Who Is Responsible for Duncan's Death?

Topics: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, King Duncan Pages: 3 (993 words) Published: October 8, 1999
We certainly know that the direct responsible for Duncan's death is Macbeth. However this does not necessarily mean he is to blame, for his violent death is obviously the consequence of certain influences that forced Macbeth to perform his fatal deed. Furthermore, to unearth the truth about who is really the guilty for Duncan's murder we must explore the influences the different characters have on Macbeth's impulses and the overall scenario of the slaying.

Firstly, we shall consider Lady Macbeth and Macbeth as they are the two who planned and performed the murder. Although after the witches told Macbeth that he was to be king and he was burning in desire to be so he, on first instance, decided that if fate had determined that he was to be the sovereign of Scotland he shouldn't try to be reach the throne by his own actions, that it would come eventually: "If Chance will have me king, why, Chance / may crown me, / Without my stir". However, it was Lady Macbeth who convinced him to slay the king so that he could usurp the throne: "Hie thee hither, / That I may pour my spirits in thine ear". So we can say that Lady Macbeth has more responsibility on Duncan's murder than Macbeth himself as she used her position as a wife and a woman to induce his husband to the sin. She knew the "adoration" Macbeth had for her ("My dearest love" referring to Lady Macbeth) and used her status of woman to judge Macbeth a coward if he didn't kill Duncan. Even though Macbeth holds some blame for not being the strong, valiant man he is on battle with her wife and standing before those childish yet effective arguments she used, Lady Macbeth is the immediate cause for Macbeth's actions.

Nonetheless we must do the same with Lady Macbeth as we did for his husband, look at the causes for her actions. When we meet Lady Macbeth after she finishes reading Macbeth's letter we know immediately that she is determined to be the queen of Scotland ("Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and...
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