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Macbeth: The Witches' Responsibility For Macbeth'S Actions

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Autor:   •  October 30, 2010  •  1,064 Words (5 Pages)  •  877 Views

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Macbeth: The Witches' Responsibility for Macbeth's Actions

The three witches that are introduced at the beginning of the play are responsible for the introduction of the ideas that caused Duncan's death and Macbeth's destruction but not for Macbeth's actions themselves. They recount to Macbeth three prophecies; that Macbeth will be: 1) Thane of Cawdor, 2) Thane of Glamis, and 3) King. Macbeth welcomes the ideas spawned from the witches' prophecies, which is what triggered the spiral of events in this story. Macbeth eventually followed through with killing King Duncan. It was sometimes thought that the witches had the ability to reverse the natural order of things. This brings to the play the idea of fate and the role it has in the play. One can wonder if Macbeth ever had a chance of doing what was right after he heard the witches' prophecies. However, it is more realistic to believe that Macbeth was responsible for his own actions throughout the play and in the end it was he that made the final decisions. The witches could predict the future, they can add temptation, and influence Macbeth, but they cannot control his destiny. Macbeth creates his own misery when he is driven by the guilt of his actions. This causes him to become insecure about his actions, which causes him to commit more murders. The witches offer great enticement, but in the end, it is each individual's decision to fall for the temptation, or to be strong enough to resist their appeal. The three witches are only responsible for the introduction of these ideas and for further forming ideas in Macbeth's head, but they are not responsible for his actions throughout the play.

Lady Macbeth is partly to blame for the manipulation and the encouragement she gave Macbeth to do her evil deeds. Lady Macbeth is shown early in the play as an ambitious woman with a single purpose. She can manipulate Macbeth easily. This is shown in the line "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear" (1.5.26). She is selfless, and wants what is best for her husband. Before the speech that Lady Macbeth gives in Act I, Scene V, Macbeth has decided not to murder Duncan. However, Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth's self-esteem by playing on his manliness and his bravery. This convinces Macbeth to commit regicide. Her manipulation of Macbeth is like a child who is easily guided. Lady Macbeth knows this and acts on it. Although Macbeth has the final say in whether or not to go through with the murder, he loves his wife and wants to make her happy. Lady Macbeth is the dominating individual in the relationship, which is shown in her soliloquy in Act I, Scene V:

The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements. Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, form the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood, stop up th' access and passage to remorse, that no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between th' effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts, and take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers, wherever in your sightless substances you wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, to cry "Hold, hold!" (38-53)

It seems that she can convince him to do anything as long as she pushes the right buttons. On the other hand, as the play progresses, and Duncan is killed, there is a reversal


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