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How far and in what ways does Shakespeare encourage the audience to consider Macbeth to not be responsible for the murder of Duncan?

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Introduction

How far and in what ways does Shakespeare encourage the audience to consider Macbeth to not be responsible for the murder of Duncan? In this essay I will endeavour to answer the above question and describe the techniques used by Shakespeare which aid him in achieving his goal. There are a number of factors which could lead the audience to the idea that Macbeth is not to blame. Throughout this essay I will explore each factor and mention how Shakespeare manipulates characters or how he uses dramatic techniques such as soliloquy and the use of thunder to effect. Firstly, the play is introduced by the three witches which not only sets the tone for the play to be very dark and sinister but it also gives the audience the impression that they have an important role in the play. This is partly because of their language which is also very ominous, especially when the witches say: "When the hurly-burly's done". The word "hurly-burly" suggests that the witches are out to cause chaos and mayhem and the fact that they say "When shall we meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain" suggests that they are quite creepy because they want to meet during a thunderstorm. This language used by the witches contributes to the dark and sinister tone of the play as it mentions thunder and lightning which can be associated with evil. ...read more.

Middle

One could say that because Lady Macbeth makes her husband take his ambitions (which are created by the witches) one step further and make him kill Duncan she is the most important reason for the murder. Upon hearing of the prophecy she immediately tries to persuade Macbeth to kill Duncan however when Macbeth is reluctant she starts to mock him by calling him a coward and says she is ashamed to have a husband like him. After Macbeth eventually agrees, his wife seems to seize control of the situation. This is shown when she says to Macbeth: "you shall put this night's great business into my dispatch". The language used here by Shakespeare is indicative of the fact that it is Lady Macbeth who is the one in control; the first two words "you shall" make the sentence sound imposing and commanding as if Macbeth must obey his wife and carry out the dastardly deed his wife calls "great business". The following scene is clearly a demonstration of how deceitful Lady Macbeth can be. It seemed that despite only moments before Lady Macbeth had been plotting to kill Duncan, she is able to greet him as a gracious hostess. This is once again an example of "fair is foul" she is being fair to Duncan while her inner thoughts are foul. ...read more.

Conclusion

This also lets the audience know that despite Lady Macbeth being in control most of the time, Macbeth is still trying to decide what the right thing to do is. However, the soliloquy shows that he eventually gives into the temptation, possibly due to the escapism which stems from the battle in his mind. I think that the three witches are partly responsible for the murder of Duncan because of their prophecy which ignited thoughts of power in Macbeth's mind however his wife can also be seen as the culprit due to the scheme she hatched. In addition to this she also took advantage of her husband's dilemma and manipulated him into killing Duncan. It is possible that Macbeth's selfish desires already existed (after all he is proclaimed a great warrior) and that the witches and his wife simply "added fuel to the fire". It is also likely that fate influenced the murder of Duncan by making Macbeth meet the witches and also by Macbeth becoming the Thane of Cawdor which strengthened his trust in the witches' prophecy. Shakespeare uses various techniques in order to encourage the audience to consider Macbeth to not be responsible nonetheless he was the one who physically committed the murder which is evidence that he is partly responsible. To sum up, I feel that Macbeth, the three witches and his wife all were partially responsible for the murder with fate arguably playing a small part. ?? ?? ?? ?? Arjun Bhatt 11T ...read more.

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