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Is Lady Macbeth the real driving force behind the murder of King Duncan?

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Introduction

Is Lady Macbeth the real driving force behind the murder of King Duncan? Shakespeare's Macbeth centres around a general whose fate takes a devious twist. He meets three witches who later predict his future to become the King of Scotland. After his wife hears of the prophecies, her ambition and desire to become Queen takes control of their relationship, so much so, that she persuades Macbeth into assassinating the King. At the time of the play, the King of England, James I, was petrified of witches, to such a degree, that he passed a law condemning anyone, thought to be involved in witchcraft, to death. Witchcraft was so feared; people associated it with evil, the devil and hell. Witches were believed to see into the future, had the ability to make people go insane and were able to cast spells, by chanting. These all play an imperative role in "Macbeth." Macbeth and Banquo return from a winning battle, over a Scottish heath, as the atmosphere turned foul and menacing. "So foul and fair a day" The repugnant witches they were about to encounter earlier used the oxymoron. The dark and grim atmosphere could even be reflecting on what was about to happen. ...read more.

Middle

An element of cunning also shines through, as she's even willing to indoctrinate her husband. Once again we were able to witness her emotionless and manipulative character as she tells Macbeth to hurry home, possibly to get him prepared to kill Duncan and to become King. The eradication of the King was to happen sooner than they both thought. Lady Macbeth receives news that King Duncan is to come and celebrate with them at the castle. After hearing of the news, she addresses ethered spirits, probably because Lady Macbeth feels, being a lady carries certain implications, which would stop her from murdering the King. "The raven himself is hoarse..." The raven is a symbol of evil or death. Contacting the malevolent forces to diminish her venereal femines fates, and to replace them with devious traits. "Come you spirits. That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here" Once again, she doesn't feel she has the mental power to kill the King so she calls upon the dark spirits. Her role as a mother was imagined as if she wants the spirits to feed off her. "Take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers." Her quest to be filled with evil continues, as she wants the darkness of hell to consume the castle. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth suggests to frame the guards by smearing them with Duncan's blood. This is what Lady Macbeth thought but gave Macbeth chance to answer so she can explain how it wasn't her plan if anything was to go wrong. At the beginning of this scene Macbeth was adamant that he wasn't to take part in the murder, as he was too loyal to the King but now contradicting his decision he is going to kill the King. Another contradiction from earlier is that he is now composed and tranquil... "I am settled" The word settle implies a calm and relaxed atmosphere, whilst also meaning he is ready to Kill the King. Act 2, Scene 2 we witness the aftermath of the murder. Lady Macbeth is nervous, not using many pauses in her speech, although she tries to hide her uneasy feeling convincing herself everything has gone to plan. "It was the owl that shrieked the fatal bellman," She believes this sound of the owl indicates King Duncan's death. Macbeth has the same feelings as Macbeth uses short, quick and pause less sentences representing the jumpy and edgy mood. "Who's there? What ho!" Again, short question and exclamation displaying his fear of becoming caught. He is already experiencing his guilty conscience, and wishing he hadn't committed the deed. 'Lady Macbeth is the real driving force behind the murder of Duncan' - 1/5 ...read more.

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