• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Who was responsible for the downfall of Scotland?

    is man alone who causes chaos in the world by destroying order, which is what Macbeth did, when he killed the King. On the other hand, the witches did play on Macbeth's fears in Act four scene one. Two of the four apparitions he was shown were children 'a bloody

  2. Responsibility for the murder of King Duncan?

    She knows that if the night is dark then she will feel dark inside her and this will help her to perform the murderous action, this is an example of pathetic fallacy. Lady Macbeth says that the smoke is from hell and this represents the passion and desire and her evil desire to work with Satan on this sinful deed.

  1. "Who Is Responsible for King Duncan's Murder & Macbeths Downfall".

    The rain was pouring hard, lightning and thunder had struck, the owls shrieked and many other strange things happened that night. This indicated that the witches had played part in the killing of King Duncan. After everything else that happened, they lead Macbeth to even more danger.

  2. King Duncan's murder marks the beginning of Macbeth's downfall. Who can be held mostly ...

    Shakespeare perhaps included the witches for dramatic effect and to show that the evil against the divine order could not come from a human being but from 'unnatural' beings. The divine order was an order decided by God that Jacobeans of that era believed in, and anything unnatural that was to occur was against this divine order.

  1. King Duncan's murder marks the begging of Macbeth's downfall. Who can be held mostly ...

    She will do anything to be queen. This is the effect on the audience. * Lady Macbeth plays a big role in Kings Duncan's murder . She guides Macbeth to killing King Duncan. She tries to make Macbeth stronger and be more ambitious and aggressive.

  2. Free essay

    King Duncan's murder marks the beginning of Macbeth's downfall, who is mostly responsible for ...

    is so consumed by guilt she commits suicide but by this time Macbeth doesn't even care as he continues on the path to self-destruction. Early in the play the King refers to her as an "honourable hostess" and she does fulfil her role among the nobility and is well respected like Macbeth.

  1. Is Macbeth ultimately responsible for his downfall?

    In the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth is more ambitious than her husband, and wants to see them in power. She is the one who convinces Macbeth to commit murders to become more powerful. We see several instances of Lady Macbeth being much more determined to achieve her ambitions of becoming powerful and important than Macbeth.

  2. Who is mainly responsible for the evil in Macbeth?

    the reigns of the deadly deed and convinces him to do the deed using all she knows about him to do so, and with his manhood unseam'd from the "nave to the chaps" Macbeth agrees that he will carry out the deed, though vaguely reluctant.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work