Essay by iceman9954High School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

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Whenever something goes wrong in life, the first question that is always asked is, "Whose fault is it?" Sometimes, there is a clear-cut culprit who takes the fall for the mistake. However, more often than not, it is difficult to pin the error on just one person. An ideal example of this concept is the downfall of Macbeth. In The Tragedy of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the blame of Macbeth's downfall is laid upon both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth; although Lady Macbeth led him to the edge of the cliff and gave him a little nudge, it was Macbeth himself who took the final and fateful step towards evil en route to his downfall.

Lady Macbeth played a very large role in causing Macbeth's downfall. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is extremely reluctant to murder Duncan because he has treated him so well. When Lady Macbeth brings up the topic of Duncan's murder, Macbeth responds by saying that Duncan "hath honored me of late" (I.vii.35.)

and that they "will proceed no further in this business" (I.vii.34.). Lady Macbeth is able to finally push him into killing Duncan by questioning his manhood and mocking his fears. She says that Macbeth is "a coward in thine own esteem" (I.vii.47.) and compares him to the "poor cat i' th' adage" (I.vii.49.). She seals the deal by coming up with a flawless plan on how to go about killing Duncan and confidently assures him that "we'll not fail" (I.vii.71.). By convincing Macbeth to murder Duncan, she started the chain reaction of events that eventually lead to his undoing. However, things do not unfold quite the way she expected them to. When Macbeth comes back full of blood with the daggers still in hand, his reign of king could have been over...