Who is responsible for the death of Duncan

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Introduction

William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” tells about the beginning and the end of a wicked man who loses his willpower. However, it can be claimed that the blame does not lie solely with Macbeth, as the witches and Lady Macbeth were partly chargeable for his downfall. This is vividly portrayed through a variety of methods such as symbolism, metaphors and the use of dialogue. The planning of the murder of the current King Duncan begins in the plot after Lady Macbeth receives a letter from her husband. This event causes Lady Macbeth’s desire to gain king and queen status, influence and power by any means possible.

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What caused Macbeth’s downfall

Lady Macbeth thinks that Macbeth is too pulpy, as evidenced by the use of metaphor, “too full of the milk of human kindness” (Act I, scene VII). This metaphor describes the milk that a baby consumes when it is small and innocent; in this manner, Lady Macbeth compares Macbeth’s character to an infant. Because of his indecision, she realizes she must force him to agree to slay Duncan through manipulation. Lady Macbeth achieves this by despising him and humiliating his manhood. However, in a certain sense, this is not such a complex task, because Macbeth himself aspires to the position of king deep down. His ambition is clearly reflected through the use of indentation when Duncan refers to Malcolm as the Prince of Cumberland. This shows his personal determination, and the reader realizes that Lady Macbeth somewhat underestimated her husband’s abilities.

Although Lady Macbeth is essential in Macbeth’s downfall, the witches additionally are a significant factor. It can be boldly stated that without witches the plot could not have developed or indeed been created. Witches appear at the distinct beginning of the play, and it is with them that the active development of events commences. If they had not told their dire prophecies to Macbeth, and it is possible that he may have continued to be loyal to Duncan and not committed murder. Even before the witches approached Macbeth and entered a dialogue with him, he had consistently been Duncan’s confidant and Macbeth heartily admired him. At the same time, witches as supernatural beings apparently caused the chaos that began when Macbeth killed Duncan and ended with Macbeth’s downfall. The witches most likely wanted to see whether Macbeth would take into account their prophecies that he would become Thane of Cawdor and then king, or whether he would merely not act. The contrast between Macbeth’s character and Banquo’s is well traced and strikes the audience because Banquo would rather let it happen than kill someone to cause the prophecy to come true. Macbeth, on the other hand, is someone else entirely. At the beginning, when the witches first talk about the prophecy, the reader understands that he wants to know more about his fate and follows them, but does not absolutely believe in the truth of their words. He examines the witches’ abilities, but when Ross arrives and informs him that he is now Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth begins to gradually believe in the current reality more and more.

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It is at this point that Macbeth’s downfall develops, as the man thinks too frequently about the words of the witches. The witches themselves seem to be the image of wickedness, but they are not portrayed as villains. This is because in the plot, they, along with Macbeth’s inner desires and Lady Macbeth’s ambition and persuasiveness, represent the driving force of the play. When the witches were first seen by Macbeth, he claimed “what foul creatures…such that rags look like hair…” (Act I, Scene III) the audience directly perceives the image of untidy, extinct creatures who have nothing to do. They are symbols of fate and foresight, but are not shown as positive characters with good intentions. When Macbeth contacts them in the cave, the audience is introduced to the full image of their “witchcraft”: descriptions of cauldrons, burning and hallucinations. As soon as he visits the cave, he discovers many unfamiliar things, especially that Macduff is a threat and that once Birnam Wood moves, Macbeth is doomed. Hence, it becomes evident that his fall as a personality can no longer be stopped, because everything is set in motion.

Conclusion

All things considered, it becomes clear to us that the witches and Lady Macbeth were the driving factors that significantly influenced Macbeth’s downfall. However, it cannot be stated that they were completely responsible for his downfall, because first of all the ambitions and actions of Macbeth himself led to his tragic death. Shakespeare’s use of various plot elements encouraged the audience to realize that nothing can be tied to one person. Therefore, it was with Macbeth, who was influenced by different people: witches and his own wife, so that the audience could identify the true reasons for his tragic actions.

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  1. Shakespeare, W. (1992). Macbeth. Wordsworth Editions.
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