Macbeth is the shortest and most frightening of Shakespeare’s plays. The valiant Macbeth, who has already gained a reputation for honesty and a powerful military rank in the Duncan’s army when he is first introduced, becomes tragically enamored by the Witches’ enticing prophecies. It is a puzzle whether he loses control of his actions or not; because in the beginning, Macbeth despite the prophecies of the Witches remains rational and seems very determined about his decision not to pursue evil schemes. As a disciplined and distinguished warrior, Macbeth seems content with his current reputation and rank, especially after Duncan grants him the honor of Thane of Cawdor. However, Macbeth, as if he had always in the corner of his mind entertained wishes of becoming a royalty, cannot resist the opportunity, especially considering that the Weird Sisters would not prophecy anything uncertain, as they have better insight into and control over human destiny. A quick fulfillment of the slight portion of the prophecy, after Macbeth becomes Thane of Cawdor, makes Macbeth believe in the prophecy even further.
The Weird Sister’s prophecy, however, does not indicate the role Macbeth himself must play in its fulfillment. Ironically, Macbeth becomes Thane of Cawdor for his valor and loyalty to Duncan, but he believes he has to resort to criminal means for the second part of the prophecy. Had Macbeth stayed loyal, after having righteously acquired a new title, perhaps, someone else would have murdered Duncan. But Macbeth’s weakness and inhumanity are the precise causes of his tragedy. The fault lies in his character, in his deep understanding of his evil potential, and the complex psychological predisposition to fall victim to his evil side. The Weird Sister’s prophecy, even though the means to its fulfillment are unclear, becomes an incontrovertible proof in Macbeth’s mind that the King must be killed; thus, for Macbeth, the murder must be done and quickly too.
Tragically, Macbeth, because he takes the fulfillment of prophecy to his own hands, does not receive any supernatural help to deal with the consequences of his crimes. Even when very few people suspect the now King Macbeth, his troubled conscience presents before his eyes most horrific images of the dead. He loses his mind, his calm sleep, and everything that surrounds him becomes a fatal threat. His disturbed imagination conjures up for him most alarming scenarios of imminent threats about to destroy him any second. He does not enjoy a single second of being a King, nor does Lady Macbeth. The new royal couple becomes more distant and unsympathetic towards each other than ever. Neither has a moment of peace, and guilty conscience leaves them incapable of tasting any pleasure or calmness.
In the end, grief, guilt, and horror, entirely consumes Lady Macbeth, and she dies knowing of no other remedy for her suffering. And the debased Macbeth stands on his own until the end and dies not very dramatically as the audience