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Who is responsible for the death of Duncan?

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Introduction

Who is responsible for the death of Duncan? Lewis Buckley 10A Who is responsible for the death of Duncan? In order to answer this question you must look at the play carefully as the question is not as simple as it seems. Although Macbeth murdered the king the question of who is actually responsible is a debateable one. The witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth himself are all important characters and I will look at these in my essay. I will examine too, the situation surrounding the death of Duncan. The supernatural plays a very big part in Macbeth and I think that the witches do have a part to play in the murder of Duncan. Whilst not really responsible they certainly contributed to his killing. In their first encounter with Macbeth they are portrayed as quite eerie. They talk in mystic riddle and rhyme. I think that Shakespeare chose to start the play with these witches in order to portray a sense of uneasiness with the audience and also to represent mistrust which is prevalent throughout the play. The fact that Macbeth echoes their words when he meets them, in the first line that is spoken by him indicates that they have a powerful part in the plot. Macbeth then goes on to address the witches: 'Speak if you can: what are you?' Then the first witch replies and talks of the past: 'All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis.' It is to be taken note of that as yet there is no mention of Banquo as the next witch continues, talking of the ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth first hears of the witches in a letter sent by Macbeth via a messenger to her. Her immediate response in her mind is clear and must have gone this way 'The easiest way for us to go about becoming King and Queen is by getting rid of what already is there: King Duncan' Of course she realises that only her husband can cause this to happen but she fears that he 'too full of the milk of human kindness/ To catch the nearest way'. She is worried because her husband is actually too nice. How bizarre! Then, again bringing the supernatural into the play, Lady Macbeth calls on the devil for help in Act 1, Scene 5 where she calls: 'Come you mortal spirits, That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here' It is often said that it is not natural, not normal and the domain of mentally ill people to murder another human. Lady Macbeth knows that she nor her husband are persons such as this and so she is asking for her womanly compassion and kindness to be removed from her by spirits so that she may become like a man, brave and strong almost as a warrior like her husband even. She continues: 'And fill me from the crown to the toe topfull Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, Stop up th'access and passage to remorse' Here she is actually asking to be made evil, having her blood thickened or polluted with evil and is asking to not feel pity or remorse, repentance or compunction. ...read more.

Conclusion

After all it would be wrong to murder such a being. By the end of this soliloquy he has reasoned to himself that he shall not murder the King because: 'Vaulting ambition which o'erleaps itself And falls on th'other - ` Of course then, as I have previously discussed Lady Macbeth then persuades Macbeth back into committing this crime. But of course Macbeth should not have allowed himself to have him ideas changed by his wife, but he did, so he is responsible for what went on to happen. In conclusion I believe that the responsibility for the ultimate killing of King Duncan does not lie with one single individual. Rather all have a part to play in it. The witches inspired Macbeth to murder the King. He jumped upon the idea, liked it and believed without hesitation that he could trust these witches and what they said to him. I think Duncan contributes to his own death as he invited himself to Macbeth's castle and does not read his character well. I think that Banquo contributed to the death of Duncan in that he did not see the signs given off by Macbeth and failed to act on what he saw. I think Lady Macbeth was responsible in that she was the one who actually persuaded Macbeth when he had decided against murder. Finally I believe that Macbeth is responsible for the killing in that it was ultimately his decision to kill King Duncan and could have refused to do so. In the end the question is certainly not as simple as it outwardly appears. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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