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Murder Of Duncan In Macbeth

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1233 words Published: 25th May 2017

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Duncan’s murder, in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, was a complete disaster. This deed, performed by Macbeth, but this cannot be totally blamed on him. The three witches are to blame. Their prophecies of Macbeth becoming King sparked ambition in Macbeth, causing him to suffocate himself with the ideas to turn it to reality. Lady Macbeth is also at responsible. Macbeth decides not to go ahead with the plan to kill Duncan, but, she also becomes obsessed with the idea of Macbeth being king and her becoming Queen forces Macbeth into committing the crime. Macbeth played a major role in the murder of Duncan. He, however being in control by others, he was in full control of himself. He knew what he was doing and did it.

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The three witches in the tragedy Macbeth are presented right at the beginning of the play. They recount to Macbeth three prophesies. That Macbeth will be Thane of Glamis (that he already is), Thane of Cawdor and King “All hail Macbeth ,that shalt be King thereafter”. Macbeth takes this into account and asks them to tell him more meaning that Macbeth may believe that he will become king. These advices introduce Macbeth to ideas of greatness. When the first prophecy comes true, Macbeth talks aside to Banquo “Two truths are told as happy prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme (1.3.140-141). Macbeth is telling Banquo that so far the witches have told him things that have come true, so it seems to him that this will culminate in him becoming king. In the second visit, the witches reveal to Macbeth three apparitions. The first apparition warned Macbeth about Macduff, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.” The second apparition told Macbeth that no man born from a woman will harm him, “Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of women born shall harm Macbeth. The third apparition said that Macbeth never be defeated until Birnam Wood marches to fight him at Dunsinane Hill. “Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him.” Macbeth does not care anymore about anything expect killing Macduff , because he thinks Birnam woods will never march to fight him , and there is no such thing as a man not born from a women , so , he’s all out of harm. Macbeth chooses to kill Macduff because the witches said to watch out for him. If the witches would have never told him to watch out for Macduff he would not have decided to kill him. The play Macbeth is a play about killing and greed. After the witches prophesize his future and becoming king, he decides to kill to get to the position of king. The witches have control over Macbeth throughout the play. Macbeth follows his conscious in choosing to do wrong. Macbeth fights at times between right and wrong but, because of what the witches have told him he decides to do everything wrong, so he can take a step higher in his journey up the ladder to king.

Lady Macbeth plays a major role in influencing her husband to take the path he did. She serves much the same role as the witches do in manipulating Macbeth to murder Duncan, but her influence is more frightening nature. She would always question his manliness to commit the murder, Lady Macbeth desire to see her husband succeed so much, that she’d tell him anything to get him to kill Duncan. She worries that Macbeth is “too full o’ the milk of human kindness”(1.5.16-17) – that he is really too good inside to follow through with killing Duncan. (Ironic, then, that she is the one later who cannot make herself stab Duncan as he reminds her too much of her father.) There is proof that Lady Macbeth understands Macbeth’s thoughts and feeling are visible in her thoughts. “Thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.” (1.5.19-21). From the very same speech and small implications from the letter, Macbeth was ambitious enough to want to be the King, but would not think of murdering Duncan. Lady Macbeth knew this, she also knew that she would have to push Macbeth into performing the deed and she starts by telling him “Thy letters have transported me beyond this ignorant present and I feel now the future in the present” (1.5.62-65). Lady Macbeth explains to Macbeth telling him that she feels that future is almost present.

During the play we see that Macbeth just wants to be Thane of Cowdar. However, Lady Macbeth starts to influence him again, but this time she questions his manhood, saying “When you durst do it, then you were a man: And to be more then what you were you would be so much more the man.” (1.7.55-56). Then after Macbeth is influenced by Lady Macbeth and kills Duncan, Not only she got him to commit the murder, she even knew what to say after he had started thinking about the murder.

Lady Macbeth’s manipulation to Macbeth had affected him, when she would question his manhood and show how much she loves her husband, she would touch his weakness. That’s how she got him to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth play’s a major role in the responsibility of Duncan’s death.

Macbeth was the one who stabbed the king, and he freely admits this during the play. “I have done the deed” Macbeth relates to his Lady after he completed the objective (2.2.19). Macbeth was never forced to the deed, he did it because he was ambitious.

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis and the Thane of Cawdor, holds the major responsibility for the death of Duncan. He was the one who performed the murder by his own hands. He was ambitious and understood the relation of the foretelling. Finally, Macbeth understood and accepted the plan for the murder of the King. In these three ways, Macbeth bore the leading burden for the death of Duncan.

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The responsibility of Duncan’s murder fall’s on everyone’s head, the three witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. The witches are responsible because they recounted to Macbeth three prophesies. That led him to kill Duncan and Macduff. When the witches told Macbeth that he is going to become Thane of Cowdar, and that prophecy became true, he started thinking how he could become king. Then in the second visit they warned Macbeth about Macduff. Macbeth was like a ring in the witches hands, whenever they told Macbeth to do something, he would do it. Lady Macbeth also holds the same responsibility as the witches. Lady Macbeth would hit on Macbeth’s weakness, and attack with her love, and ask him if he was a real man or not. The only way Lady Macbeth could get Macbeth to commit the murder was when she would question is manliness. The only thing that Lady Macbeth wanted was to see her husband successful, either by committing a murder or anything else. Macbeth was responsible for everything as well, Macbeth was never forced to do anything, the witches nor did Lady Macbeth force him to commit any murder. No one is forced to do anything, he should have thought before he did anything. The responsibility of Duncan’s murder is clear, that all five characters are responsible.


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