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Zach Erickson
Mrs. Hawkins
Period 2
19 October 2016
Macbeths Corruption
Through the epic play, Macbeth, Macbeth finds himself killing to gain a higher social
status, but ends up morally corrupt. Macbeth goes as far as to kill the fair King Duncan, who had
just promoted him to Thane of Cawdor. He kills his best friend Banquo just so he can secure the
throne for his children. Macbeth is influenced to commit these murders by the witches and their
prophecies, Lady Macbeths constant hunger for power, and Macbeths own ambition.
The witches are a part of Macbeth's corruption because of their use of their prophecies to
influence Macbeths decision making. The witches planted the idea of being praised by saying,
All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be King
hereafter! (Act 1 Sc. 3) This idea of being king is the beginning of Macbeths corruption. He
starts to plot how he will become king. Macbeth is influenced more by the witches when they
say, Be bloody, bold, and resolute, laugh to scorn/ The power of man, for none of woman born
shall harm Macbeth (Act 4 Sc.1). This prophecy gives Macbeth a false sense of security. It also
corrupts Macbeth by letting him think that he can kill anyone and he will not be harmed. Another
prophecy that corrupts Macbeth is, Macbeth shall never vanquishd be until/ Great Birnum
Wood to high Dunsinane hill/ shall come against him (Act 4 Sc. 1). This prophecy puts

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Macbeths mind at ease because a forest can not climb a hill. The witches are a major factor in
Macbeths corruption by the use of their prophecies.
Another large part of Macbeths corruption is caused by Lady Macbeths constant hunger
for power. She wants to be queen as she persuades Macbeth to kill Duncan when she says,
[Thou] shalt be/what thou art promised thou wouldst be great (Act 1 Sc. 5). She uses the
idea of fate to convince Macbeth that it is his destiny to become king of Scotland to corrupt him.
She also guilts him into killing King Duncan. She says that Macbeths temperament and actions
look like the innocent flower,/ But be the serpent undert (Act 1 Sc. 5). She corrupts Macbeth
by saying that he looks like a flower but he needs to kill Duncan like a serpent. Lady Macbeth
corrupts Macbeth by saying, From this time/ Such I account thy love (Act 1 Sc. 7). Lady
Macbeth uses Macbeths love for her against himself and persuades him to kill the king, which
makes him morally corrupt. Lady Macbeth causes Macbeths downfall and corruption by
persuading him to kill King Duncan so she can be queen.
Macbeth is at fault for his own corruption because of his consuming ambition. He tries to
justify the murder of King Duncan by saying, If it were done when tis done, then twere well/
It were done quickly (Act 1 Sc. 7). By justifying the killing of an innocent man, Macbeth
becomes morally unethical. Macbeths ambition and personal desires lead him to say, I have no
spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself/ And
falls on the other (Act 1 Sc.7). He blames his ambition for his corruption and does not take
accountability for his actions. Macbeths lack of accountability leads to his downfall. Macbeth

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corrupts himself further by preparing to kill Banquo and saying, We have scotch'd the snake,
not kill'd it:/ She'll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice/ Remains in danger of her former

tooth. He needs to get rid of Banquo because Macbeth wants the kingdom for his children. He
compares his quest for power with an injured snake, he just needs to finish the job and the next
step is killing Banquo. Macbeths corruption is his own fault because he cannot manage his ego
and ambition.
Macbeths corruption and downfall can be blamed on the witches and their prophecies,
Lady Macbeths constant pressure for political advancement, and Macbeths own ambition. He
gave into the pressures around him and as a result, he became corrupt. If Macbeth had not fallen
into corruption, he would not have been killed at the end of the play. Macbeths downfall would
have been easily avoided if he had not listened to the witches in Act 1. Macbeths corruption was
mostly caused by his own ambition and selfishness.