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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.

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. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    at all, and she has not the imagination to predict any difficulty in carrying out the plan and getting away with it. There are no full stops in Lady Macbeth's description of her tactics, which would indicate two things. She wants to tell Macbeth quickly, before he can change his

  2. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    "We fail?" she would crow ironically, as if it were impossible, a joke. "We'll not fail." As soon as these words are said, all of the audience will be severely dismayed, depressed even. They know that Macbeth has give into her, and will wish that they could somehow tell Macbeth to not listen to his wife.

  1. 'Macbeth' gives us a classic example of the literary definition of a 'tragic hero'. ...

    his mind, especially once he becomes Thane of Cawdor, as they also prophesied. In Act One Scene Three he says, 'Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor: / The greatest is behind.' He then has a lengthy aside in which he thinks of the idea of murdering Duncan, saying, 'My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical...'

  2. How can blame be apportioned in “Macbeth”?

    Another thing that bothers him is that he has the demeanor of a king and that the witches promised Banquo a lineage of kings while they only promised him to be king. He refuses to accept that he turned evil just for Banquo's lineage to be kings and so decides to challenge Fate by killing Banquo and his descendants.

  1. Lady Macbeth is most to blame for Duncan's murder. Discuss.

    was his own ambition that helped these seeds to grow into thoughts of murder. Macbeth was the first character to think of murder. This is indicated in his first soliloquy by phrases such as "why do I yield to that suggestion, whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make

  2. To What Extent Can Macbeth Be Defended For The Murder Of Duncan?

    but instead he decided to act on them, showing how easily influenced he was. The witches are the very first characters to speak of Macbeth and this links him with evil and the supernatural in the audience's mind for the rest of the play, so we are not surprised that

  1. Who Do You Blame For The Murder Of Duncan.

    Then as if to annoy Macbeth, Duncan says that they shall celebrate his successor at Macbeths home. Macbeth see that chance will not make him king and decides to do something about, he writes a letter to his wife telling her of the witches, and his new title.

  2. Who was too blame for the murder of King Duncan?

    She calls upon the witches of whom she has never seen nor heard speak and she tells them to fill her to the brim with evil. Later on in the play (Act 1 scene 7) when Macbeth flinches from killing Duncan, Lady Macbeth says 'Does unmake...

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