macbeth firstly suggested the murder he was a man because neither the time nor the place was suitable yet he still spoke of it, but now when the time and place are perfect he is afraid and so unmakes him a man. This really hurts him mainly because of who has said it to him. It is clear that Macbeth loves Lady Macbeth deeply, and so when he hears her say that he is no longer a man he decides swiftly that if this how he will prove to her that he is still a man then so be it.


Basically once again Macbeth decided, on his own to continue with the murder. Although Lady Macbeth did bully him into continuing, he in the end still had to say yes, besides she used no physical means to do so. She just manipulated him working mainly with his weaknesses, weakening him into doing what she wanted and continuing on his murderous path.


The witches and Lady Macbeth were not the only help given to Macbeth\'s