"Macbeth" by William Shakespeare is a play, which involves the downfall of its male protagonist. Like many of Shakespeare's plays, the hero has a tragic flaw or personal weakness, which is responsible for their downfall. In this case it is Macbeth's "vaulting ambition" which is considered his great weakness. In this essay I will discuss to what extent I agree or disagree with this view of Macbeth's character. .
As with a number of Shakespeare's heroin's Macbeth's personal flaw is to some degree responsible for his eventual downfall. The only reason Macbeth and Lady Macbeth originally give for planning the murder of Duncan is this "vaulting ambition". This is unmistakable in Act 1, Scene 7 when in lines 26 and 27 Macbeth himself says, "To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o"erleaps itself". This dialogue in the first act of the play lets us know that Macbeth is aware of his vaulting ambition. There is no doubt that his personal flaw is to blame for his decision to kill Duncan, but his eventual downfall, in my opinion has more to do with his fascination with the witch's prophecy.
The witch's proclaim that Macbeth will be king and so too shall the sons of Banquo. He knows that to become king he must kill Duncan, and he also knows that it would be robbing his country of a great king. He allows Lady Macbeth and greed to cloud his judgment and he finally agrees to commit the murder. I believe the reason for Macbeth killing Duncan is due to the persuasive Lady Macbeth and his vaulting ambition. Despite this being the reason for Macbeth committing the murder of Duncan, the rest of Macbeth's crimes, murders and his eventual downfall are due more to his obsession with the witch's prophecy. The evil witches deceive Macbeth by giving him vague and unclear truths in their prophecies. As a result of these vague truths, Macbeth makes rash decisions that lead him to paranoia, grief, and eventually his downfall.