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How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan?

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Introduction

How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan? Macbeth was written in about 1605 and performed at Hampton Court in 1606 for King James I and his brother-in-law, King Christian of Denmark. It was premiered at The Globe Theatre like most of Shakespeare's plays. There can be little doubt that aspects of the play were intended to please James I, who was by this time the patron of Shakespeare's theatre group. For example, the character of Banquo, the legendary root of the Stuart family tree, is depicted very favourably, perhaps to please the king (a Stuart). The play is quite short, possibly because Shakespeare knew that James preferred short plays, and contains a supernatural element that James, who himself published a book on witches and how to detect them, would have appreciated. The material for the play was drawn from a real account in Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles, but Shakespeare and subsequent readers and editors classified it as a tragedy, not a history. This is perhaps due to the fact that the story contains many fabrications, including the entirely fictional character of Banquo. In addition to these fictionalizations, Shakespeare took many liberties with the original story, including manipulating the characters of Macbeth and Duncan to suit his purposes - pleasing King James. In Holinshed's account, Macbeth is a ruthless and valiant leader who, after killing Duncan, rules competently and fairly for many years, while Duncan is a young and soft-willed man, not a particularly good ruler. ...read more.

Middle

In act 2, Macbeth has a vision of a bloody dagger floating before him and leading him to Duncan's room. When he hears Lady Macbeth ring the bell to signal the completion of her preparations, Macbeth follows through with his part of the plan and leaves for Duncan's room. We certainly know that the direct responsible for Duncan's death is Macbeth. However this does not necessarily mean he is to blame, for his violent death is obviously the consequence of certain influences that forced Macbeth to perform his fatal deed. Furthermore, to unearth the truth about who is really the guilty for Duncan's murder we must explore the influences the different characters have on Macbeth's impulses and the overall scenario of the slaying. Firstly, we shall consider Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, as they are the two who planned and performed the murder. Although after the witches told Macbeth that he was to be king and he was burning in desire to be so he, on first instance, decided that if fate had determined that he was to be the sovereign of Scotland he shouldn't try to be reach the throne by his own actions, that it would come eventually: "If Chance will have me king, why, Chance may crown me, without my stir". However, it was Lady Macbeth who convinced him to slay the king so that he could usurp the throne: "Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear". ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally, one last culpable for Duncan's death is Duncan himself. His own blind trust in the members of his court even though one of them had all ready betrayed him is what doomed him. Ironically when Duncan refers to the original Thane of Cawdor after he was told of his execution: "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face: he was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust", he is unconsciously referring to other Thane of Cawdor as well, this is, Macbeth, as if this was what he would have said after his own murder. The crucial mistake Duncan made was to trust "the same person" twice, the Thane of Cawdor. This fault was fatal as it proved to be later on. In conclusion we can say that the witches are the main individuals to blame for the regicide as they started the series of events that eventually lead to the death of King Duncan by hand of Macbeth, induced by her wife who was blinded by her thirst for power. In addition Duncan is also responsible for his own decease for he wasn't able to learn from his previous error of trusting the Thane of Cawdor who finds the avengement of his death when Macbeth takes the life of his executioner by decree. By Adam Cox 10Q - Ms.Collins ...read more.

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