’s Death? Essay, Research Paper
We certainly know that the direct responsible for Duncan?s death is Macbeth. However this does not necessarily mean he is to blame, for his violent death is obviously the consequence of certain influences that forced Macbeth to perform his fatal deed. Furthermore, to unearth the truth about who is really the guilty for Duncan?s murder we must explore the influences the different characters have on Macbeth?s impulses and the overall scenario of the slaying.
Firstly, we shall consider Lady Macbeth and Macbeth as they are the two who planned and performed the murder. Although after the witches told Macbeth that he was to be king and he was burning in desire to be so he, on first instance, decided that if fate had determined that he was to be the sovereign of Scotland he shouldn?t try to be reach the throne by his own actions, that it would come eventually: ?If Chance will have me king, why, Chance / may crown me, / Without my stir?. However, it was Lady Macbeth who convinced him to slay the king so that he could usurp the throne: ?Hie thee hither, / That I may pour my spirits in thine ear?. So we can say that Lady Macbeth has more responsibility on Duncan?s murder than Macbeth himself as she used her position as a wife and a woman to induce his husband to the sin. She knew the ?adoration? Macbeth had for her (?My dearest love? referring to Lady Macbeth) and used her status of woman to judge Macbeth a coward if he didn?t kill Duncan. Even though Macbeth holds some blame for not being the strong, valiant man he is on battle with her wife and standing before those childish yet effective arguments she used, Lady Macbeth is the immediate cause for Macbeth?s actions.
Nonetheless we must do the same with Lady Macbeth as we did for his husband, look at the causes for her actions. When we meet Lady Macbeth after she finishes reading Macbeth?s letter we know immediately that she is determined to be the queen of Scotland (?Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be / What thou art promised.?) So at the same time the cause for Macbeth?s action of killing the king was caused directly by Lady Macbeth, the reason for her wish is because of Macbeth. Even thou it seems like a circular argument we find an outlet for it when we consider the responsibility of the witches.
An important question every serious reader of Macbeth will probably ask himself at one point is, would Macbeth have killed Duncan and become king if the witches hadn?t tell him he would? Even though we do not get to know Macbeth before he is revealed such crucial prophecy we have no indication to think that he had serious aspirations to the throne before that. Yet it seems as if ?The Sisters of Destiny? knew that if they made Macbeth aware of his fate he would by instinct seek for the throne. This means their prophecy cannot be considered a true, complete one, as it needs its own existence to be fulfilled. If we try to look, once again, for the motive of the witches? revelation we reach a dead end. Apparently the witches do so without an aim or reason at all, fact which adds to the great mystery of the witches sensed both by the readers and the characters in the play itself. We find in the witches? attitude to twist things around, in this case Macbeth?s honourable arms man life, the start of the chain of events that lead to Duncan?s death as Banquo did foresee: ?The instruments of darkness tell us truths, / Win us honest trifles, to betray?s / In deepest consequence.?
The other side of the coin must also be explored in order to get a broader idea of who is to blame for the regicide that is perpetrated, this is, the reasons why the murder was not avoided.
Banquo can be held partially responsible for the death of Duncan because even though he knew about the prophecy and had conscience of Macbeth?s desire for the throne he did nothing to either change Macbeth?s attitude or protect the king, reaching the point of even disguising Macbeth?s ambitious stand: ?New honours come upon him / Like our strange garments, cleave nor to their mould / But with the aid of use?, excusing Macbeth?s seemingly awkward attitude to Angus and Rosse.
Finally, one last culpable for Duncan?s death is Duncan himself. His own blind trust in the members of his court even though one of them had all ready betrayed him is what doomed him. Ironically when Duncan refers to the original Thane of Cawdor after he was told of his execution: ?There?s no art / To find the mind?s construction in the face: / He was a gentleman on whom I built / An absolute trust?, he is unconsciously referring to other Thane of Cawdor as well, this is, Macbeth, as if this was what he would have said after his own murder. The crucial mistake Duncan made was to trust ?the same person? twice, the Thane of Cawdor. This fault was fatal as it proved to be later on.
In conclusion we can say that the witches are the main individuals to blame for the regicide as they started the series of events that eventually lead to the death of King Duncan by hand of Macbeth, induced by her wife who was blinded by her thirst for power. In addition Duncan is also responsible for his own decease for he wasn?t able to learn from his previous error of trusting the Thane of Cawdor who finds the avengement of his death when Macbeth takes the life of his executioner by decree.