• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Who is the Most Responsible for the Death of Duncan, the witches, Lady Macbeth or Macbeth?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

15.1.09 Who is the Most Responsible for the Death of Duncan, the witches, Lady Macbeth or Macbeth? It is evident that in the eponymous play, Macbeth does physically undertake the act of killing King Duncan but, nonetheless, we must consider the roles played in his murder by the other major characters in the play. The play was written at the time when Elizabeth had died and the Scottish King, as James VI, became James I of England and Ireland. As James was so interested in Shakespeare's 'Chamberlain's Men' and drama he made them change their name to the 'King's Men'. James was also interested in 'Kingship' and what made a good or tyrannical king. Scottish politics were well known for treason, generally in Scotland, monarchs were murdered to change things. James' father was murdered in such a way, many plots-such as the Guy Fawkes plot-were also made against James. The witches are significant characters as at the time James I was very interested in witchcraft and made many writings against them. The witches are thought to be very responsible for the death of King Duncan, because it is said that they were the first to bring up and put the idea into Macbeth's head of killing Duncan. In my view that is not the case. Going back to the play you see that the witches mention Macbeth even though he hasn't been introduced by Shakespeare as they quote "There to meet with Macbeth". ...read more.

Middle

As she is quite strong-willed and ambitious, she immediately has thoughts about it and reveals them in her soliloquy. She is then told by her messenger that Duncan will be staying at the castle that night, which is when she then shows her evil intentions in another soliloquy just before Macbeth arrives. She says, "...that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements" and "O never shall sun that morrow see!" Both of these quotes show that she is very keen to murder Duncan and to become king, and that she is already taking control. In between the above quotes she says "Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty." This implies that she wants her female feelings to be replaced with her evil intentions. But as she said that she would kill Duncan if he did not resemble her father, it shows that she still has a little compassion, "...I laid their daggers ready; he could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't." After Lady Macbeth had started to effectively take over, Macbeth could have stopped her from putting her own evil intentions into his head, but he was too overpowered by his wife to do so. Every time Macbeth tried to confer with his wife she would cut him off and continue to persuade him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth controls him into killing Duncan, by preying on his fear of being seen to be a coward, and Macbeth, foolishly, accepts her argument, rather than standing up for what his conscience tells him is the honourable thing to do. In the play there are a lot of soliloquies, these are mostly used by Macbeth. A soliloquy gives us an insight on the psychology of a character and it makes us conscious of determination and development of the characters thought. So, in my opinion it is mainly Lady Macbeth who is the driving force to kill Duncan. Macbeth and the witches were also responsible, but in my opinion they played a smaller role in Duncan's murder. Lady Macbeth forces Macbeth to do the deed using various methods. Macbeth is too soft against Lady Macbeth and should have stood up for himself a lot more in the play. Also the whole idea of becoming king is formed by Macbeth but the whole idea of murder is formed by the wicked mind of Lady Macbeth. In conclusion, I think Macbeth's ambition is natural. The witches are a source of his evil. They target him from the beginning of the play, although he can ignore them and their prophecies. Nevertheless he wouldn't have carried out the murder if he wasn't pushed and persuaded by Lady Macbeth. He trusts and relies on her. Macbeth has a choice of repelling her, but he is too weak. It is evident therefore, that whilst Macbeth acted out the murder physically, the influence of Lady Macbeth has a major part to play for the murder of King Duncan. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Who is most responsible for the death of king Duncan?

    He was used almost like a tool not just for the witches enjoyment but to fulfill Lady Macbeths wants. His mind was twisted, bent, stretched and mutated by others until he was left a crazed and heartless wreck. So this brings in the possibility that Lady Macbeth could be mostly

  2. How do the Witches in Macbeth Reflect contemporary ideas of witchcraft? Are the Witches ...

    that I mention this is that if the witches did conjure up Banquo's ghost then it was their fault that Macbeth acted in a strange way to his lords. As a result it started suspicion in the lords and this suspicion generated the first of the negative images.

  1. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    Also, the witches prediction that Banquo's children shall be Kings would have pleased King James, a Stuart, who claimed to be a direct descendant Banquo, even though he didn't actually exist. After Banquo leaves, Macbeth starts arguably what is the most famous soliloquy "Is this a dagger I see before me" in the entire play.

  2. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    Leading up to the murder, Macbeth is walking around the castle, waiting for his call from his wife that the guards have been drugged, and the king is ready for his murdering. He sees and talks to Banquo, as would a friend, though I think he has an ulterior motive in that he fears Banquo knows too much.

  1. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    The influence of his wife is greatly over exaggerated in my opinion. She may have a eviler persona than Macbeth but this does not mean she is responsible for his actions. Many people say she had a craze for power and that she forced Macbeth into the murder.

  2. To what extent is Macbeth wholly responsible for his ruin, which destroys not only ...

    The latter I feel is the more likely. The speed of his demise is emphasised in the play because of the rapidity of events, a decade of Scotland's heritage is condensed into a three hour script. At this point, Lady Macbeth has shown no sign of weakness in her character and supports Macbeth and encourages him.

  1. Examine the role of the witches in Macbeth.

    This shows that all the experiences he had that day were successful, the battle and the encounter with the witches. The phrase 'they have more in them than mortal knowledge' shows that he fully believes they have magical powers, and that he trusts they will be beneficial to his cause.

  2. Lady Macbeth - Is Lady Macbeth Responsible for the evils of Macbeth?

    Macbeth himself also echoes this same idea of removing guilt later in the play when he is working himself up to murder Duncan. It is at this point in Lady Macbeth's speech that Macbeth enters the room. Lady Macbeth greets him by saying "Great Glamis!

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work