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  • Macbeth by William Shakspeare
  • King, you say?
  • Hail, Macbeth!  The future king!
  • Should I really do this?
  • Be a man!  All we have to do is kill Duncan in his sleep and blame his drunk servants.
  • You are leading me to where I was already going.  You are taking me to commit an act that I have never committed before in my life.  No one will know, as the day is late and everyone is asleep.
  • Three witches make their prophecies for Macbeth and Banquo, claiming that Banquo's descendants will be kings while Macbeth will become the thane of Glamis and Cawdor and eventually, the king.  This marks the beginning and the reason for Macbeth's rise to power as the tragic hero.
  • Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth's manhood and if he is willing to do whatever it takes to become king.  She eventually convinces her husband to kill Duncan and intents to direct the blame towards the king's servants.  Through this interaction, Lady Macbeth ignites the ambition in Macbeth, which will prove to be his tragic flaw, or hamartia.
  • Run, Fleance!  Run!
  • Macbeth has a hallucination of a dagger that leads him towards Duncan’s bed. Upon encountering the sleeping Duncan, Macbeth proceeds to murder the king.  This is a critical moment in the tragedy in which Macbeth's hamartia, his ambition, gains control of him and begins to lead him to his own downfall.
  • Macduff and Lennox discover the brutal murder of Duncan, and both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth pretend to be in shock.  Then, Duncan’s sons Malcolm and Donalbain decide to flee Scotland to avoid being accused.
  • Fearing that his comrade will be a threat to his throne, Macbeth orders three murderers to kill Banquo.  Banquo dies when he arrives at the palace, but his son Fleance is able to escape.  By committing his second murder, Macbeth allows his hamartia of ambition to take him one step closer to his downfall.  Also, a form of peripeteia occurs, as Fleance's escape means Macbeth is destined to be replaced as king by Banquo's descendants.
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