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Who is most responsible for King Duncan's death and the other subsequent murders?

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Introduction

Who is most responsible for King Duncan's death and the other subsequent murders? Shakespeare wrote "Macbeth" for King James. It was first acted out at Hampton Court Palace for the king and his brother-in-law, King Christian of Denmark, in August 1606. Shakespeare had based the play on an old story, but he made it much more dramatic than the historical fact. King James knew the story well because he was also King of Scotland and Banquo and Fleance were his ancestors. The biggest change that Shakespeare made to the story was that in the true story Banquo helped Macbeth to kill Duncan. He had to change this so that he wasn't suggesting that King James was a descendant of a murderer of a king Shakespeare knew of the kings interest of witchcraft and the king had even written a book about it. At the time most ordinary people believed in witchcraft as well so many people were interested in the play at the time. People at the time believed that the murder of a king was the greatest of all crimes. Kings were supposed appointed by God and rebellion against them was seen as rebellion against God himself. In the play, by killing Duncan, Macbeth receives the crown but loses everything for it; his friendships, his sanity and eventually his life. ...read more.

Middle

After the murder he realises what he has done is wrong. This is when Lady Macbeth tells him that now he has killed Duncan, he may as well carry on and become king instead of admitting to the murder. The murder leads to Macbeth becoming king because Malcolm and Donaldbain think that they will get the blame for their father's death. Donaldbain goes to Ireland and Malcolm flees to London. Macduff sees this as if they had done the murder and were now running away. The second murder in the play is that of Banquo. Macbeth kills him because the witches also said that Banquo would not be king but his descendants would. This is the star of Macbeth's loss of sanity. On one hand he murdered Duncan so that the witches prophesy would come true, now he tries to kill Banquo and Fleance so that their prophecy does not come true. He tries to kill Fleance so that he does not take the crown from Macbeth and he kills Banquo so that he does not have anymore children that could threaten Macbeth. Macbeth feels guilty about Duncan's murder but commits this murder to make it worth killing Duncan. It would not be worth it if Macbeth were not king for a long time and if one of Banquo's children took the crown from him. ...read more.

Conclusion

He tries to find Macduff and discovers that he is in London with Malcolm. As Macduff is in London Macbeth cannot reach him. So he kills Lady Macduff and their children because he cannot kill Macduff himself. This murder is motiveless and is done in cold blood. Macbeth does this to get at Macduff and hurt him in the worst possible way. Like Banquo's murder, Lady Macbeth knows nothing about it and the only other people that could be blamed for this is the witches for telling Macbeth to beware of Macduff and giving him the impression that he was invincible / immortal and could do anything. For all the murders in the play I think that Macbeth should be held responsible. Some of the blame should lie with the witches though because they were the people who gave Macbeth the idea to carry out the killings. The play finishes with Malcolm and Macduff camouflages their army with the branches from trees of Birnam Wood, so it looks as if the wood is moving to Dunsinane. Macduff and Macbeth fight and Macduff tells Macbeth that he was born by caesarean. " Tell thee, Macduff was from his mothers womb Untimely ripp'd." At the time this was seen as unnatural and so Macduff was not women born. Macbeth gives in when he hears this and Macduff gets his revenge by slaying Macbeth. I think that Macbeth committed the crimes and in the end pays the price for his actions. Mark Aucott ...read more.

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