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Why does Macbeth kill King Duncan?

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Raj Patel G.C.S.E Shakespeare Coursework Why Does MacBeth kill King Duncan? In MacBeth, Shakespeare tells a story of a man who's mind is clouded with thoughts of the most intense ambition, along side a wife who feeds this ambition without any thought. This ambition is born in the first act, scene 3 where the witches predict that MacBeth shall be King. The question is if MacBeth is destined to kill Duncan, or if he was influenced by the Witches with the idea of doing so, if his wife pushed him too far or if he is just succumbing to temptation. From the outset of the play, there is a theme of treachery. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair," said by the witches, in act 1 scene 1 shows that throughout the play there is a setting for darkness, where looks can be deceiving, an onslaught of distorted values. The Witches in MacBeth are very important for they feed MacBeth with this ambition that is taken over by greed. Immediately after the witches prophesise that MacBeth is to become Thane of Glamis, Than of Cawdor, and ultimately King, MacBeth's ambition rages and is almost taking over his mind. He imagines in his head that to become king he must kill King Duncan. ...read more.


She is saying here that he would be great, and he has the ambition but not the evil that goes with it. When Lady MacBeth is alone, she says that she wants to be removed with any feminine qualities inside her, to be rid of any gentle feelings and closed from all good so she can help her husband become king. Lady MacBeth is vital in the killing of king Duncan. (...Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe topfull of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, stop the access and passage to remorse that no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose nor keep the peace between the effect and it"). She is correct in saying that MacBeth is too honest and fair to be king, for he talks himself out of killing king Duncan. Lady MacBeth almost takes control of MacBeth, saying all will take care of itself if he follows her. "We will proceed no further in this business". This shows that he wants to stop the thoughts of killing the king, and wants to forget about the whole plan. "when you durst do it, then you were a man." This show of weakness is picked up by Lady MacBeth who fiercely attacks it, also attacking his masculinity. ...read more.


Just earlier on in this scene he was praising the King (Your highness' part is to receive our duties, and our duties are to your throne and state, children and servants,"), yet he admits to thinking of murder so quickly, which shows how moral he really is. In his thoughts, he makes many astonishing and stunning admissions, for example he says he would give eternal damnation for this worldly success as being king "But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, we'd jump the life to come". In act 1 scene 7, he also stacks up the reasons not to kill King Duncan, which include a loyal subject would not kill his king, he is also a relative of King Duncan, also as his host he must not be killing his guest. But also in this speech, MacBeth shares with us a horrid image which really brings out his ruthlessness, one of which King Duncan is pleading like a trumpet tongued angel, before he is killed "... that his virtues will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation of his taking off." In conclusion, the factors contributing to the death of King Duncan are many, and one may not pin it down to one single thing. The influence of the witches, Macbeth's wife, Lady MacBeth, his own ambition and greed and his weak character all were stepping stones leading up to and ultimately killing the King. ...read more.

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