English Coursework: Macbeth
In this essay I will be discussing who is responsible for the death of
King Duncan In Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’.
The main character in the play, Macbeth, murders King Duncan. However,
I feel that he was not totally to blame. I believe that both Lady
Macbeth and the three witches played a part in his death and this
should not be overlooked.
The three witches are all sisters. We first meet the witches in the
very first scene of the play when they are on the heath casting a
spell. Shakespeare sets the mood of the play by having them on the
moor in the thunder and lightening. This creates a feeling of evil.
This is where the witches first mention Macbeth.
Where the place? Upon the heath. There to meet Macbeth.
The witches first meet Macbeth in scene three of act one when he is
riding home after being one of the heroes in the war. He is with
Banquo when he bumps in to the three ugly sisters. Macbeth is amazed
to hear the witches’ prophecy. They foretell that he will be the Thane
of Cawdor and will go on to be King.
All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!
All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter.
This stuns Macbeth because he knows that the Thane of Cawdor is still
He doesn’t understand how he will become King of Scotland either. He
wants to know more from the witches.
Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:
By Sinel’s death I know I am Thane of Glamis;
But how of Cawdor? the Thane of Cawdor still lives,
A prosperous gentleman; and to be king,
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
The witches’ prophecy has put the idea of becoming king into Macbeths
mind. He starts to think about it and how it can become true. By the
end of scene three the idea of murder is already in his mind. In his
first soliloquy he finds himself thinking of murder although at this
stage it is only in his imagination.
The idea actually frightens him very much
What horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man…
But then Banquo gives Macbeth some words of warning. He was saying
that some of the prophecies may come true but do not let them get the