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To what extent is it fair to place the main blame for the murder of Duncan on Macbeth?

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JAMES MARSHALL 1/2/01 English Essay: Shakespeare To what extent is it fair to place the main blame for the murder of Duncan on Macbeth? It is obvious that Macbeth did actually kill Duncan, but is Macbeth really to blame for his actions? There are many other factors to take into account. One reason for Macbeth's actions is that he was under a lot of pressure from other people and changes in his life. Also there maybe a supernatural element to take into account for the killing of Duncan by Macbeth, which may have influenced Macbeth's decisions. There also maybe of coarse, no-body else that could have influenced Macbeth and just Macbeth himself. Or maybe all of the different pressures and influences combined together, making one mass attack on Macbeth's mind. The blame for the murder of Duncan could be placed on anyone's shoulders, but who do we blame specifically? Do we blame Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, The Three Witches, or was it the atmosphere and society of the 11th century? The most obvious person to blame for the murder of Duncan is Macbeth. This is because he actually took hold of the knife and stabbed Duncan. Therefore he should be and feel responsible for the murder. ...read more.


So Macbeth decided to kill Duncan himself, to make the prophecy come true. He was greedy, because the witches forced Macbeth into killing Duncan through temptation. But, Macbeth could have backed out at any point along the road to the murder. Lady Macbeth influenced Macbeth by putting so much pressure onto Macbeth to kill Duncan, to give her and Macbeth a better life. Macbeth gets pushed around by her, and does whatever she tells him to. This may have caused Macbeth to murder Duncan, but again, Macbeth could have backed out at any point. Lady Macbeth first finds out about The Witches prophecies when he writes her a letter. He writes this letter because he knows he needs somebody to push him to kill Duncan. She drives him to the crown, and therefore acts as a catalyst to Macbeth. She bullies his and uses emotional blackmail against him. She knows that he has good positive morals, and so she has to push him. She ridicules him by saying: 'When you durst do it, then you were a man; And to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man.' This basically means that when he dared to do it, then he was a man. This is insulting towards Macbeth, because she knows he is a warrior and is mocking his bravery. ...read more.


Also, The Witches obviously aren't bluffing about their power, because they then hovered off, which is a tricky thing to do if you aren't a witch. This proves their power and their strength for the rest of the play. We fist get an idea of what the atmosphere is like in 11th century Scotland when Macbeth and Banquo appear. Macbeth says: 'So foul and fair a day I have not seen.' There is a contradiction here, because a day cannot be foul and fair at the same time. But what he may mean is that the weather is bad, but because of the victory over the Norwegians, it has made his day good. Perhaps The Witches made the weather bad with their evil presence. In the 11th century, it was not unusual for highly respected people to get murdered, so that other people could climb higher up the ranks. Macbeth may have just been following the custom of that time. The atmosphere of the 11th century is evidently that of an evil, brutal place. I conclude that Macbeth should take the main blame for the murder of Duncan. He actually committed the murder and let ambition and greed rule him, despite knowing the consequences. I think that the other three factors are less important, but acted as catalysts, working alongside the main factor. If the other three factors were taken away, then the murder would have still occurred, but not as quickly. ...read more.

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