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King Duncan's murder marks the beginning of MacBeth's downfall - Who can be held most responsible for this?

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Introduction

King Duncan's murder marks the beginning of MacBeth's downfall. Who can be held most responsible for this? In this essay I am going to be discussing who was mainly to blame for MacBeth's downfall. I am going to be looking at Lady MacBeth, the Three Witches and MacBeth himself. Shakespeare wrote this play for King James 1. The moral of the play demonstrates respect for the King and how there would be chaos if his authority was disrupted. Shakespeare shows us this when King Duncan is murdered, even nature is upset - horses go wild and start to attack each other, owls shriek and many more strange things happen. This idea would have pleased King James because in Shakespearian times Kings and Queens believed that they were chosen by God to rule over a nation. The play illustrates that killing a King would be like disobeying God's will. King James 1 was obsessed with witches and Shakespeare's use of them in 'MacBeth' would have pleased the King further. James believed that witches caused evil and they were the work of the devil. So when they appear to MacBeth in the play, and could ultimately cause his downfall due to their predictions, the King would have approved of this, and so approved of Shakespeare's work. ...read more.

Middle

People thought that they were a source of evil, and so they were very superstitious about people acting 'differently'. In 'MacBeth', Shakespeare introduces the witches as being very strange characters. He describes the, as, '... so withered and wild in their attire, that look not like th'inhibitants o'th'earth', '... by each at once her choppy finger laying upon her skinny lips; you should be woman and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so'. From this we can create a picture in our minds of very wild and weird looking women. In Shakespearian times if anyone had looked like this they would have been branded as a witch and killed. When MacBeth and Banquo first meet the witches they are returning home from a victorious battle. The witches give them both predictions. To MacBeth they say, 'All hail MacBeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. All hail MacBeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor. All hail MacBeth, that shalt be King hereafter'. The witches don't give MacBeth bad predictions they just tell him what will be in the future. Further on in the play, MacBeth returns to see the witches, forcing the, to tell him more predictions. They make apparitions appear to MacBeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that MacBeth has an image or picture of murder in his mind. The thought of murder is already there. Ultimately MacBeth had the choice to either kill or not kill Duncan, and he chose to. He did it because he wanted to, even though there was influence. But MacBeth was a strong man and could have said no. In the end temptation took over and he acted upon it - he murdered King Duncan. MacBeth showed real evil by doing this - evil that was already inside of him, it couldn't have been put there by somebody else, no matter how persuading they are. But Lady MacBeth and the Three Witches triggered this evil off. It made MacBeth go from a bold, valiant soldier, to a cold blooded killer. Shakespeare has put across the moral question, 'why is there evil and suffering in the world?'. He has answered this by showing how people can just change when they are faced with temptation and opportunity - opportunity to be something bigger than they already are. He shows that most people can never be happy with what they have and that they strive to have something bigger and better - no matter what they have to do, and who they have to hurt to get there. Kate Doyle 1 ...read more.

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