What Are the Various Factors Which Lead to the Tragic Downfall and Death of Macbeth

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 There are a lot of factors that lead to the downfall of Macbeth. Changing him from a hero that all people loved into a person that everybody hates and fears. We will discuss each factor and the impact of each factor on Macbeth’s personality.We have to discuss from where everything started, when the three witches appeared in front of Macbeth and his friend Banquo. They prophesied that Macbeth is going to become the king of Scotland and that Banquo’s children would be come kings in the future.

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Macbeth is a very ambitious guy and he has dreamed of becoming the king for a very long time, that is why he didn’t hesitate to believe the witches’ prophecy even though his friend warned him not to. He later on went and talked about the prophecy with his wife “lady Macbeth who was described by the writer of the novel as the fourth witch. She knew how much her husband wanted to be the king and she went on to help him achieve that dream no matter the consequences of their actions. She ordered him to kill king Duncan, who was staying the night at their house as a way of praising Mabeth’s bravery and being a courage warrior. At first Macbeth totally refused this idea but his wife kept on convincing him that this is his only way of becoming the king. She was a woman of iron will and determination and equally ambitious for his sake. But she didn’t know that by Macbeth killing the king it would be only the start of a bloody career filled with murders.

After the king was killed, Macbeth became the king of Scotland just like what the prophecy said. But Macbeth’s ambition had no limits. His ambition was the keynote of his character. And now he is ambitious to have the kingship not only for his own self, but also for his progeny. His evil and aggression slowly started taking over him. He decided that the only way to secure that his children would be kings too was by killing Banquo and his child Fleance, but unlucky for him Banqou was killed but his son escaped. Rapidly the suspicion around him started to increase and more people started believing that Macbeth is the one that planned for the king’s murder do he can be a kind. Macduff was one of those people that believed that Macbeth can’t be the king of Scotland, due to his horrible murders and not deserving of being a king.

Although his imagination displayed the bright side of Macbeth’s personality, it was one of the reasons of his downfall. When his imagination is active it makes him have hallucinations, beside that it visualize his guilt in all its enormity so that we would feel that neither his ambition nor the prophecy would change how he is. His imagination led to his failure as he couldn’t hide his murder of Banquo and when it controlled him he started seeing a ghost of Banquo, he immediately started admitting that he is responsible for the death of the king and his friend Banquo, which made the suspicion of the people around him increase and his reputation slowly started to decline. People of Scotland started calling a “tyrant” for all of his murders.

Perhaps if his imagine was active all the time he wouldn’t have made all those murders but his love for power and being the person with all the control, beside the prophecy and him marrying a woman with an iron determination have changed him a lot and drowned all the other voices in him and what we witnessed it the tragedy of his ambition, will to power. His ambition made him abhorrent to his better nature making him more wretched and miserable person. “his passion for power and his instinct of self-assertion are so vehement that no inward misery could persuade him to relinquish the fruit of the crime, or to advance from remorse to repentance”.

His desire changed from a limited personal satisfaction to a desire of finding a dynasty and making his children kings of Scotland just like him. That made Macbeth completely insecure and afraid of not achieving his dream, that justify why he tried to kill Banquo and his son to prevent the witches’ prophecy. But as we all know his attempt failed and the son escaped. This made Macbeth even more nervous and decided to make a war on children., a war which in itself reflects, his desperation and is a confession of his weakness, that is why once he knew that Macduff has knew his truth and has traveled to Duncan’s sons to convince them to return to Scotland so that they would become the new kings and save Scotland from Macbeth’s hands. Macbeth decided to kill Macduff’s family, he killed his wife and son. The scene in which the innocent child prattles with his mother about his absent father , and then is murdered ties into the inner symbolism of the play. For the child in it’s helplessness defies the murderers. It’s defiance testifies the force which is threatens Macbeth and which he cannot destroy.

Despite being a brave soldier, Macbeth was easily carried away by suggestions and persuasion of others, that made him weak of a will. That is why he acts against his own better judgment most of the time. He was never not even for a moment, unaware of the enormity of his crimes, he also understands the futility of the murders he has done. But as Verity emphasizes, the other murders of his are a logical corollary of the first one. He suffers from a sense of insecurity and fear of retaliation. His sleepless torture would vanish he thinks, if only he had no cause for fear. He is afraid of Banquo for he knows his secret, and he must secure the stone for him and his children, so he kills Banquo but that brings him no peace. Because he knows the Macduff is looking for him and is willing to talk his revenge for killing his wife and only son. So still there is no sleep, no peace of soul. 

Macbeth realized very late that he has lost everything and that his life became pointless. He realized that he went all wrong when he destroyed Duncan and killing the king after being the loyal subject of the king. None of the good things will be there for him to support him when he becomes old such as love, friendship, honour. He started to feel like he should fall like a dead leaf. His deep guilty and pessimism makes us feel that deep inside him he is a very noble person. When he knew that his wife is dead, he refused to surrender and perhaps he has broken out into the best of his soliloquies, He decided to fight like a soldier and said “At least we’ll die with harness on our back” this describes a brave soldier that has sold his loyalty and his whole life for his own personal benefit. Even though Macbeth definitely deserved his death, it was infinitely tragic in the way he rouses himself to active life, which can only lead to his death.


Macbeth cut off a traitor’s head, at the end his own head was brought by Macduff as a symbol that evil has been destroyed. Even though this man was a symbol of brutality and barbarity , Shakespeare was successful and skillfully made us feel sympathy for this man, by giving us a peep into his agonized soul.     

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