Who Was Responsible For The Death Of
King Duncan? Essay, Research Paper
In ?Macbeth? king Duncan is physically murdered in act 2 scenes 1-2 by the Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth, he is unable to be held completely responsible for the murder as many other characters can be held responsible for motivating him to do the deed. The main suspects are: the three witches, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth himself, Duncan and the guards. So far in the play Macbeth has become the Thane of Cawdor by winning the battle against the Norwegians and Macdonald. Then Macbeth returns home where he reunites with Lady Macbeth and she persuades him to kill Duncan which he then does.
To most people the witches are the primary suspects for forcing Macbeth into killing king Duncan, this is because it is thought that the witches first put the idea of killing Duncan into Macbeth?s head although this is not the case in my view. Before the battle the witches plan to meet Macbeth and they do not talk of Macbeth and the king a lot. When Macbeth arrives he and Banquo question each other on the witches appearance and it is evident that Banquo suggests the witches are able to understand what he was saying when he suggests,? You seem to understand me.? This first puts the idea into Macbeth?s mind that the witches can speak, he then says,? Speak if you can: what are you.? Here, Macbeth is anxious to see what the witches are going to say because the witches were hesitant to say anything to Macbeth and Banquo before. I believe that the witches weren?t going to say anything about Macbeth and power until Macbeth persuaded them, so basically it was Macbeth?s own fault for making the witches say what they said. Although other arguments could be that the witches knew that Macbeth was going to ask of their speech because they could predict the future, but Shakespeare made no reference to the witches predicting that Macbeth would ask for them to speak. Then they speak in act 2, scene 3, lines 46-48,
?All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis
All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor
All hail Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter?
Banquo and Macbeth are startled by these predictions but Banquo is less convinced than Macbeth is. He questions Macbeth on if the witches? predictions will come true and he is quite weary on what the future holds, he show his weariness when he says,? If you can look into the seeds of time.? This implies that Banquo is trying to doubt the witches and not trying to make Macbeth carry out what the witches had said, so Banquo cannot be responsible. Also when the witches say,? All hail Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter,? it doesn?t suggest in any way that Macbeth should murder king Duncan nor Malcolm to become king they only say that he will become king. Duncan could die of natural cause or any other way but murder, so the witches didn?t say that he had to kill him.
Lady Macbeth can also be responsible for persueing Macbeth to kill Duncan, she first appears reading the letter that she received from Macbeth, the letter informs her on the witches? predictions and Scotland winning the battle over the Norwegians. Then she reveals her thoughts to the audience in a soliloquy. She says that she would be very glad to be queen and she is fairly ambitious. The attendant then arrives and announces that king Duncan will be staying at the castle that night and that Macbeth is coming with them. When the attendant leaves she reveals her extremely evil intentions on her being queen in her small soliloquy. In act 1, scene5, she says,? That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan?. This infers that Duncan shall arrive that night and something fatal will happen to him. Lady Macbeth has already planned what will happen to Duncan and she is full with evil ambitions for Duncan. In the same scene she says,? That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.? This implies that she wants rid of her feminine gentle feelings and those to be replaced with evil intentions. So basically in the small soliloquy she reveals that she has ambitions of killing king Duncan and it is all down to Macbeth to hopefully kill him. After her soliloquy Macbeth arrives and she asks the time when Duncan will leave and Macbeth replies that he will leave the following day. Then Lady Macbeth says,? O never shall sun that morrow see,? this implies that Duncan will not be alive the following morning. After that she commands him to put on a welcoming expression and to think of Duncan being bad when Duncan arrives. After these commandments Macbeth doesn?t have a chance to speak, Macbeth tries to converse with her but she stops him. It is evident that Lady Macbeth is trying to put evil intentions into Macbeth?s mind and Macbeth is unable to stop her from speaking. Macbeth has not got much of a choice; he can?t even stop her from motivating him into killing king Duncan. Now Lady Macbeth has filled Macbeth?s head with thoughts of killing king Duncan, he can?t really think of doing anything else because she won?t let him. In act 1, scene 7, lines 58-59 Lady Macbeth uses emotional blackmail to convince Macbeth to kill king Duncan when she says,
? And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn
As you have done to this.?
