Death of King Duncan in Shakespeare's Macbeth: Lady Macbeth

Pages: 2 (503 words) Published: December 15, 2013
In William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, Lady Macbeth is responsible for the death of King Duncan. Although other characters did contribute to the death of the king, such as the three witches and Macbeth himself, Lady Macbeth’s role in his death is the most prominent and influential. Upon first reading her husband’s letter, Lady Macbeth instantly believes that the way to achieve the crown is to kill King Duncan. Furthermore, when Macbeth is doubtful about whether or not he should kill Duncan, his wife manipulates him and convinces him to go through with the murder, even though he would have sooner not killed the king without her intervention.

Lady Macbeth believes wholeheartedly that the King must die, from as soon as she is aware of the witches’ prophecy. After reading Macbeth’s letter to her, Lady Macbeth is certain that her husband “shalt be what [he] art promised”. However she also believes that her husband is “too full of the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way”. Lady Macbeth feels that Macbeth is overly nice, and that this will stop him being able to seize the crown. She feels that the only way for the pair of them to become monarchs is to “play false”, to do the wrong thing. Throughout her speech that succeeds the letter reading, Lady Macbeth references the need to do something evil in order to achieve the crown. Later in the same scene, when she and Macbeth are reunited, they discuss the fact that King Duncan will be coming to their castle that evening. Making it perfectly clear that she believes Duncan must be killed, Macbeth’s wife tells him that Duncan “never shall sun that morrow see”; King Duncan won’t live to see another day.

Lady Macbeth deliberately stops any chance Macbeth had of not killing Duncan through manipulation. Shortly prior to killing King Duncan, Macbeth is having serious doubts about committing the act. The title character almost conclusively decides that he will not kill the king, stating to his wife “we will proceed no...
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