Although Macbeth does take actions that lead to his downfall, I believe that he is not
totally responsible for what happens. Although he takes the actions, he would not have done this
if the witches had not told him that he would be king in Act I Scene iii. I believe that it is the
witches are more responsible for the downfall of Macbeth. The witches introduce Macbeths’s
At the beginning of the play they plan to meet with Macbeth and they say Fair is foul,
and foul is fair, Hover through the fog and filthy air. This line shows foreshadowing; it makes
the audience know that something unfair and evil will occur. When they meet Macbeth, they
greet him first as Thane of Glamis, then as Thane of Cawdor and then as king. The moment
Macbeth hears this, he is confused but curious why these witches had called him king. After he
knows that he became Thane of Cawdor he believes that sooner or later he will be king. The
three witches suggested his destiny. Macbeth’s goal was not to become king until the witches
made him believe it was his destiny.
In the play, Macbeths destiny was paved out by the witches. Destiny is not something
that can be changed. A person has control of his/her destiny. Macbeth’s destiny was suggested by
the witches, he listened to their suggestions and followed them.
In Act I, Scene iii, the witches tell Macbeth that he is Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor
and that he shalt be king hereafter. Immediately after hearing the witches prophecies that he
will be king, Macbeth thinks that he must kill the current king to become king himself. I believe
that before hearing the witch’s prophecies, Macbeth had never in his wildest dreams thought of
killing King Duncan to become king himself.
In Act IV, Scene iii, Macbeth meets again with the witches, who tell him through
apparitions, Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. Beware the Thane of Fife. In the
following scene, we see murderers sent by Macbeth enter Macduff’s castle and slaughter both
Lady Macduff and her son. The witches are also responsible for this murder, because once again,
the witches put ideas in Macbeth’s head. Although the witches can be held responsible for the
murder of King Duncan, Lady Macduff and her son, they cannot be held responsible for the
murder of Banquo. The witches only speak of Banquo when Macbeth meets with them for the
second time in Act IV, Scene i, after Banquo has already been killed. This murder is the
complete responsibility of Macbeth, because the witches had absolutely nothing to do with it and
it was only Macbeth’s own suspicions that brought him to have Banquo killed. If Macbeth had
not taken action to fulfill the witch’s prophecies, he would probably have been happily living as
the thane of Glamis and Cawdor at the end of the play.
Macbeth is not controlled by fate; instead he is the one who decided to listen and wants to
meet the witches again. He thought about becoming king, but was not totally sure of it. His wife
controlled him in the decisions he made so that these could benefit her, encouraging this
decision. Macbeth controlled his life when he does not want to kill his king. After he talks to
Banquo the day he was supposed to kill the king, destiny enters in his life. Macbeth sees a dagger
and imagines that it is a sign for him to kill Duncan.
Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? As this which now
I draw…And such instrument I was to use. Macbeth feels as if the dagger was placed as well as
its handle toward him because it was meant for him to become king. If the witches had not met
Macbeth, he would not have become king. His ambition grew more after they told him he would
become king of Scotland. The witches seem to have been planning on meeting him because they
knew he was going to the impossible in order to become king. If the witches had never met
Macbeth, he would remain being Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth would have continued to be loyal
and would have not betrayed God, the King, Scotland and himself. Macbeth would not have
acted paranoid and see his life as an empty meaningless charade.
Macbeth is filled with different issues that were of great interest during Shakespearean
times. Turning your back towards the king must have been a shock to the audience as well as the
death of him. Fate was another thing that captured the audience’s attention because it is a
supernatural force that can not always be controlled. These two subjects were the most appealing
and most obvious throughout the story. It could be said that he was responsible for his own
downfall. However, Macbeth only took action after hearing the witch’s prophecies, so I believe
that Macbeth cannot be held totally responsible for what happens to himself. I believe that if
Macbeth had never heard the witch’s prophecies, he would have lived a happy, full life, and
perhaps he would have become king anyway.