This means that?s if she had promised to do something for Macbeth like to dash the brains of a baby out she would and Macbeth has promised to do something just as hard for her and he has refused to do it. Macbeth feels terrible now because he has not carried out his promise to Lady Macbeth. Her speech would make him go back to his promise and carry it out because he would of felt extremely guilty. In the same scene Macbeth says: ?If we should fail?? Lady Macbeth then replies,? We fail?? this suggests that there is no question to the killing of Duncan, Macbeth just has to kill him and failing is not an option. Macbeth has his mind set on killing Duncan because his deer Lady Macbeth will be absolutely furious if he doesn?t do it and if he doesn?t kill him he has lost everything. Lady Macbeth starts telling Macbeth on how they will kill Duncan, and Macbeth is that brainwashed by Lady Macbeth he helps her on the plan of killing king Duncan.
Many people think that other characters in the play forced Macbeth in to murdering king Duncan; I do not think this is true because, although other characters motivated him, I also think that Macbeth shows mental weaknesses within the play which lead to him thinking wrongly and allowing others to motivate him.
In act 1, scene 3, Macbeth is confronted by 3 witches and he is very curious to see what they have to say for themselves, they haven?t said anything before so Macbeth ponders them and asks,? Speak if you can; what are you?? Then the witches reply, telling him that he will be king. So Macbeth made the witches put the idea of kingship into his head, the witches didn?t tell him, it was his own fault for motivating his mind on kingship. An example of mental weakness would be in act1, scene 6, line 68 when Macbeth has just received a briefing on what he must do to kill Duncan by Lady Macbeth, he says,? We will speak further-.? Lady Macbeth then stops him abruptly, he was able to dominate Lady Macbeth there but he was too cowardly to do so. He should of stopped Lady Macbeth but it is his own fault for allowing Lady Macbeth to command him what to do. Macbeth reveals his thoughts on why he should not kill king Duncan in a soliloquy at the start of act 1, scene 7. He comes up with all sorts of reasons why he shouldn?t kill Duncan but he is too cowardly to admit that he shouldn?t kill king Duncan to Lady Macbeth. Later on in that scene Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are conversing over the murder, Macbeth tries to break his promise and not kill the king but Lady Macbeth uses emotional blackmail (as mention previously) to get at his feelings. He should have been more of a man to Lady Macbeth and not be so soft.
King Duncan can be held responsible for the murder of himself as well. In my opinion he was over confident with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. He arrived at the castle with only 2 guards, Banquo, Lennox and Macduff. If you were able to compare these with the amount of guards and servants in the castle of Cawdor it would be a very small number. Duncan is far too kind and welcoming he just looks at the hostess (Lady Macbeth) and says,? See, see our honoured hostesss.-The love that follow us sometime is our trouble.? He doesn?t even think to see any deceitfulness within Lady Macbeth.
And last of all the suspects are the guards. The guards didn?t realize they were being deliberately drugged by Lady Macbeth, they just thought it was a normal party and for them to be drunk would just seem normal. So they would of expected to be drunk on the night, all of the other people would have been drunk as well.
So, in my opinion it is a combination of Lady Macbeth, Macbeth and Duncan. It is mainly Lady Macbeth who is the driving force to kill Duncan but Macbeth and Duncan aren?t as responsible. Lady Macbeth forces Macbeth to do the deed using various methods. Macbeth is too soft against Lady Macbeth and should of stood up for himself in a lot more in the play, also the whole idea of becoming king is derived from Macbeth but the whole idea of murder id derived from the wicked mind of Lady Macbeth. In addition King Duncan can?t be held responsible as much as Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, it was his personality that helps cause him his death, he didn?t do anything thing wrong in fact.