An Analysis of Why Macbeth Kills Duncan.
Thought to have been composed by William Shakespeare between 1606-1607 Macbeth is the final of his four famous ‘tragedies’ which are literary works depicting a tragic hero, who becomes engaged in a moral struggle that ends in ruin. Macbeth is rarely mentioned in the theatrical world by its eponymous title, as it is considered to be unlucky, hence the reason it is often known as ‘The Scottish Tragedy’. The play is said to have been written by Shakespeare for King James I, upon his succession of the throne on the death of Queen Elizabeth. The Elizabethan audience would have been highly superstitious, and therefore somewhat shocked by the themes of murder, witchcraft, the unnatural and deceit which run throughout the play, as it is considered to be the darkest of Shakespeare’s works. The play follows the controversial, bloody rise to power of Macbeth, a high-ranking member of the King’s army, who ultimately commits the shocking act of Regicide; which in its day, according to the ‘chain of being’ would have been considered the worse crime committable, next to killing God himself. The murder of the King is prophesised by three witches from the outset; a vision which would have most certainly terrified the audience. It is through Macbeth’s insatiable appetite for power, fuelled by the persuasion of his equally ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth, that he is let to commit this unfathomable act, killing the man who is not only his cousin, but a King very highly regarded and respected by his subjects. It is the intention of this essay to analyse reasons which could be put forward to explain why King Duncan was killed by his most trusted military hero, Macbeth. The eerie opening scene of the play introduces the audience to some of the main themes which run throughout, those of evil, the supernatural, and prophecy. The first characters introduced are the three witches, who are huddled together on a dark, stormy night, apparently...
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