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Macbeth's Killing Of Duncan In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

3587 words - 14 pages

Macbeth's Killing of Duncan in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

In this essay I will explore all the reasons and explanations behind
the killing of Duncan by Macbeth. I will explore all the influences
upon him that lead to him deciding to kill Duncan; who is his king. I
will explore four factors that contribute to the murder of Duncan;
these factors are: Macbeth's personal ambitions, the weaknesses of
Duncan, the witches and the ever-present influence of Lady Macbeth.

This play is based upon the life of a real man, Macbeth. He was born
in the year 1005, and was the grandson of King Malcolm II. Later in
Macbeth's life he fights a battle and eventually kills a man called
Duncan near Elgin. After killing Duncan he then drove his sons out of
the country. This relates strongly to the play, where the thoughts of
Macbeth are explored more often and the story slightly different.

When James I of England became king, a year later Shakespeare produced
the play Macbeth. The strategy of producing the play at this time was
very successful, as the play was very relevant to the audience, as it
was compared to a recent happening; the gunpowder plot in 1606.

There are many ideas running through Macbeth's head during the play,
and his thoughts are often shown to the audience by the use of
Soliloquies (asides). This gives the audience a feel of what is going
through Macbeth's mind and how his thoughts change during the play. We
know in the play that Macbeth has been a successful soldier and has
fought for his country. He is seen as a hero at the start of the play
and is admired by everyone. This is what Duncan says about him,

'O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman'. (Act I Scene 2)

This is an example of the feeling other characters had towards Macbeth
at the start of the play, along with the audience. They think that
Macbeth is truly a brave man having fought for his country, and that
he is genuinely a good person.

Macbeth himself has his own ambitions about becoming king. It is his
ultimate dream and would be the pinnacle of his career. He believes
that not only would he be a good king, but feels he deserves to be
given the crown,

If ill,

Why hath it given me the earning of success,

Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor.

If good, why do I yield to that suggestion.' (Act I Scene 3)

This shows that Macbeth has already thought about becoming king, and
deep inside believes that he deserves to be king after the heroics he
performed when fighting for his country in the war.

Also, Macbeth is horrified by the thought of becoming king via killing
Duncan, but then accepts that what will be will be,

'Come what come may,

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.' (Act I Scene 3)

This quote basically says that if Macbeth becomes king by killing
Duncan, then so be...

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