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Is Macbeth responsible for his actions?

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Is Macbeth responsible for his actions? By Zaman Durani As soon as we start to read the play, we learn that Macbeth has earned himself a honourable reputation, and is described by king Duncan as a 'valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!' His loyalty and bravery are portrayed through his defeat of the Norwegian army and Scottish rebels, and he returns from battle, a gallant and reputable soldier. The extent of his courage is shown as he is interminably praised by his noblemen, has become a hero of Scotland, and the thane of Cawdor, although he does not know this yet. Whilst returning from a tough battle, he meets the three witches. They are dark, mysterious creatures, who are portrayed as supernatural beings that symbolise evil. We are shown their evil characteristics when they utter the phrase, 'Fair is foul and foul is fair', which means good is evil and evil is good. Their evil appearance raises questions about their gender, 'you should be women\ And yet your beards forbid me to interpret, \ That you are so', which is able to shroud the readers in a vague understanding of their existence. ...read more.


(2,2,31). Could God have forsaken Macbeth, and had not allowed him to utter 'Amen', or could the witches have been controlling him, not permitting him to utter the word. There are clearly some different factors, working to affect Macbeth's judgments and actions. We have the witches who have given him an incentive to try and gain the throne, by telling him he will become king, although they didn't tell Macbeth how, and it was up to him how he interpreted their prophecies. There is the possibility that the witches could have some sort of supernatural control, over Macbeth, although that is uncertain. The last factor is Lady Macbeth, who is a very big influence, denouncing Macbeth's manhood, if he dare withdraw from the deadly deeds that they involved themselves in. At this moment, Macbeth is starting to arouse suspicion in Banquo, as we see when his thoughts revealed to us in (Act three Scene I), 'I fear\Thou play'dst most foully for't,' (Ln 2-3), but Macbeth has other plans for Banquo. In a very revealing soliloquy, in the same scene, Macbeth reveals to us his deepest feelings and desires, 'our fears in Banquo/Stick deep,'(Ln 48,49). ...read more.


There is a possibility that the supernatural powers harnessed by the witches could have been use to control Macbeth, and force him to carry out the evil acts that he fulfilled, although we are not informed of any such goings on, and so cannot be sure of it. However that doesn't signify that the witches didn't have any influence to manipulate Macbeth. They provided him with notions that he will become king, and that he would not succumb to death from a man born of a woman. How he achieved those prophecies was his undertaking, and in the end it was wholly his choice of the path he would take to attain the high-ranking titles he was prophesied. His ambition would lead him astray. Lady Macbeth was a huge influence, and was the milestone between good and evil. Eventually she tipped the balance and was able to sway Macbeth into her wicked ideology. After this, Macbeth reinforced himself in his murderous and immoral actions, up to the point when he couldn't care less when his wife died. Seeped in his self-confidence, he was distraught when one by one the prophecies began to betray him, and he paid the inevitable price. Therefore, I feel that Macbeth was responsible for his actions. ...read more.

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