Is Lady Macbeth the Real Driving Force Behind Duncan's Murder?

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“Lady Macbeth is the real driving force behind the murder of King Duncan” Discuss this statement and decide whether or not you agree.

Known as one of the most influential writers in history, Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford upon Avon. During the 17th century Shakespeare rose to more fame and became one of the popular playwright writers across the globe. Altogether his collection of master pieces is 154 heart-wrenching sonnets and 37 compelling plays. ‘Macbeth’ delivers a powerful message about a tale of greed and a hunger for power which leads to tragic consequences.

Macbeth is a naive character who is the protagonist of the play. He is one of the noble men for the king and this highlight to the reader of the loyal and trusted position he carries. Subsequently, we find that Macbeth is from an honourable family. ‘By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis’

This also shows that he is of a high class, strengthening his character as being trustworthy and of an honourable status. Macbeth as a sincere character which does not last for long once the three witches ‘plant the seed’ in Macbeth’s mind. During the play, Macbeth has issues with his desires and loyalty towards the king. The three witches appear in front of Macbeth and Banquo. They portray their prophecies which have an impulsive influence on Macbeth making him ‘thunderstruck’ at the thought of ever being admired enough to become king. This consumes Macbeth with disturbing thoughts when they refer to him as the ‘thane of Cawdor’ and the ‘future king’. These make Macbeth compelled in the witches predictions. He may react in this spontaneous manner becoming ‘speechless’ because he has a desire to gain a higher status and may have had thoughts of murdering Duncan previously. Macbeth becomes eager and impatient, ‘stay’, ‘I charge you’ shows that he is commanding the witches because he is desperate to hear his future. This introduces a completely different side to Macbeth as being, he has been given the title of ‘thane of Cawdor’ yet he still wants more. His curiosity and frustrated behaviour shows that he already had a hidden desire of ambition. The witches have an obvious impact on Macbeth, as he starts to talk to himself and a horrid image of ‘murdering king Duncan’ is placed in his mind. This is a huge contrast to the Macbeth we were shown earlier who was a ‘noble’ and ‘loyal’ person we are shown this so that we can observe how he changes from being ‘faithful’ to disloyal. We see that Macbeth finds murdering Duncan unnecessary and decides to leave it up to fate; “If chance will have me king, why chance may even crown me without stir...” This shows that Macbeth doubts that murder is required in order to fulfil the prophecy and become king. It also shows that Macbeth is an indecisive character as he has still not made his mind on what approach to take, the reader is unsure of what Macbeth will decide. Macbeth instantly writes a letter to his wife Lady Macbeth, displaying his eagerness to spread his new found news, this shows that he felt that there was some truth in the witches’ prophecy. Lady Macbeth is a striking character, who is introduced as Macbeth’s wife and long term companion. Shakespeare contrasts the role of Macbeth to women of the 17th century who would have been at home and submissive towards their husbands. Lady Macbeth seems like the more dominating person in the relationship “You shall put this night’s great business into my dispatch, which shall to all our nights and days to come” This shows that even though she is not actually going to perform the murderous act, she has decided to take control of the situation by handling the preparations as she believes that he husband is not competent enough to do it himself. The fact that Lady Macbeth only takes part in the planning and not the crime illustrates that she does not need to worry about the consequences of their vengeful scheme, there might not be any consequences for her as she...
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