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"Lady Macbeth is the real driving force behind the murder of Duncan."

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Introduction

"Lady Macbeth is the real driving force behind the murder of Duncan." William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth for James ?. James ? was king of Scotland and became king of England after Queen Elizabeth I's death. James I actively supported theatre and gave lots of money to support it. He believed very strongly in witchcraft and the supernatural. A curse was put on him, which strengthened his belief, and kept witches being executed. James I never died from the curse but it kept his belief in their power very strong. In act 1 scene 3 it starts by Macbeth and Banquo meeting the witches on the health. It starts by Macbeth being told by the witches that he would be thane of Glamis and thane of Cawdor. Macbeth acts excited, is very curious, and wants to believe the prophecy. Macbeth also seems disbelieving, not because he does not believe their power, but because he can't imagine being Cowdor or King. Macbeth takes the prophecy very seriously and gets lost in his thoughts. He tries to puzzle out how the prophecy may be true but nothing suggests that he was thinking of murdering King Duncan at this stage. But like anyone he is thinking how it could be possible to become King. As for Banquo he is apprehensive and thinks the witches were a hallucination. ...read more.

Middle

She calls upon evil spirits to take away all her womanly qualities that might hinder them: love, compassion, pity etc. "Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here..." She asks to be relieved of guilt and remorse and to be filled with cruelty. "...And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty [...] stop up the access and passage to remorse..." By doing this she shows that she believes in the supernatural and its abilities, therefore showing belief in the witches too. She will be the hostess but also plan and, at this point anyway, carry out the actual murder with Macbeth. Macbeth is surprised at his wife's ambition and deceit and it shows: "Your face, my thane, is as a book where men may read strange matters," Lady Macbeth comments. She continues to organize everything on her own, "Leave all the rest to me", telling her husband to "look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under 't". However, Macbeth is not convinced, and tells his wife that they "will speak further". In scene 7, Macbeth has found many reasons to not go ahead with the murder. Ambition is his only reason to commit regicide. After he tells his wife that "we will proceed no further in this business", Lady Macbeth tries to persuade her husband to commit the murder through questioning his ...read more.

Conclusion

They go back to bed and wait for the deed to be uncovered. Is Lady Macbeth the real driving force behind Duncan's murder? We have all the evidence above to show that she is the more ambitious one. Without Lady Macbeth, Macbeth would have never committed the murder himself; he was willing to wait for chance to crown him without his stir. He had thought of reasons not to go ahead with the murder, but was easily manipulated by Lady Macbeth, and after the murder, while he displayed visible signs of remorse and guilt, Lady Macbeth remained in control and seemingly guiltless. However, later in the play, it was Lady Macbeth that took her own life, having gone mad and become unable to live with the guilt any longer, and it was Macbeth that became hardened and cruel to the end. He showed no grief at his own wife's death. In my opinion, it would be too easy to blame Lady Macbeth for everything. I think that the witches are accountable for starting the events that happened in "Macbeth". I believe that they started a chain reaction. How can we be sure that they were prophesizing, revealing fate? Did they just encourage Macbeth to believe in his fate hard enough that it somehow happened? I think so. Out of context, Lady Macbeth is the real driving force, the guilty party, but in context of the entire play, I think she played a far smaller role than we credit her with. ...read more.

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