In William Shakespeare’s, Macbeth, a tragedy written 1606, Shakespeare brings to attention the complex intellect between the ideas that man must face in making decisions. This play takes place in eleventh century Scotland. Macbeth, a once noble and loyal soldier turns to evil ways for things he desires such as power and approval. He murders his precious king, friend, and other innocent civilians to become king. He takes advice from three witches and his wife, neither of whom gives just advice. He then kills and becomes a villainous tyrant, mad on his lustful and wanton thirst for power. With Macbeth’s mind going and in his undulated state Macduff and Malcolm overthrow him. He dies by the hand of Macduff in a final battle. His gullibility and listening to others become the tragic hero’s major weakness in the play.
The first problem Macbeth finds are conniving witches bent on his absolute destruction. He meets the witches with Banquo and they tell him he will soon become thane of glamis, thane of cawdor, and the king hereafter (307). First, Macbeth dismissed the questionable information and refuses to believe what he has been told. Only after named Thane of Cawdor by King Duncan does he ponder the thought of king and the witches’ prophesy. He questions saying, “This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good.” (309). Another meeting with the witches reveals how gullible Macbeth truly had become. The witches show him apparitions about his future. The first saying that he should fear Macduff, the second saying no man born of a woman can harm him, and the last saying he shall be safe until the Great Birnam woods move towards his home, Dunsinane (354-355). This disillusions Macbeth and he begins to become overconfident in the visions by thinking he is invincible. Another character plays a part in Macbeth’s downfall as well.
Macbeth’s own wife, lady Macbeth, learns of the witches prophesying of her husband becoming king through a letter by Macbeth (312). She tells Macbeth of how he should reign over Scotland and he should kill Duncan if necessary because they would benefit from Duncan’s death (317). She tells him she will not love him anymore and challenges his manhood to convince him to kill Duncan. She says to Macbeth “Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem…” (316). Macbeth feeling weakened and distraught gives into the pressure and does as told. Macbeth is coerced by lady Macbeth and influenced by her in a deep way. This causes several assassinations and tragic events and ends with the death of Macbeth himself.
Macbeth was too easily influenced by others and believed too much of what he heard and didn’t think for himself. He listened too closely to the witches and did not pay attention scrupulously enough to see through their wretched tricks. Macbeth also loved his wife too much and acted out of passion and this turned out very tragic in the way Macbeth’s life played out. Perhaps if Macbeth had been strong and turned away from the tempting idea of becoming king and just stayed the course he would’ve realized becoming king the wrong way would end with him losing everything?