The Importance Of Duncan’s Murder In Macbeth
The Importance of Duncan’s Murder in Macbeth
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the repercussions of Macbeth murdering his King are very numerous. Through themes that include, imagery, soliloquies, atmosphere, and supernatural beings, Shakespeare enforces the magnitude of Macbeth’s crime. Most of these factors are linked together.
One of the main ways in which the horror of the murder is underlined is through the Great Chain of Being. At the time this play was written, it was believed that there was a hierarchy in the universe, with God being at the top, then angels, then the King, then man, and finally animals. This meant that the King was God’s representative on earth, and so if a rebel were to attack the King, he would be seen to be attacking and rebelling against God. This is seen in Act One, Scene Two, when the Thane of Cawdor rebels against King Duncan, where the Sergeant says – “Ship wracking storms and direful thunders break” (L.26). This thunderous weather symbolizes God’s anger at his representative of Scotland being attacked. The darkness during the play (all but two of the scenes are set in darkness) shows how the night is strangling the earth, representing the anger of God at the events in Scotland. The “Dark night strangles” (Act Two, Scene Four, Line Seven) the earth, showing God’s, overall grip on the world. The King at this time had an absolute monarchy (power of life and death over everyone in his kingdom). The belief was that God had passed special powers to all Kings, such as that for healing, which Malcolm identifies in Edward the Confessor (the King of England) in Act Four, Scene Three – “He cures…the healing benediction…he hath a heavenly gift of prophecy” (L.152-157). Shakespeare later uses Edward to compare a great King to Macbeth, in order to show what a bad King Macbeth is. Macbeth does not have the divinity as he is not a rightful King, and this is why his Scotland turns into chaos.
In killing Duncan, Macbeth goes against the great chain of being. He attacks God through killing Duncan; he undermines God’s authority on earth, which will lead to God being very angry, and eternal damnation for Macbeth. By losing the rightful King, Scotland can only become a worse place, and this is what happens – “Poor country; It cannot be call’d our mother, but out grave” (Act four, scene three, line 164). Duncan was a great King, and for a king of his power and greatness to be sacrificed to the ambition of someone like Macbeth shows the magnitude of the murder.
Duncan’s character backed up his status– he was very generous, such as in giving Macbeth the title of the Thane of Cawdor. But his naivety was his fault as a King, and it is partially what led to his downfall. When Macbeth defends him on the battlefield, he describes Macbeth as a “Valiant cousin…Worthy gentleman” (Act 1 Scene 2 L.24). He praises Macbeth in a regal way – “More is thy due than more than all can pay…I have begun to plant thee, and will...
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Lady Macbeth Responsible For Duncans Death
ohn Keating English Honors Lady Macbeth Must Take Some
Blame for Her Husband’s Destruction In Macbeth, a play
written by Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth is partially responsible
for the destruction of her husband. Lady Macbeth is not a
monster without feelings, however she is tricky and cunning
when she influences Macbeth to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth’s
ability to influence her husband leads the audience to believe
that she is the primary cause for the destruction of Macbeth.
The audience is also led to believe that Lady Macbeth is
responsible because she makes up the details of the plan to
kill Duncan, while Macbeth was considering not even going
through with the murder. Although Macbeth had the thought of
killing Duncan, he would not have acted on that thought
unless Lady Macbeth persuaded him. Lady Macbeth is sly
person, able to manipulate her husband, and this ability to
manipulate Macbeth makes her partially responsible for the
destruction of Macbeth. Lady Macbeth knows that her
husband is too kind to kill Duncan without her help she fears
“thy nature; / It is too full o’th’ milk of human kindness / to
catch the nearest way” (I.v.16-18). She is very much aware of
the fact that she needs to push Macbeth to kill Duncan or else
he will not do it. We see Macbeth’s hesitance to murder the
king when he lists reasons not to kill Duncan in Act 1, when
he says, “He’s here in double trust: / First, as I am his
kinsman and his subject, / Strong both against the deed; then,
as his host, / Who should against his murderer shut the door,
/ Not bear the knife myself” (I.vii.12-16). Macbeth then says,
“Besides, this Duncan / Hath born his faculties so meek, hath
been / So clear in his great office, that his virtues / Will plead
like angles, trumpet-tongued, against / The deep damnation
of his taking off” (I.vii.16-19). We see that Macbeth does not
want to kill Duncan because he is afraid of being caught.
Lady Macbeth knows exactly how to manipulate her husband,
and uses that skill while she talks to Macbeth. Lady Macbeth
insults her husband by undermining his manliness. Lady
Macbeth tells her husband, “When durst do it, then you were
a man; / And to be much more than what you were, you would
/ Be so much more the man” (I.vii.56-58). If Lady Macbeth had
not insulted Macbeth’s manhood than he would not have
killed Duncan. Lady Macbeth provided that extra push that
Macbeth needed to commit such an evil deed. This is the
primary way in which Lady Macbeth is responsible for the
murder of Duncan. Lady Macbeth is to blame for the
destruction of her husband because she orchestrated
Duncan’s murder and did just about everything except
actually kill Duncan. She plans the murder and she sets
things in motion by giving the wine to the kings servants. She
also is the one who makes the signal that all is ready....
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