Macbeth's Murder of Duncan in William Shakespeare's Macbeth
Various different influences act upon Macbeth causing him to murder
Duncan. The main ones are his ambition, his wife and the witches.
At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a brave warrior, described as
noble and valiant, who knows his place and is a loyal servant to the
king. Then a small seed planted in his very fertile head, grows very
quickly. In other words, Macbeth has a hidden desire deep inside,
which is unearthed by the witches, reinforced by his wife and then
acted upon to become king.
Back then, in the 1600’s, witches were believed to be real and that
their future-telling powers came from the devil. The watching audience
would have construed the weïrd sisters in Macbeth as scarily real
evildoers, whereas now they are just in stories. This is why Banquo
exclaims “What! Can the Devil speak true?”.
The witches start the ball rolling, by hailing him first as “Thane of
Glamis, which he is, then as “Thane of Cawdor”, which soon comes true
and then as one who “shalt be king hereafter”. One claim comes true
and so Macbeth logically presumes that the next will do too. However,
it is important to remember that they do not make any reference or
suggestion about killing Duncan to become king, yet they tempt him.
Macbeth is keen to hear of this “strange intelligence” as this is what
he wants to hear; they have touched upon a coveted ambition. The
witches also tempt Banquo, but he sees through them and warns Macbeth
that “oftentimes to win us to our harm, / The instruments of darkness
tell us truths, / Win us with honest trifles – to betray’s / in
deepest consequence.” Macbeth flinches when he hears the prophesy,
instead of saying that’s not true, he reacts worriedly and Banquo
notices, “Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear/ Things that do
sound so fair?”
Macbeth is not sure whether or not act to bring about his prophesy,
and Lady Macbeth sees this as a kind of hypocrisy- he wants the reward
of evil, yet dare not commit the act; “Wouldst not play false/And yet
would falsely win”.
Lady Macbeth is another influence acting upon Macbeth. After receiving
Macbeth’s letter, it turns out that she is as ambitious as her husband
is. Macbeth knows this and calls her “my dearest partner in
greatness”. She immediately assumes that they need to kill Duncan. She
knows exactly what she’s doing and realises that no ordinary woman
would plan this murder,...