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Why Did Macbeth Kill Duncan?

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September 2002 James Cross 10s Why Did Macbeth Kill Duncan? The title in this essay is a very straightforward question. This however does not make it an easy one. There are many factors that contribute to Macbeth's final decision to kill Duncan. I have narrowed it down to four overriding factors, Macbeth's desire to rule Scotland, Duncan's vulnerability, Lady Macbeth, and The Witches. All of these factors that I will mention in this essay build up. They make the possibility of the crown irresistible to Macbeth. The first point that I mentioned was Macbeth's desire to own the crown. It was a well-known fact that he was a great warrior on the battlefield. The first act includes a conversation between the captain and Duncan. The Captain refers to Macbeth in this quote: 'Cannons over-charged with double cracks; So they doubly redoubled stokes upon the foe.' This suggests that Macbeth and his friend Banquo fought bravely. He goes on further to explain how much he respected the two warriors, we get an impression of just how much Duncan and the captain admire their ability. ...read more.


Macbeth realises that Duncan has a weakness. Duncan obviously places trust in his colleagues very easily, as is proved by the previous Thanes betrayal. We learn this news as Shakespeare reveals that he was leaking information to the enemy Norwegians. He also reveals that this could have been prevented if the king had watched him closer. Looking in hindsight we can also report on how the king misreads the character of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. He naively spends the night in their castle, totally unaware of any plotting that may be taking place. This also suggests a weakness in Duncan's character. King Duncan is in a weak position because of the system that was in place in that time. There was no particular order in which the succession followed. A murder of royalty was also a regular occurrence, it happened when the people of Scotland almost expected a new name to the throne. In short Duncan was a vulnerable man. He became even weaker when he announced the new king. ...read more.


Shakespeare employs a very complicated irony in the play. If Macbeth had not have met the witches, then would Macbeth have committed the horrible act. Did they predict the future, or did they make it? Whichever it was, Macbeth was affected by the prophases. Shakespeare includes an act that involved a dagger been seen in front of Macbeth's eyes. We need to explore the fact that the witches created this image. This almost drove Macbeth insane and was a turning point of the play. Is this a dagger which I see before me The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee I have thee not, and yet I see thee still I believe that this is a hallucination of Macbeth's. I also believe that it is as a result of the witches tormenting of Macbeth's mind. Macbeth is so confused that he imagines the dagger in front of him. Without the witches Predictions, ultimately this would have not happened. The curtained sleep. Witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's off'rings, and withered murder Macbeth even suggests that this is the doing off witchcraft himself. He knows he is ...read more.

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