Now, King Duncan pays a visit to Macbeth as a mark of appreciation for his gallantry and decides to spend the night with his brave general. Having told his wife of the prophesy, the ambition of being a queen makes Lady Macbeth to encourage her husband to murder the King. In fact, when Macbeth stabs the King while asleep and becomes jittery afterwards, Lady Macbeth personally takes charge of the situation and seeks to implicate the guards who had been made drunk to stupor before then. The guards too were murdered in order not to prevent them from proclaiming their innocence.

More murders are perpetrated to cover murders and consolidate power. To prevent Banquo’s heir, Fleance, who the witches also said would be king, from attaining the seat, he too is targeted, though Fleance escapes the slaughter of his family. It is a reign of terror propelled by paranoid. The ambiguous and paradoxical prophesies, including that no one born of a woman could kill him, assure Macbeth of safety, even when the English forces mobilised by his opponents are marched against him. Both husband and wife are consumed by hubris; they cannot sleep in peace again as ghosts and conscience haunt them.

Men become wise at the peak of their folly. The most memorable lines in “Macbeth” are delivered by the tragic hero himself when he reckons his wife has killed herself: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more. It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing” (Act 5, Scene 5).

Despite his philosophical thoughtfulness, he has been so enmeshed in crime that he cannot seek a way out. Macbeth is killed and beheaded just after he realises he had misinterpreted the witches’ words. Without his wife, he would not have been embroiled in the chain of events that complicated and ruined his life.

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