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In my opinion, Lady Macbeth is not the main driving force behind King Duncan's murder.

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Introduction

Macbeth Essay In my opinion, Lady Macbeth is not the main driving force behind King Duncan's murder. The onus for this heinous deed rests with Macbeth himself, as he would have committed this treacherous act even if Lady Macbeth had not goaded him on. When the witches make their predictions, they told Macbeth that he would be Thane of Cawdor and then later King. I firmly believe that these predictions caused Macbeth to start thinking, and thus started a chain of events that ended up with Duncan being murdered. Macbeth's reaction to the witches' prophecy was one of fear and agitation. "Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?" says Banquo. I feel that Macbeth fears the prophecy because he had been thinking about becoming King before. Deep inside him, Macbeth had the ambition to become King, and this is exactly what the witches prophesized and it was as if they had read his mind. This must be the reason the witches had chosen Macbeth, and not Banquo or any other Thane in Scotland. The witches' prophecy ignited his deep dark ambition, and he starts to think about how he will become King. However, the witches cannot be held responsible for Duncan's murder because Macbeth already did have the thought of being King before. The thought was already in Macbeth's head, all the witches did was to act as a catalyst in making him pursue his ambition. Macbeth then becomes "rapt withal" because, I feel, he starts thinking about the different ways he can become King. ...read more.

Middle

She then tells him to disguise his real thoughts and deceive people into believing something. "Look like th' innocent flower, But be the serpent under't." Macbeth's will to murder Duncan wavers because he starts to list the reasons for why he should not stray onto the path of evil. He fears judgment from God and his conscience will haunt him for his entire life. "Bloody instructions, which being taught return To plague th' inventor". He then says that he is Duncan's "kinsman and his subject" and should protect Duncan since he is his host, and not "bear the knife myself." He says that Duncan is a good, kind and virtuous King and the only thing driving him towards Duncan's murder is his "vaulting ambition." (Macbeth is shown here as being a tragic hero, an otherwise noble and virtuous character who falls due to one particular flaw, ambition. There are many other Shakespearean plays with tragic heroes, such as Othello, which tells a story of a man destroyed by jealousy.) When his wife arrives Macbeth tells her that he will not murder Duncan. ("We will proceed no further in this business") This depicts Macbeth's confused state of mind and his vacillation whether or not to assassinate Duncan. Here, Lady Macbeth shows her deep resolve and when she persuades and manipulates Macbeth into killing Duncan. She accuses him of cowardice and lack of love for her. "And live a coward in thine own esteem." She claims that he was drunk when he promised her he would kill Duncan (although nowhere has the audience actually seen Macbeth promise this). ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth starts going mad with guilt from the sight of the blood, while Lady Macbeth just tells him to wash it off, as if nothing happened. She said that "My hands are of your colour; but I shame To wear a heart so white." From the murder onwards all the devious plots and plans were made by Macbeth and not Lady Macbeth. He is the one who kills Banquo, because he knows that Banquo suspects him of foul play. ("To be thus is nothing, But to be safely thus."). This shows that Macbeth is also quite evil and black hearted and will do anything to be King. From the murder onwards Macbeth is the real driving force and not Lady Macbeth. In conclusion the final responsibility for his actions rests with Macbeth himself. The witches' predictions did stroke his ambition and Lady Macbeth egged him on to commit acts of perfidy. However Macbeth always had a choice. Witches had predicted that Banquo's sons would be Kings. Banquo chose to do nothing- leaving matters to fate. Macbeth became Thane of Cawdor by being a loyal subject and he could have chosen to remain so until his destiny ordained him King. He could have easily said that since he was destined to be King it would somehow happen anyway. Instead he chose to murder his King and arranged to kill his best friend. His ambition drives him to rule as a tyrant, and he chose to abandon his former path of duty and honour - which ultimately leads to his downfall and tragic end. Aditya Kaul 10 A - 1 - ...read more.

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