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6 key talking points

Witches, lady Macbeth, reckless, ambition, equivocation, cockiness


Witches influences

Macbeth was told by the witches that he would be King but he didn't just let that naturally happen he chose to make it happen by murdering Duncan knowing that he would become king if Duncan dies. "The eye wink at the hand. Yet let that be, which the eye fears, when it is done, to see." Macbeth Is saying here that no matter how terrible of an action it is to kill Duncan, he still really wants it to happen so he can become King. MacBeth was told by the Witches that he would become King but they never told him to kill Duncan, MacBeth made that choice himself to ensure he takes the throne. This decision led MacBeth down a path of murder and insanity that ultimately led to his demise.


Lady macbeths influences

When Macbeth informed Lady Macbeth of the witches prophecies she was determined to have her husband take the throne and took every effort to encourage him to murder Duncan. When Macbeth starts doubting whether he should commit the murder, she beings doubting his manhood and courage. "Screw your courage to the sticking-place." This is a reference to a crossbow and Lady Macbeth is implying that Macbeth needs to arm himself with courage in order to go through with the murder. Yes Lady Macbeth was encouraging the murder, Macbeth still had the power to say no and do what he knew was right, but he let himself be manipulated by his wife. "I'm settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat." Macbeth let himself be convinced by his wife and is determined to strive with every part of his body to commit the horrible deed. Macbeth was influenced by his wife but he made the final decision to go through with the murder therefore he is responsible for going down that path that led to his downfall



Macbeth killed anyone who he was suspicious of, Banquo. He did not consider the possible consequences and just jumped to the conclusion that those who are suspicious of him must be killed but in reality this just made people realise that he is a tyrant and needs to be taken down.



The main theme of Macbeth—the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints—finds its most powerful expression in the play’s two main characters. Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, pursues her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of withstanding the repercussions of her immoral acts. One of Shakespeare’s most forcefully drawn female characters, she spurs her husband mercilessly to kill Duncan and urges him to be strong in the murder’s aftermath, but she is eventually driven to distraction by the effect of Macbeth’s repeated bloodshed on her conscience. In each case, ambition—helped, of course, by the malign prophecies of the witches—is what drives the couple to ever more terrible atrocities. The problem, the play suggests, is that once one decides to use violence to further one’s quest for power, it is difficult to stop. There are always potential threats to the throne—Banquo, Fleance, Macduff—and it is always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them.



Prophecy sets Macbeth’s plot in motion—namely, the witches’ prophecy that Macbeth will become first thane of Cawdor and then king. The weird sisters make a number of other prophecies: they tell us that Banquo’s heirs will be kings, that Macbeth should beware Macduff, that Macbeth is safe till Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane, and that no man born of woman can harm Macbeth. Save for the prophecy about Banquo’s heirs, all of these predictions are fulfilled within the course of the play. Still, it is left deliberately ambiguous whether some of them are self-fulfilling—for example, whether Macbeth wills himself to be king or is fated to be king. Additionally, as the Birnam Wood and “born of woman” prophecies make clear, the prophecies must be interpreted as riddles, since they do not always mean what they seem to mean.



Finally, towards the end of the play Macbeth was told by the witches that he could not be killed by anyone who is "of woman born", Macbeth took this for truth even though earlier in the play he was much more wary with what the Witches told him, this decision to take the Witches words for truth was the direct cause of his death. "I bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of woman born." Macbeth says this to Macduff thinking that because of what the witches said that he is invincible, but surely he should have known that nobody can be invincible and to be more careful instead of of stupidly overconfident. The witches did trick Macbeth but Macbeth definitely should have been more careful when facing Macduff, Macbeth's overconfidence was the direct cause for his death and downfall.