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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? Shakespeare's writing of Macbeth may have been partly motivated by a desire to impress King James I of England who was also king James IV of Scotland. The king had written a book called Demonology and studied witchcraft. In the play we can argue that there are three possible choices for who is most responsible for the murder of King Duncan. The first choice is the witches. In the whole of the play they symbolise darkness and make a morally corrupt atmosphere. In Elizabethan times they were regarded as evil so these prophecies would be thought of as evil. The second factor is Lady Macbeth. Macbeth writes a letter to her telling her of the witches' prophecies. He writes this letter because he wants the crown and knows she will have to persuade him to get it. She drives him to the murder and acts as a more physical catalyst than the witches. She bullies him, emotionally blackmails him and knows he is morally sensitive so he must be pushed. She mocks his bravery, knowing he is a warrior and will be insulted. Then there is Macbeth himself. The main argument is that he commits the murder. He is driven to the murder because of the thought of being king. ...read more.

Middle

Captain, Act 1 Scene 2 Macbeth's relationship with the king was very close because they have known each other for a long time. The king thinks Macbeth is brave on the battlefield and is worthy and honourable. Their relationship grows when Macbeth is given the title 'Thane of Cawdor'. At the start of the play he doesn't seem disloyal to the king. However, there is a sense of irony because Macbeth is actually a great warrior, even though he is courageous in war when it comes to killing the king he doesn't have the power to do so. I think he only seems likely to commit murder for the right reason. Macbeth's reaction to the witches' prophecies was negative when he first heard them. However, as time passed and he became thane of Cawdor it grew more promising that he would become king. The Witches' prophecies are proven right, this compels Macbeth to seek further predictions. On his return to home Macbeth still does not have a plan to murder the king but his wife does. He says if he is going to be king he will not have to murder Duncan but it would happen naturally we know this from another aside "If chance will have me king, why, chance May crown me, Without my stir. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth is also responsible because he was really forced by Lady Macbeth against his first view that it would happen naturally. But he is responsible as he did commit the actual murder. Duncan could not see through Lady Macbeth and he didn't have any idea he was going to be assassinated. He also trusted Macbeth too much and let him get too close to him and if he did not give Macbeth the title of Cawdor he would still have a negative view on two of the prophecies. Banquo is quite responsible because he was with Macbeth when the witches gave their predictions, Macbeth told Banquo that he believed them, but Banquo said that he didn't believe it. "Were such things here, as we do speak about, Or have we eaten on the insane root That takes the reason prisoner?" Banquo, Act 1 Scene 3 Banquo indicates his suspicions yet he doesn't act on them if he had told Macbeth that he thought it was a bad idea maybe Macbeth might not have gone through with it. Least responsible are the guards, but still a little, because they allowed Lady Macbeth to get them drunk even though they knew they had to protect the king. Although she was the lady of the house and it would have been very hard to say no. Although everyone is responsible one way or the other, I think that the Witches are most responsible as they started of the chain of events. ...read more.

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