Is everyone defeated or brought down from power at some time? Often, in a tragedy or drama, the main hero experiences a downfall. However, just as the downfall of a tragic hero varies, so do the causes of this downfall. Throughout the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, many factors contributed to the downfall of Macbeth such as fate, errors in his judgment, and the main factor being flaws in his character.
Among the causes of Macbeths fall from power and grace, fate was the least important and influential. However, fate did have quite an impact on why Macbeth was brought down. For instance, Macbeth relied too heavily upon the prophecies of the Werd Sisters, and took everything they said for granted. When the Werd Sisters would give Macbeth their different predictions for what would happen, he would believe them and would take no actions of his own to ensure his own safety or well-being. Macbeth believed that what was predicted would happen and he would be prosperous and safe as king without any effort on his part. He also relied completely on the witches to tell him of his future. This specific point was illustrated when he said, Stay you imperfect speakers. Tell me more (I, iii, l. 73). Yet another example of how Macbeth heavily relied on fate was when he was visited with the visions of the armed head, the bloody child, and the crowned child with a tree in hand. Macbeth took the sayings of the three apparitions to heart and did not worry about his safety due to their predictions. He went through the rest of the play not afraid of any man due to what the second apparition, the bloody child, told him. This apparition said to Macbeth, The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth (IV, i, ll. 91-92). Both these reliances by Macbeth on fate caused him not to worry about anything and not to prepare for his safety, which came back to get him and led to his fall from grace and his death.
The second most influential factor on the downfall of Macbeth in this tragedy involves his many errors in judgment. Among his many errors in judgment, one of them is Macbeths unnecessary murder of quite a few individuals. In doing so, Macbeth may have gotten rid of his foe at that moment in time, but he also lost many allies and created many enemies who vowed revenge. Throughout the killing spree of Macbeth, he made enough enemies that they combined forces and were able to defeat the tyrant Macbeth in the end. This flaw was illustrated when all the armies of Macbeths many foes came together at Birnam Wood (V, iv, l. 5). It was there that all the armies teamed up and went on the march to defeat the king Macbeth. Macbeth unnecessarily killed many different individuals through the play. First, Macbeth had the kind king Duncan done away with. This was in order for Macbeth to fulfill the prophecy of himself becoming king, and was for his selfish needs. However, Duncan was good to Macbeth, in naming him Thane of Cawdor, and showed how inhumane and cold he was. Also, Macbeth has Banquo, who was once his best friend and closest ally, killed. Macbeth becomes slightly fearful of Banquo, so decides to kill him. Macbeth often resorts to this method of killing whomever he is threatened by, and it does him no good. Macbeth shows his fear of Banquo, when in talking about him, he states There is none but he whos being I do fear (III, i, ll. 59-60). Finally, Macbeth does away with the family of Macduff. This is a huge mistake on the part of Macbeth, because in doing so, he awoke an enormous rage within Macduff. Macduff then swore never to rest until he had taken his revenge upon Macbeth, and Macduff does, in turn, be the one to kill Macbeth in the end. Macbeths downfall can also be attributed to many unnecessary killings which enraged many and caused them to team up against him in the end.
The third, and most influential, cause of Macbeths downfall can be attributed to his many flaws in character. One major flaw that Macbeth possessed was his weak and easily controlled personality. Through the novel a constant pattern of being controlled by women came about. This happened on quite a number of occasions and centered on the Werd Sisters and his very own Lady Macbeth. With the witches, Macbeth lost all control over his own actions and just did whatever he could in order to fulfill the prophecies of the witches. He let them tell him whatever should and would happen, and he believed that it was the right thing to do. For instance, when the witches stated that he shall become king, he decided to kill both Duncan and Malcolm in order to become king, even though neither man was his foe. His feelings are well illustrated when he states, The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step…in my way it lies…let not light see my black and deep desires (I, iv, ll. 55-58). This also reveals another flaw in the character of Macbeth. This shows how whenever Macbeth was faced with a problem or an obstacle, he decided to kill whomever was the cause and he believed that this would solve all of his problems. Even though it may have worked in order to promote him to king, it presented many more problems. Killing everyone he didnt get along with was a major flaw of Macbeth and caused many to be enraged toward him and take their revenge. Yet another example of Macbeth being controlled by women has to deal with the subject of unneeded killings as well. Even though Macbeth had been contemplating killing Duncan in order to gain the seat of the throne, he began to have second thoughts. Had he gone on his own feelings, he may have held back from killing Duncan and had been successful at the high post of Thane of Cawdor. However, the diabolical Lady Macbeth proceeded to call her husband a coward and told him to cast his fears aside and go with his plan. This led Macbeth to go on and kill Duncan, which was just the first step in his long killing spree. All of these are many of the flaws amongst the character of Macbeth which caused him to make many decisions and behave in ways that were the major contribution to this tragic heros downfall.
Macbeth had many factors which contributed to his downfall ranging from fate, to errors in judgment, to especially his many flaws in character. Every heros reign has to come to an end, but Macbeth managed to bring the end along much more rapidly due to his many mistakes and bad qualities. Through the play, I found Macbeth to be a very close-minded and stubborn individual who does not change his ways. Up until the end of the play, Macbeth still believed in the witches prophecies and in the sayings of the three apparitions. So, obviously, Macbeth did not change his attitude. Also, Macbeth never prepared for battle in the end and tried to win on his own. All of these factors show that Macbeth did not, in fact, gain any measure of wisdom or self-awareness, but remained the cocky, self-confident man he always was.