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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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Josh F Keeler 10.02.2001 English Essay: Shakespeare "To what extent is it fair to place the main blame for the murder of Duncan on Macbeth" Three witches meet upon an open moor, accompanied by thunder and lightning, and so begins the demise of the tragic hero, Macbeth. Oblivious of his future, Macbeth is fighting valiantly for King and country, only later to be confronted by the three witches who foretell his future - Macbeth, King of Scotland. They meet at sunset upon a heath, as the witches had planned. While they await the arrival of Macbeth they recount their evil deeds and reveal their malicious natures. The beating of a drum announces his arrival. The witches summon a charm in preparation ready to put in effect on Macbeth. From here onwards, after Macbeth is faced with the prospect of being king, he is subject to many pressures. Although Macbeth was the one to wield the knife - is he the main person to be blamed for the murder? Macbeth is first mentioned but does not appear in Act 1-Scene 2. ...read more.


Banquo and Macbeth are amazed over this immediate fulfilment of what the second witch had prophesised. In an effort to avert suspicion from his guilty thoughts, he reminds Banquo of the prophecy concerning Banquo's descendants. But Banquo, not taken in at all, reminds Macbeth that there is still a prophecy promising Macbeth the throne. Banquo remains distrustful and warns Macbeth that the powers of evil sometimes tell small truths only to betray them in things of deeper consequence. Banquo clearly states that the witches are evil and that it will result in great trouble. Macbeth is aware of the evil that looms but does not want this to get in the way of his ambition of becoming king. A wave of guilt sweeps over Macbeth as the idea of killing Duncan to get to the throne has already occurred to him "My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man, that function Is smothered in surmise, and nothing is But what is not." Macbeth in his first soliloquy, reveals the struggle going on in his mind, the idea of killing Duncan. ...read more.


Upon Macbeth's arrival she discovers that King Duncan is to stay the night at their home. She greets this new information with an exultant joy, and prepares for his visit by calling upon the supernatural to harden her and make her callous and cruel. Lady Macbeth states with murderous intent that tomorrow will never come for Duncan. Knowing that Macbeth may be overcome with indecision, Lady Macbeth takes control and organises the murder. Macbeth displays his unwillingness by suggesting delay and further discussion. She ignores his plea and tells him to leave all the details to her. In Act 1-Scene 7 Macbeth's soliloquy reveals once more his indecisive weaknesses of character. His thoughts reveal to us that it is the prospect of retribution that holds him back from the deed and not his horror of murder. In addition, his duties as host, as relative, and as a subject all combine to discourage Macbeth from murdering Duncan. Lady Macbeth joins him and is told that he does not want to commit the murder. She is annoyed when he refuses to go on, giving as his reason his desire to enjoy for a while the new honours. ...read more.

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