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What factors lead Macbeth to kill Duncan?

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Introduction

What factors lead Macbeth to kill Duncan? There are a number of factors to be considered in determining what factors lead Macbeth to kill Duncan. The main four that I am going to look at in this essay are the Witches, Lady Macbeth, Duncan and Macbeth himself. The witches are portrayed as evil by their very presence in the play they would have been perceived thus. In Shakespeare's day witches were feared and hated and so audiences would be naturally apprehensive of their appearance on stage. It is easy to assume that Shakespeare wanted them to appear like that. So therefore I think Shakespeare would have intended that they play quite a large part in Macbeth's decision to kill Duncan. However, this does not seem to be completely right but your point of view depends on whether you think the witches are evil or not. They do not actually say or even suggest the possibility of murder to Macbeth - they just say he will be king. The idea of murder comes from within Macbeth himself as soon as the witches say he will be king - it could be said they open him up to the possibilities of what lies within his own heart - whether that is good or evil. ...read more.

Middle

She attacks his manliness, saying she is more man than him, that she can keep an oath, that she has no problem with killing. It is obvious that Lady Macbeth is much more intelligent than Macbeth himself. She tricks him into thinking he had sworn to do the murder and doesn't let him dwell on this by shocking him with the image of killing what would be their child. He does not get a chance to think about it and as she fires more and more questions at him, trying to convince him to kill Duncan, he becomes bewildered. Also, she shocks him with the image of her killing her child, saying that she would have the 'courage' to do this, yet not long ago he was on a battlefield - he is depicted almost as a 'killing machine'. You can tell that she knows how to play Macbeth's ignorance by confounding him so that he cannot get a argument together. I think Lady Macbeth is much more of an influence than the Witches. Whether or not the witches put the idea of the murder into Macbeth's mind, she immediately grabs onto it. ...read more.

Conclusion

All though I know that Macbeth is not very intelligent, he does seem to be taken in by the witches very easily. Banquo resists the witches' promises and isn't taken in by it - he says "And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray's in deepest consequences". Macbeth's ambition is not as great as Lady Macbeth's, but it is present. I said earlier about how Lady Macbeth is willing to give up everything, even her soul, to be queen; Macbeth is willing to go to hell to be king - "We'll jump the life to come". In conclusion, I think that Macbeth himself was the most important factor in the murder of Duncan. He was weak and easily led, by both the witches and by his wife, Lady Macbeth. He is not intelligent but he should still be capable of sticking to his own decisions. Duncan did not deserve to be killed and I do not feel it was a fault of his own, Macbeth did not even consider anything like this. He was inherently evil and the first thing his mind jumped to was murder. ...read more.

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