Macbeth’s Downfall

Machiavelli would think Macbeth successfully put fear in his people and gain his power, but this would eventually making his people hate him and made him fall. Although Macbeth shows some characteristics that a good king should have, he does not follow Machiavelli’s wrote on rulers who wish to gain their monarchical status by committing crimes, and it caused the failure of Macbeth. Machiavelli would agree that Macbeth successfully gained power from his people and his action matched what Machiavelli wrote. It was important to show your best in public and in front of a lot of people. Machiavelli believed that it was important for a leader to behave well in public and hide his bad qualities from the people.’…he should seem to be all mercy, faith, integrity, humanity, and religion… Everybody sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are, and those few will not dare oppose themselves to the many…’. (Chapter 15 The Prince) Although some people knew that you are pretending to be good, they were just a few of them.

Most people would still trust that you had good qualities. Macbeth also has the same feeling of hiding the bad side. “MACBETH [Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires: The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, Which the eye fears when it is done, to see. Exit ” (Macbeth Act 1 Scene 4) Macbeth hoped that no one would notice his bad behaviors and ideas. He did not want people to see the real Macbeth, so he could gain more power from people and build more trust. Macbeth successfully used fear to gain power, but he went too far. Machiavelli thought it was important to control the balance between being loved and being hated. “Nevertheless a prince ought to encourage fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred. He can carry on very well being feared while he is not hated, which will always be as long as he keeps away from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of someone, he must do it with proper justification and for obvious reasons. “ ( Chapter 17 The Prince)

In Machiavelli’s perspective, we could not both put too much fear and love on people. It was important to keep power, but we could not overuse it. “To be thus is nothing; But to be safely thus.–Our fears in Banquo Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature Reigns that which would be fear’d: ’tis much he dares; And, to that dauntless temper of his mind, He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor To act in safety. To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings! Rather than so, come fate into the list. And champion me to the utterance! Who’s there!” (Macbeth Act 3 Scene 1) Macbeth killed Duncan to become the King and got the power, but he should not kill his best friend. He doubts his best friend who he should trust the most. He thought he is strong enough to control everything, but that is the opposite of what Machiavelli think “Returning to the question of being feared or loved, I come to the conclusion that, because men love according to their own will and fear according to the will of the prince, a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in the control of others.

He must try however to avoid hatred.”( Chapter 17 The Prince) The king should not be fear because of fear. The fear will turn out to hate which is wrong. A monarch who is feared but not hated is a successful monarch. Macbeth did not follow that and did the opposite. His inability to try to protect himself and his power is what leads to his fall in the end. Machiavelli would think that Macbeth’s action on pursuit and defense of power did not follow everything that Machiavelli wrote. He successfully gained power, but he did not defend it which lead to his downfall.

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Macbeth's Downfall. (2021, May 14). Retrieved August 6, 2022 , from

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