Responsibility of Macbeth's Death

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Who Can Be Held Most Responsible for Duncan’s Murder: The Witches, Lady Macbeth or Macbeth Himself?

In this essay I will investigate who is most responsible for King Duncan’s murder; Macbeth, Lady Macbeth or the three witches. Macbeth was written in 1608 and it is based on a strong soldier who was brave, noble and ambitious. You could say that he was too ambitious as his ambition drove him to his own death. Macbeth was a supreme soldier who was smart enough to make his own independent choices; instead he was influenced by several other characters in the play which had brought him down to his knees in failure.

Macbeth was written due to a new infatuation of theatres in London in 1608 and throughout the century. During that time the world was swarmed with issues and rumours of the presence of witches which King James I had strong enthusiasm for. Shakespeare included a group of witches in Macbeth seeing as how strongly they were believed in at that period of time. Witches were thought to have extraordinary powers, one of them being able to see the future. And this was applied in Macbeth. And precisely at that point is where Macbeth’s downfall began. He was told that he was taking the place of king at some point in his life; being a trustworthy and noble soldier, the idea of murder was not expected from him at any circumstances. In my opinion Macbeth should have let time take it’s affect on him rather than him committing a crime which will haunt him with deadly consequences. After all, the witches never said how Macbeth was to become king so maybe murder should have never been thought of.

Banquo fears the Three Witches:

“And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray
In deepest consequence.”

The instruments of darkness such as the Three Witches often tell us meaningless truths in order to later betray us most damagingly later.

Personally I don’t think the witches have any blood on their hands. They began the whole plot by explaining their future to Macbeth and Banquo. Their prophecies only revealed positive things. Murder was never involved in their dialogue. But the witches could have known that Macbeth was going to fail in his acts. Maybe it was their plan; they could have known that Macbeth was an ambitious man so they knew that he would do anything to reach his destiny. And murder would have never come into the situation unless Lady Macbeth would have known. So all of this could have been intended but we as the audience have no proof of this so the witches have no blame rested on their shoulders.

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In act I scene III Macbeth questions Banquo about the witches’ prophecies and how his children will be king one day. And without surprise Macbeth sees this as competition to the title of king. Macbeth could be trying to slightly scare Banquo into stopping his children from becoming king seeing how ambitious Macbeth is, he would kill to reach his goals.

"Stars, hid your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires...."

Macbeth meets King Duncan, thanking him for his new title; the also loyal Banquo receives nothing. King Duncan remarks how he completely trusted the previous ...

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