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Who is most responsible for the death of King Duncan and how would you stage his demise?

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Who is most responsible for the death of King Duncan and how would you stage his demise? Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies: a drama of crime and punishment, of temptation, guilt, remorse and ambition. What makes Macbeth stand out from numerous other plays is the fact that witches played a main role in the storyline. King James was monarch at the time, and believed that witches were in existence - any suspected witches under the reign of James were put to death. Writing popular plays for the king was vital for Shakespeare's reputation, and hence his career. It is thought therefore, that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth primarily for the king. In addition to this, Macbeth was written in a time of fear, ignorance and religious intolerance. All of these mentioned are relevant to the matter of who is responsible for King Duncan's death. At first glance it seems quite evident to some that Macbeth was most responsible for King Duncan's death due to the fact that he actually killed the king. However, there were many other people involved with the murder including the three witches, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, and even the king himself. I shall begin by showing you what made Macbeth so responsible. Macbeth's greatest weakness is ambition. But it all started when the witches made several prophecies in front of Macbeth and Banquo: "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee thane of Glamis! All hail Macbeth! ...read more.


Come to my women's breasts, and take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers, wherever in your sightless substances you wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, to cry, 'hold, hold!'" Lady Macbeth went beyond human nature in order to bring herself to 'murder' the king. Although she didn't physically murder the king, in effect she did because she had to convince Macbeth, and drug the guards so that they would not wake up. When Macbeth says that the person who dares to do more than is appropriate to a man is not really a man, Lady Macbeth replies with the following, questioning his manhood: "When you durst do it, then you were a man; and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man." The language that Shakespeare chooses to use for Lady Macbeth is very articulate and persuasive - when Macbeth asks her what would happen if they fail, she speaks defiantly: "We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail." Although they managed to kill the king, they by no means got away with it. It seems amazing that Lady Macbeth went mad before Macbeth himself, and even killed herself. ...read more.


The chamber that they were in was well lit, but outside where Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were was cold and pitch black. Despite it being much easier to perform the murder scenes for a film than on stage, if I were to stage the king's demise, it would be similar to that of Polanski's, based on the fact that his worked so very well. In order to be successful, you need to be able to create an uncertain and mysterious atmosphere. The lighting should be dark where Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are, but well lit where the king is enjoying himself. Macbeth's hallucinations should make it clear to the audience what exactly is going on, and there should be added sound effects to make the overall situation even more unusual. The dagger could be hung down from the ceiling on some very fine wire to make it even more realistic. The costumes that the characters wear should suit both the time that Macbeth was written in, and what classes the people belong to. For example, the noblemen should wear expensive clothes, whereas the porter should wear the less-expensive clothes. Macbeth should come back from the murder scene with blood all over his front, sweating, and with untidy hair. He should also be in a great deal of distress. All of this would add to the tension, thus making the murder scene even more upsetting and perhaps more difficult to take. ...read more.

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