Outside Influences That Caused Macbeth's Downfall
In William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, many outside influences such as other characters cause Macbeth to act in bad ways. Specifically, through the characters Lady Macbeth and The Witches, Shakespeare ensures to readers that they shouldn’t follow the dark ideas of other characters and instead believe in what is right. Therefore, through outside forces like the characters Lady Macbeth and The Witches, Shakespear illustrates to readers that Macbeth is not truly evil, but influenced to become evil.
In the play Macbeth, the Witches influence the choices made by Macbeth using the prophecy that states Macbeth will become king. Then, when Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches, the witches greet him by saying, “All hail Macbeth! Hail to you, the Thane of Cawdor! All hail Macbeth, the future king!”(1,3,50-51)This quote influences Macbeth after he learns that he has become that thane of Cawdor from the king. Macbeth starts to trust the witches’ words and he becomes eager to become king. They influence him to kill Duncan when he becomes the thane of Cawdor, but he had already become it without knowing and instead starts to plot the murder of Duncan. He writes to his wife, Lady Macbeth, of the process and how he will become king. Macbeth makes his own choice to kill the king and with the help of his wife, he succeeds in killing Duncan. Afterwards, he is crowned king but starts to worry about Banquo's prophecies and how his sons will be kings. As a result of the prophecies, he begins to worry about losing power and thinks of murdering his own friend, Banquo. At the end of the play, Macbeth worries about losing his place on the throne and goes to the witches again. The Witches tell him that, “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.”(4,1,82-83) He feels relief knowing that no one can not be of woman born. Soon after, an army from England invades the castle and Macbeth fights in battle. While he is in battle with Macduff, he learns that Macduff was born from a cesarean section and is not “of woman born”. Macbeth soon dies in battle and has a tragic end. Overall, the Witches played a big part in Macbeth’s downfall making Macbeth believe that he was invincible.
Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth uses her power to influence Macbeth so that he can become king. In Act 1, when Macbeth tells his wife about the prophecy of him becoming king, she uses her power to persuade Macbeth when he is afraid of killing Duncan. Her power is evident in this quote when she questions Macbeth’s manhood and states, “What beast was’t then, That made you break this enterprise to me? When durst do it, then you were a man.”(1,7,47-49) This quote proves that Lady Macbeth has an influence on Macbeth because he goes to kill Duncan afterwards. Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth is courageous and would never back down from a challenge so she uses his weakness in order for him to become king. She questions his manliness when he is afraid of killing Duncan so she can push him into murdering Duncan. Furthermore, it is evident that she is more dominant than Macbeth and is one of the major outside forces of Macbeth’s downfall. Therefore, Lady Macbeth’s influence and power over Macbeth is one of the reasons he has a tragic end.
Therefore, through the negative influences of Lady Macbeth and The Witches, Shakespear illustrates to readers that Macbeth is not truly evil, but influenced to become evil by the environment around him. Moreover, Macbeth is not an evil person, but a person who followed the wrong people. If Macbeth had not made the choice of killing Duncan or believing the Witches he could have stopped his own tragic ending. Furthermore, he is an example of why trusting strangers and not following your gut is a mistake. In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, it is shown not to be swayed by the craving for power and not to be taken control of.