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Why did Macbeth murder Duncan? Examine the various influences upon this murder and suggest which you feel was most crucial.

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Introduction

Joel Robinson - Mr Simpson Why did Macbeth murder Duncan? Examine the various influences upon this murder and suggest which you feel was most crucial. There are many influences Macbeth had to murder King Duncan. These need to be examined closely to determine which was the most crucial and influential on his decision to kill the King. Macbeth himself was an influence in deciding to kill the King, also the witches, his wife, Lady Macbeth, his own ambition and personal weakness all played a part. These will all now be closely examined to determine the most crucial. The witches had a big influence on Macbeth to murder the King. The witches are the very first people in the play to mention Macbeth as King. "All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be King hereafter." When their promise of Macbeth becoming Thane of Cawdor comes true, it whets his appetite for the third promise, that he will become King. In his soliloquy in Act 1 scene 3, Macbeth begins to contemplate on murder. "My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical." In the letter that Macbeth writes to his wife telling of the witches he says, "they have more in them than mortal knowledge." The witches are the ones to blame for this. They put the idea of him becoming King into his head, they raised the idea. ...read more.

Middle

She also uses emotional blackmail, "Such I account thy love." To think he could lose his very own wife over not committing the murder is unbelievable. This makes him think if he won't do it for himself he will have to do it for his wife. She also says, "Be so much more the man," she eggs him on using emotional blackmail again. When Macbeth asks "If we should fail-" Lady Macbeth replies "We fail?" She has confidence about the murder and she shows that they are doing it as a team. Lady Macbeth controls and organises the murder of Duncan. After Macbeth has murdered Duncan, Lady Macbeth is still in control. She tells Macbeth how she has "drugg'd their possets." She also tells him to go and wash his hands. "Go, get some water And wash this filthy witness from your hand." She takes the daggers back to the scene of the murder to seal the deed as Macbeth can't as he is so traumatised. Macbeth's own ambition and personal weakness influence him in committing the murder. A comparison has to made between the reaction of Banquo and Macbeth to the prophesy of the witches. Macbeth asks Banquo, "Do you hope your children shall be Kings?" Banquo's reply was, "But 'tis strange: And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray's In deepest consequence." ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth is really backing out of the murder in this passage but he admits of his "vaulting ambition" to kill the King. When Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that they "will proceed no further in this business," Lady Macbeth is the one who convinces him to do it. This shows Macbeth's personal weakness. He is convinced by his wife when he was sure he wasn't going to continue with the deed. Although it seems that Lady Macbeth made Macbeth do it, it was Macbeth who made the final decision. He didn't have to continue with the murder if he didn't want to. So Macbeth was responsible for the deed, the murder of Duncan. In conclusion, I don't feel that there was one person who made Macbeth commit the murder. I think that all of the different influences played their part in the process of Macbeth murdering Duncan. I do think that some were stronger influences than others. Lady Macbeth was a big influence on Macbeth and she was a crucial part in the murder, but in saying that it was Macbeth who made the final decision. I think the murder would have still occurred even if Lady Macbeth wasn't involved. Therefore, in my final conclusion I think that the witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth's own ambition and personal weakness all played a crucial part in the influence of Macbeth to murder the King, Duncan. ...read more.

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