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Examine the influences on Macbeth that persuade him to murder King Duncan.

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Introduction

Shakespeare Assignment Brad Gregory 11k Examine the influences on Macbeth that persuade him to murder King Duncan. In the Shakespeare play "Macbeth" the main character, Macbeth who begins as a proud soldier to his country, becomes a villainous tyrant, hell-bent on turning his previously beloved Scotland in to a bloodbath full of murder and misery. Without realising, the once loyal Macbeth is turned into a killing machine by the supernatural, his scheming wife Lady Macbeth and his own ambition. At the start of the play Macbeth is a highly praised soldier to king and country and a well respected honourable man. King Duncan, in act 1 scene ii, calls Macbeth, "O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!" This amount of praise from the King would be very rare which shows how much respect and even trust Macbeth has gained by his brave efforts in battle. The battle between Scotland and Norway had become a stalemate. With everyone becoming tired, Macbeth and his partner Banquo valiantly fight like warriors, so much in fact that Macbeth's "sword smoked with bloody execution." Macdonwald, the traitor meanwhile was slaughtering his own countrymen in a vicious act. The Thane of Glamis, Macbeth showed no mercy to Macdonwald and is described as "Bellona's Bridegroom", which says he is the same status as the God of war, as Bellona is the Goddess. ...read more.

Middle

Banquo, however says "what! Can the devil speak true?" The fact that the witches words are referred to as being from the 'devil' shows the theme of death and could be an early sign of the killings that are ahead but not yet mentioned. Banqou says this 'aside' to show how shocked he is. Macbeth is then told that the Thane of Cawdor was a traitor who will lose his life. Macbeth truly believes what the witches have said, He turns to Banquo and says, "Do you not hope your children shall be Kings..." Banquo is a little more questioning of the witches; he says, "That, trusted home, might yet enkindle you into the crown." Despite Banquo's wise words, Macbeth says aside, "two truths are told..." If he believes he will be king, he is likely to make it happen. The opening scene of Macbeth is short but relevant as the witches mention Macbeth; this gives us a link to him very early on, even before we meet him. The first scene also introduces one of the key themes of the supernatural. In the early 17th century witchcraft and the supernatural were common beliefs of people, the general public feared them. King James I, the Monarch of the time was deeply interested in the reality of witchcraft and even published a book called Demonology in 1597. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth does this cleverly so Macbeth still has no idea of what she is planning, but when Macbeth says, "To-morrow, as he purposes" his wife's response of, "O never shall that sun morrow see!" Shocks Macbeth deeply. We know that shocks Macbeth deeply because his wife calmly caries on to say; "your face my thane, is a book where men may read strange matters." Lady Macbeth knows that her husband has a conscience and therefore tries to explain what he has to do, "...look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under't." Macbeth however is not yet completely convinced and tells his wife, " we will speak further." Lady Macbeth does not give up and simply states "leave all the rest to me." This is very clever as Lady Macbeth leave her husband knowing that he will have very little to do to in his quest to become King, and this may sway his decision to kill King Duncan. At the start of Act 1 Scene 4 Macbeth finds out to his surprise that next in line to the thrown will be King Duncan's son, Malcolm. Any other man would see this as a sign to warn him off or see this as a huge problem in their quest for kingship. Macbeth however just sees this as another obstacle to overcome en route to the throne. Macbeth believes the witches 'truths', and with some encouragement from his ambitious wife there is nothing that can stop him completing his murderous journey. ...read more.

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