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‘By the time Macbeth murders Duncan, he has already lost the battle for his soul’. Discuss this statement and examine the factors which lead to his decision to kill the king.

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Introduction

'By the time Macbeth murders Duncan, he has already lost the battle for his soul'. Discuss this statement and examine the factors which lead to his decision to kill the king. It is the aim of this essay to evaluate and determine the validity of the above statement. I will examine the factors which lead to Macbeth's decision to kill the king. The definition for a person's soul is the spiritual part of them that is supposed to continue after their body is dead. People also use 'soul' to refer to a person's mind, character, thoughts and feelings. 'The battle for his soul' represents whether this person submits to good or evil. The factors that I will look at in particular when considering what drove Macbeth to commit the murder, are the witches and Lady Macbeth. The play begins with the witches who introduce Macbeth by saying they will meet him. 'There to meet with Macbeth'. This is an effective way to start the play, as people were very superstitious at the time. They believed in witches and they believed they were evil. One person who was very wary and curious about such matters was James I and Shakespeare had written this play for him. The gunpowder plot took place the previous year and James I was, consequently, very sensitive and concerned about future assassination attempts. Shakespeare was writing for an audience who were predominantly Christian and who believed in heaven and hell; the way some one behaved on earth would decide what happened to them when they died. ...read more.

Middle

When Lady Macbeth enters he does not tell her these reasons but gives different ones altogether. He says the king has been honouring him recently and people have high opinions of him. Consequently, he wants to remain popular with people. Macbeth must kill Duncan so that he can be king and take his place. The witches told him that he would be king, but not necessarily by murdering him. Initially the murder has been devised entirely by Macbeth and not recommended by anyone else. As Macbeth states, 'If chance will have me king, why chance me crown me, without stir'. He is saying that if he becomes king that is good but he will not do anything to make himself king. As he admits, his only motive for the killing is 'Vaulting ambition'. I will now consider the nature of Macbeth's sin. The crime that has been committed is truly evil, but I do not believe that Macbeth is necessarily evil. The fact that Macbeth believes that he will never be forgiven indicates he is genuinely remorseful. The only reason Duncan was murdered was for Macbeth's personal gain. Macbeth had no real reason to kill him, as the king was a dear friend. There are many reasons that suggest that Macbeth should never be forgiven for this. The murder was in cold blood and it had been planned and not committed in the heat of the moment. Macbeth did not want to go through with it but Lady Macbeth induced him to do so. This is why I believe Macbeth is not evil because he was driven to it. ...read more.

Conclusion

He had fought a lot in battle and killed a lot of people but after the murder he can not handle all the guilt. His personality has changed. He admirers Lady Macbeth when she is at her most evil, saying she is 'undaunted mettle'. This is because she does not give up and pursues with her target. Macbeth is frequently associated with dark and night, asking for darkness to cover his feeling. 'Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires'. Goodness is represented by light and evil is represented by dark. For example, Macbeth using the cover of darkness to hide his crimes, 'Come, seeling night, scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day'. He is ashamed of what he is thinking. Macduff says of him 'Not in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evil to top Macbeth'. He thinks Macbeth is filled with evil. The name of his follower, Seyton is perhaps a pun of Satan. I do not believe that Macbeth is evil. The witches made him think a lot and this led him to do things he would never normally do. It was the witches who gave him the idea of being king and this is where things started to become bad. Macbeth goes to visit the witches again after the murder who tell him that no person can kill him that is born from women. He now thinks he is invincible. In my opinion, it is here that he loses his soul given that he carries on killing without feeling any guilt. It seems that Macbeth was not only an instrument of evil, but also the victim. 1 1 Harpreet Sekhon 10.1 ...read more.

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