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To What Extent is Lady Macbeth responsible for her Husband's Assassination of King Duncan?

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To What Extent is Lady Macbeth responsible for her Husband's Assassination of King Duncan? The audience's interpretation as to who is to blame for the assassination of Kind Duncan is first determined after Act 1 and 2 are complete. Lady Macbeth's ability to influence her husband leads the audience to believe that she is purely to blame for King Duncan's death. However, simply blaming Lady Macbeth is unfair as it ignores the fact that Macbeth originally created the initial plan to kill King Duncan and should therefore be partially responsible. Throughout the play, Macbeth is constantly given the opportunity of choice. He primarily thought of the idea of killing King Duncan but he is seen to be debating his thoughts thoroughly during the play. As this plan first came from Macbeth we must partially blame him. However, due to his moral conscience which lies within him, he considers both sides to his plan and decides that it is wrong to kill King Duncan until his manipulative wife becomes involved. Macbeth fights nobly for the King. He is valiant and brave. He is seen as ferocious and barbaric as he fights so courageously in war. This is his public persona which is portrayed at the beginning of the play; "CAPTAIN: As sparrow's eagles, or the hare of a lion." This shows us his predatory nature, power and skill as the battlefield is highlighted amongst the captain, Duncan and others. ...read more.


Her wishes are somehow reminiscent of the witches chant first seen at the beginning of the play. There is a sense of urgency and determination within her speech and her ruthless ambition is portrayed to us. "LADY MACBETH: take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature's mischief." The constant alliteration of 'm' and the use of sibilance creates a chant-like effect, it makes her speech hypnotic. It is as if she has taken the role of her husband. Females are to have sympathy and be full of kindness as they are full of motherly love, however, the audience may be shocked to see that the primary role of women has been over run by the evil spirits she had provoked previously. A Jacobean audience would expect a women to nurture children however, Lady Macbeth has been replaced by a poison filled witch-like female. When Macbeth arrives, Lady Macbeth is seen to take control of the situation, she has already added to the plan, which Macbeth originally created to assassinate King Duncan. Lady Macbeth fears that Macbeth may be too mild to seize the throne. He has already been seen to speculate and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of killing King Duncan and this worries Lady Macbeth. She recognizes that Macbeth is not without ambition but is cowardly. ...read more.


Therefore there is not enough water which will was away his sins. The water in the sea will turn red due to the amount of blood which he has upon him; this blood can be seen as a symbol of his guilt. The water is a symbol of purity and he wished to be cleansed with it. Macbeth is trying to repent and wishes he had never committed the murder; "MACBETH: Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst." This line proves to us just how Macbeth is feeling the guilt which has swept over him. Later on Macbeth is seen to become a corrupt tyrant. He has hardened once again, and when he is forced to kill again he believes that he's killed before and theres no going back so he might as well carry on with the murder. The primary damage has already occurred and he got away with it; "MACBETH: Stepped in so far, that should I wade no more, Returning were so tedious as go o'er" Overall, Lady Macbeth is seen as the manipulative one, and Macbeth is portrayed as weak and vulnerable. However, Macbeth can also be seen as evil as he came up with the initial plan, this we must not forget. Although it may be argued that Lady Macbeth may be seen as a supportive wife she is clearly manipulative and the blame for the murder should be shared between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as this is fair and reasonable. GCSE English Coursework- Katie Hooper 1 ...read more.

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