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Who is to Blame for the Death of Duncan?

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Introduction

Who is to Blame for the Death of Duncan? Although it is Macbeth that actually committed the murder of Duncan, it is possible to believe that he was a victim of other evil forces. It is also possible to believe that he was pushed into it, and outside circumstances didn't give him much time to think. There are other characters in the play that could be held partially - if not totally responsible for the death of Duncan. Obviously, we could see Macbeth as responsible for the murder of Duncan. This is because it was Macbeth that first considered it. He says in Act1 sc3, 'Why do I yield to that suggestion, whose horrid image doth unfix my hair'. He is letting the thought of murdering Duncan continue in his mind without completely pushing it out. Of course, we cannot be sure why the thought does come to Macbeth in the first place. It could be because he really is an evil man. It could also be because he is under the influence of the witches, in a magical sense or another. It might be that he is so confused and mixed up about the appearance of the witches and their predictions that he cannot distinguish between right and wrong. We might also accuse Macbeth because it is he that actually committed the murder, and stabbed Duncan. Again, we have to question whether or not Macbeth had any control over what happened after the idea had been revealed to his wife, and the witches' prophecies had been made. ...read more.

Middle

It is clear from this first scene that the play is going to be about the struggle between the forces of good and evil. They also make it quite clear that Macbeth is going to be their target for the forces of evil. They have plotted the time and place for meeting with Macbeth, and obviously have an intention for doing so. When the witches meet with Macbeth, they give him and Banquo predictions. They say to Macbeth, 'All hail Macbeth, hail to three, Thane of Glamis. All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor. All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter.' They say to Banquo, 'Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.' Macbeth and Banquo don't take the witches too seriously at first, although Macbeth is enthralled by what they say to him. This is because they strike a chord in Macbeth's mind. What they say about him becoming king in one of his secret ambitions. They both take the predictions with a pinch of salt as such, because although Macbeth was the Thane of Glamis, he was not Thane of Cawdor, and being king didn't seem likely. When Macbeth is later informed of his being made the Thane of Cawdor, he starts to wonder about the predictions. The witches speak in riddles. At first, Macbeth didn't understand what the witches were saying because it all seemed so unrealistic. However, when Macbeth starts taking the predictions more seriously and tries interpreting them, he can in effect interpret what he wants to hear because the predictions aren't completely clear. ...read more.

Conclusion

This resembles what they plan to do to Macbeth. It suggests that the witches aren't strong enough to alter fate, but they create the right conditions for evil. They try to provoke certain conditions so that evil will find it easier to happen. It suggests that they provoke it, but man commits the evil, they do not actually force it to happen. It is similar with Macbeth. The witches speak small truths to him, enough to arouse his ambitions and curiosity, but just few enough for Macbeth to form whatever conclusion he wanted from them. The witches might have told him certain truths that would have steered him towards the thought of murdering Duncan, but they never actually said it outright. They did not have to mention about Banquo's children becoming kings. I think that they did this in order to steer Macbeth towards other evil deeds in the future, and help to lead him to destruction. In Elizabethan society at the time when William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, many people believed in witchcraft, and its evil ways. A prediction like this from some obviously magical beings would have to be considered. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have reasons for wanting Macbeth to become king - ambition. The witches want to cause havoc and evil. Their plan to destroy Macbeth involved him killing Duncan. This was obvious. If they didn't intentionally cause Duncan's death, why did they so obviously steer Macbeth to that direction? Throughout, they seem to be the evil force behind everything. Without them, the evil in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth might have stayed hidden, and certainly remained unused. ...read more.

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