Macbeth's Killing of King Duncan in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

opinionated Essay
1617 words
1617 words

Macbeth's Killing of King Duncan in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

The play of Macbeth was technically set in the 11th century (despite

showing little indication of the period). The Scottish play was

written by William Shakespeare in 1606 and is one of his tragedies, in

that the main characters struggle with circumstances and meet death

and despair.

It was allegedly written for King James 1st by Shakespeare to act as a

propaganda tool to basically scare people against trying to kill the

King, as Guy Fawkes had attempted to do. It is noted that King James

was fascinated by witchcraft and at the time when it was written there

was a strong cultural belief in supernatural objects such as the Devil

and witches.

There are many factors that we must consider when deciding who

persuaded Macbeth to kill Duncan. Despite the question being a

relatively easy one we must look at a number of key issues in greater


Macbeth is a hero at the start of the play but he becomes an evil man

as we approach the end. Is he a victim of either his wife or the

witches or did he have a choice and chose evil over good?

Let us firstly consider whether or not the witches were influential in

persuading Macbeth to kill Duncan. They hail Macbeth as "Thane of

Glamis!" "Thane of Cawdor!" and prophesised "that shalt be king


The first time Macbeth is hailed as "Thane of Glamis" confirms that

the witches know who he is. The second time they hail him as "Thane of

Cawdor` he seems to ponder upon this, and as soon as the witches

disappear two of Duncan`s other loyal thanes appear and announce

Macbeth Thane of Cawdor. He now starts to accep...

... middle of paper ...

...acknowledged as being important as men despite the fact

that Queen Elizabeth was crowned the first queen of England during

Shakespeare's time.

The play illustrates that if woman have power they can turn things to

evil "fair is foul" contradiction. Something can be good in some

people eyes.

If the play is acted it can be made completely different with the same

words i.e. the interpretation of the actors

Finally the death of Duncan does not make either of them happy because

they have not earned the sovereign power. Surely Macbeth would rather

have a clear soul/conscience than hold the most supreme position in

Scotland without dignity and the right to know that he has obtained

his status through honest means. Could the problem be that he is loyal

to his wife and country but maybe not loyal to his own conscience?

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the witches know who he is. the second time they hail him as "thane of the dead".
  • Opines that they fear thy nature because it is too full of milk.
  • Explains that the coin was meant to depict good and evil, king.
  • Narrates how the coin had a serpent on one side, and flower on the other.
  • Analyzes how the husband plays on his weaknesses, and his wife is able to do so because she can.
  • Describes the fish from the pond he has to dip his paws in.
  • Opines that she would go. she says he cannot fail if she keeps his word (her word).
  • Opines that macbeth would have dashed the brains out to a baby if she had promised as her.
  • Opines that "fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direct cruelty"
  • Opines that the man would have been braver if he had stood up to her and not killed her.
  • Opines that lady macbeth can not forget an idea once it's in her head.
  • Opines that he may let it mature in its own time.
  • Invites us to consider that maybe a foul way is fair.
  • Analyzes how macbeth is a hero at the start of the play, but he becomes an evil man as we approach the end.
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