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How far is Macbeth responsible for his actions through out the play?

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How far is Macbeth responsible for his actions through out the play? "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" Macbeth can surely be responsible for the murder of King Duncan and others, but in this piece of coursework I will be describing whether Macbeth is primarily responsible for his actions of killing Duncan and than carrying on to kill, under the influences of the witches and his wife. Many think that Macbeth was innocent on his first encounter with the witches; also a lot think he already harbored a vaguely guilty ambition, to aspire to king. There is also no doubt that this is a natural interpretation in both cases but it is necessary to go into greater depth to fully debate this argument. Firstly I would like to introduce Macbeth a noble man and described to be a hero by his peers. He is a mighty soldier who was savage in battle and had no fear of killing, as he had killed many and a man in a brutal manor. By, "chopping him form the nave to the chops." This image could already from the out start be used to suggest that Macbeth was a brutal thoughtless killer and was capable of th future murders. He could have simply killed Macdonwald at the start of the play, but took great pleasure in killing him brutally. On the other hand, it could be argued that he was a honourable man, who was in such great anger and loving his king so highly, that when he came to the face the traitor he thought it his duty to make him suffer. ...read more.


The murdering did not even stop at the murdering of his enemies and we are told that he keeps killing throughout the play, but even led to the murdering of his best friend and companion. Firstly, his guilty ambition, whether to murder or just pure ambition, must have been known to his wife. This is because on reading the letter, she so instantaneously assumes that the king must be killed, also when Macbeth meets his wife, is aware that this thought was in her mind (as he evidently does). But his ambition can be turned into an already thought through plan. In act 1, sc. 7, where lady Macbeth is urging Macbeth to do the deed, In this scene lady Macbeth asserts that Macbeth has already proposed the murder to her and that when he proposed it to her and was willing to commit the deed and swore to do it, although there seemed no opportunity. This promise though has a flaw, if this promise had been made with a sincere intent, then Macbeth would not have been in such a conscious struggle through out the play as he so evidently does. It is more agreeable to say that Macbeth had made this promise in a resolution to his wife on the assumption that no such opportunity would ever arise. It could be described as a manly declaration to his wife. Lady Macbeth, whom I believe has the most influence over Macbeth, knew from the outset of receiving the information that Macbeth would not be willing to kill the King, this is good evidence from the beginning that Macbeth was not so cruel and heartless as he latter becomes. ...read more.


Duncan and his actions after could be finally explained by insanity and Macbeth slowly losing his mind, as so does his wife. Before Macbeth commits the deed of killing Duncan, he begins to see a dagger in front of him. One he can see, but not touch: one that floats but has no strings. This account from Macbeth must mean he was hallucinating. Also, the killing of Banquo is shown to be a quite prominent case of insecurity and losing his ability to think rationally. He feels that everybody is plotting against him and realizes that Banquo's children will inherit the throne and he shall have no kids. He says: They hailed him farther to a line of kings. Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, And put a barren sceptre in my gripe, Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand, No son of mine succeeding. I believe and It can be concluded that the effect that Lady Macbeth held on Macbeth was very high and that her constant relaxed talk and pressure would have caused a change in Macbeth and this could be related to life. Today all life's structures are run by peer groups setting trends and fashions, that others are inclined to follow. If one group pressures you, it will cause you to slowly change consciously and unconsciously. For these reasons I believe that Lady Macbeth is responsible for changing Macbeth and causing him to kill Duncan and after trapping Macbeth in this deed he is already fallen and can no longer stop under her permanent influence. ...read more.

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