Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s best examples of tragedy showing the familiar themes that most Shakespearian plays follow such as the final death of the main character and the flaws his personality contains. It follows the downslide of Macbeth, one of the commanders of the Scottish army and a universally respected warrior as its said in Act 1 Scene2
“O, Valiant cousin, worthy Gentlemen”.
And at this point in the play the King sees Macbeth as an equal. Macbeth’s downfall is due to the news the witches give him in act 1 scene 3 of him becoming King of Scotland. It’s this news that starts Macbeths’ downfall, leading from him being one of the most respected men in the country to being the most despised and eventually being murdered.
This play also mirrors Romeo and Julie another tragedy by Shakespeare as fate has a lot to do with the eventual death of the main characters. The only difference is that Macbeth is aware of his fait (the witches addressing him with his future titles) whereas Romeo is simply affected by it (the coincidences that bought him and Juliet together).
Once Macbeth has murdered the King he becomes more and more paranoid so could be said that nothing seems to go right for him he also sees great remorse for what he did. As soon as he returns he shows this remorse by saying
“Me thought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep.
Which I think he means for killing Duncan he’ll be punished by never being able to sleep again.
After the murder Macbeth immediately murders the servant’s (who were originally framed for the murder), which arouses Banquos’ suspicions of him, as Banquo was originally there when the witches told him of his future and Banquo believes that
“thou play’dst foully for it”.
I think it’s at this point Macbeth has almost dug himself a hole he can’t get out of as although he supposedly did this in anger it still leaves questions unanswered.
After the coronation Macbeth is unsatisfied with being King and he is unhappy with the way he did things also he is believes that he has helped Banquo more so than he has himself
“For Banquos issue have fil’d my mind, for him the gracious Duncan I have murdered.”
At the time this play was written King James was in power and he claimed his ancestors back to Banquo who is In real life still a hero (probably also why Macbeth makes Banquo seem like the good guy in the play) It’s at this point that Shakespeare is directing the attention to King James as a way of flattery.
Lady Macbeth however is more positive about the death immediately afterwards “These deeds must not be thought…it will make us go mad.” Although later on she two becomes more and more guilty about the death as in act 5 Scene 1 where she walks in her sleep and relives the night King Duncan is murdered and it’s this guilt, I think, that also shows her selfishness when she insisted that Macbeth should murder Macbeth.
Macbeth decides to have Banquo and Fleance murdered, he does this to prevent the prophecy coming true, and to show how paranoid Macbeth has now become he has another assassin appear as he cant even trust the first two thugs he had paid. Macbeth is at this point doesn’t trust anyone and begins his downward spiral it should also be pointed out that Lady Macbeth doesn’t persuade him neither. His paranoia is also shown when he at the formal banquet, after he is told Fleance got away, Macbeth sees Banqou’s ghost which only he can see and Lady Macbeth has everyone leave.
These dinners are quite important as the King has to show complete dignity and formality for all the Lords and Noblemen but when the murderers arrive Macbeth has to step aside half way through the important ceremony to speak to them causing confusion. When Macbeth reacts strongly to the news and sees Banquos ghost he reveals he is hiding a dark secret hidden “Thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me”. It’s this that brings the suspicions of the Lords as they left without the same orderly fashion they had went through when they had arrived.
Macbeths fearless determination is shown as he says “For mine own good all the causes shall give way: I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.” Shakespeare’s saying, in my opinion, that the situation has become uncontrollable, but this isn’t literally what he means. What he literally means is that it’s pointless to attempt to go back to the old way of life.
Macduff now decides to flee to join Malcolm’s army in England. Macbeth is now at this point panicking and through thinking of Macduffs actions he decides to end the lives of Lady Macduff and her son, “why in the rawness left you wife and child”, and you can now see that Macbeths actions are purely pointless from his exhaustion and sinister ness, I mean they’re almost the last desperate attempts to survive but they’re also very evil and show how Macbeth is stuck in the spiral towards his eventual defeat. He doesn’t even show remorse when he’s told of his wife’s death.
With Ross now deciding to go to England and Macduffs anger growing, after hearing the news of his family being murdered, things are heavily stacked against Macbeth now. It’s now also clear that Macbeth has lost all human emotion and that he’s now an evil tyrant who doesn’t feel “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player… a tale told by an idiot…signifying nothing” As you can see Macbeth has now lost all hope and, maybe due to lack of sleep, he cant seem to think straight or positive anymore. He finally faces Macduff and realises that he will kill him as its Macduff who isn’t born through conventional methods (caesarean).
It could also be seen that Macbeth as a play is a piece of Propaganda by which I mean it could be seen, by the people of the time, as an example of Kingship. The point here I’m making is; that as Macbeth went against Gods will for Duncan to be the rightful king in turn nothing would go right for him. And as I mentioned earlier Shakespeare was obviously aware that his King at the time claimed descent to Banquo so in turn used this to flatter him as he could be saying anyone who eventually murdered him would have bad luck.
So in conclusion I strongly agree with the original question of nothing going right for Macbeth as although he is given the title of King he that is primarily the only thing he achieved after he decided to follow lady Macbeths idea nothing seemed to work. It should however be noted that Macbeths actions aren’t bad luck or that fate, gone horribly wrong instead its Macbeths own self-destructiveness that brings him to his own downfall.