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What influences Macbeth to make the decision to kill Duncan in Act 1?

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Introduction

What influences Macbeth to make the decision to kill Duncan in Act 1? William Shakespeare wrote a thrilling, dramatic, theatre production, filled with witchcraft, betrayal and women with the lust for power. Between 1603 and 1606 Macbeth was written for James who was king of Scotland, the play is set in 1050 and with king James obsessed with witchcraft and paranoia with killings of kings which links to his ancestors Banquo. Also this theatre production compliments James ancestor Banquo as a hero on this production. This theatre production includes the murder of a king which in the time when James was on throne this would not be allowed because kings were chosen by God and only a king could kill a king. Also the use of witches within the story line, which James the king of Scotland was interested in. James was so obsessed with the subject he wrote a book 'Demonology'. This play explores kingship and loyalty which were most important to James who had earlier in his life survived an assassination attempted followed by his father's murder. There are three major influences which affect Macbeth and cause him to commit regicide: Macbeth was a very ambitious man so when he hears that he will not be king after the glorious king Duncan dies, although he has gone to war and slaved over the king's feet for them to push him aside. Macbeth meets the 3 witches to hear what the witches had to say about him becoming king. He starts to consider if this is even possible and how he can become king. Also Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth into killing king Duncan. She bullies him, threatens him and calls him a 'coward' to manipulate Macbeth. The opening of scene 1 is dramatic and atmospheric, Shakespeare deliberately uses pathetic fallacy, through the 'thunder and lightning' to evoke the evilness of the witches. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth uses images of darkness to hide his thoughts 'stars hide your fires, let not light see my black desires' linking with the witches which shows that he has been influenced with his decision. Scene five begins with 'Lady Macbeth alone with a letter'. Lady Macbeth is reading the letter her husband has sent, which tells her about his meeting with the witches and they have predicted ambitious Macbeth to become king. He explains how he was called 'hail, king that shalt be'. This news excites Macbeth and he starts to consider the possibilities of becoming king. The intensity of his ambitious feelings is evident 'I burned in desire to question them further', further showing Macbeth as a character. He is eager to tell Lady Macbeth, his dearest partner of greatness' showing how he likes to share everything with her. She feels Macbeth would make a worthy king but feels that although he is a good soldier, he is too kind, too good hearted to slaughter for his throne, also will not be able to commit regicide. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth suggests that they are very close, which is unusual in 1050. Women would have been considered second class citizens, they are there to run the house and have children, which completely contradict Lady Macbeth's character. Macbeth urges her to keep quiet about the news 'lay it to thy heart' so that Macbeth can later speak to her in person. At this point lady Macbeth is more determined than ever to succeed in her husband becoming king because of the manipulative (on Macbeth), ruthless (would kill and slaughter anybody how get in the way of Macbeth becoming king) character who wants power (to become queen of Scotland). Also is portrayed as the dominant character of their marriage as she talks of arguing with Macbeth, 'chastise with the valour of my tongue' as she is disappointed due to him talking about not thinking about the throne. ...read more.

Conclusion

As her husband wavers, Lady Macbeth enters like a hurricane and blows his hesitant thoughts away. She spurs Macbeth to treason by disregarding his rational, moral arguments and challenging his manhood. Basically, she dares him to commit the murder, using words that taunt rather than persuade. Under her spell, all of Macbeth's objections seem to evaporate and he is left only with a weak 'If we should fail?' to set against her passionate challenge The idea of a moral order is present in these scenes, although in muted form. Macbeth knows what he does is wrong, and he recognizes that there will surely be consequences. As we have seen, his soliloquy reveals his awareness that he may be initiating a cycle of violence that will eventually destroy him. Macbeth is not a good man at this point in the play, but he is not yet an evil one, he is tempted, but he tries to resist temptation. Macbeth's resistance, however, is not vigorous enough to stand up to his wife's ability to manipulate him. In the play there are three major influences throughout the act, his power hungry wife lady Macbeth, his desire and ambition to become king after all those growling battles he had won for his leash and the manipulative witches' prophecies. I believe that the greatest influence to Macbeth on killing king Duncan is all of them. Lady Macbeth manipulated Macbeth so much that he was not aloud to stop thinking about the killing of Duncan. Also Lady Macbeth's persuasion and manipulation in scene five undutiful over whelmed Macbeth. But all this would not have been calved in to Lady Macbeths mined if the witches chant had not of be spoke. Also if Macbeth did not have that inner ambition and desire to become king he would not of had the same attitude toward the chant or Lady Macbeth's persuasion. I feel that although there are many influences from many directions like a spiders web, spun together creates a trap that kills. Ambition and self importance is Macbeth's gossamer thread inevitably leading to King Duncan's death. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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