In this essay I am to discuss the statement Lady Macbeth is the real driving force behind the murder of King Duncan and decide whether I believe this viewpoint is correct or whether I believe that there were other influences on the dagger hand of the Thane of Cawdor. To come to a decision and accomplish my task, I will be looking at the events leading up to the murder and the characters involved in the decision to murder Duncan. Also, I will need to look at the historical and cultural aspects of the play like why witches were included in the play and also the ways that the play was written around the true story of King Macbeth of Scotland. We first encounter the character of Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5 while she is reading the letter sent to her by Macbeth describing his first encounter with the three witches. From then on she shows herself to be ambitious and strong mentally yet weak in her actions (she found herself unable to kill Duncan herself, and gave the excuse that he looked too much like her father as he slept).
As soon as she reads the letter, she decides that Macbeth will be the next Scottish King and fulfil the witches prophecy no matter the method.
This proves that Lady Macbeth was a driving force behind Duncans murder, but the question remains – was she the true driving force behind the event To answer this question, I need to look at all the influences involved, and to do this I first need to ask, What is it that started both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth thinking of kingships and murder The answer is the word sisters of the blasted heath the three witches. The witches were used in the play for two main reasons. First and foremost, they were used as a catalyst to start the chain of events resulting in Duncans murder the suicide of Lady Macbeth, and the fall of Dunsinane to the revolutionary forces of MacDuff. Secondly, they were used as a personification of evil for the audiences. This was a symbolic character they could relate with, since the play was written especially for King James I of England, who was also King James VI of Scotland and a staunch believer in and hater of witchcraft. As the king believed that witches were evil and in league with the devil, so too did the common people of England.
... the duality and un stability of his character. Macbeth's mind is contemplating the murder of Duncan, bu the clearly hasn't come to terms ... It is unclear whether the Witches plant the idea of earning these titles by foul play to Macbeth's head, or whether it is ... of his inevitable destiny. 3. Free Will Diminished When Macbeth has become King and felt power, he doesn't want to give it ...
Therefore, they would quite readily believe that a witch could cast spells, see into the future, tie wind into three knots, and become your mortal enemy if you refused to give them food, among other things. The general view of the people was that witches were the emissaries of the devil, and since at that time, religion played a major part in the lives of people, these witches were seen as pure evil. Witches were the most evil things on earth, and these three witches were no exception to that rule. The witches, through three sentences helped the imaginations of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to start forming ideas of murder. These statements took the forms of prophecy All hail Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! All hail Macbeth! hail to thee Thane of Cawdor! All hail Macbeth! thou shalt be king hereafter… Without these predictions, the seeds of grim imagination they planted in the minds of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth would never have taken seed to result in the death of Duncan.
There is a chance that if it wasnt for these three witches, the Macbeths would never have even contemplated murder. None of the events involving the witches would have happened though if they had been unable to convince Macbeth of the authenticity of their statements. To do this they did things like addressing him by name, although he had never met them before; also, they made him believe the predictions through the first two statements. The witches first statement, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis convinced Macbeth that these werd sisters knew him, and maybe had supernatural powers.
Analyse Macbeth Tragic Degeneration From A Brave, Loyal Subject To A Murderous Tyrant The play focuses on the changing character of Macbeth and his increasing greed for power. Many factors contribute to the changes to Macbeth throughout the play which cause the character to deteriorate from a man with nobility and good intentions to one who is ruled by ambition and greed. The play begins with the ...
The second statement, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor convinced Macbeth that the witches could see into the future, since he himself only found out he was Thane of Cawdor after the witches had disappeared. These convinced Macbeth that they [the witches] have more in them than mortal knowledge. The final convincing event came at the witches exit, when they made themselves air The witches may have planted the seeds in Macbeths brain, but it was his own ambition that helped these seeds to grow into thoughts of murder. Macbeth was the first character to think of murder. This is indicated in his first soliloquy by phrases such as why do I yield to that suggestion, whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs, against the use of nature and refer to these murderous thoughts as horrible imaginings. His use of the word yield indicates that Macbeth does not want to be thinking these treacherous thoughts.
Despite his aspirations and ambitions, he decides against murder, using the line if chance will crown me king, why chance may crown me without a stir. Macbeth has decided to leave the future to chance, but his thoughts of murder by this time have already weakened any resolve he had to stick by this decision. He is left impressionable, and so to persuade him to do the very thing he decided against would take less effort than it probably would usually. Macbeths deliberation about leaving things to chance is called into question though in Act 1 Scene 4, in which Duncan pronounces Malcolm his successor.
The Prince of Cumberland: that is a step on which I must fall down, or else oerleap, for in my way it stands. Macbeth says in this quote or else oerleap, which suggests that he is again thinking of alternative methods of achieving the kingship. These thoughts could have come originally from his own ambition, or it could have come from the witches making him more susceptible to these suggestions. This could be the case because Macbeths first lines So fair and foul a day I have not seen emulates the witches line in Act 1 Scene 1, Fair is foul and foul is fair The character of Macbeth is courageous and a good general. He has a reputation for being one of the kings elite soldiers.
He regularly receives praise from everyone, from the captain who acts as a messenger and describes Macbeth as Brave Macbeth well he deserves that name, up to the Thane of Ross, describing him as most worthy Thane. His praise even comes from the King himself, calling him valiant cousin, worthy gentleman. He seems to all intents and purposes as the perfectly loyal soldier, commanding the kings armies against their enemy, the Norwegians, and winning. The perfect soldier he seems, yet he has three main downfalls: his ambition, his imagination, and his love for his wife. These three things combined made him susceptible to the pressure put on him by Lady Macbeth. Macbeths ambition gave him a part of his mind that, although he was fighting the thought of murder, kept re-suggesting it.
... it, he took out his own dagger and committed the murder, Lady Macbeth still stayed the stronger of the two she was the ... turn of the third and ultimate witch, she said to Machbeth, all hail to the King, at this instant Machbeth was fascinated ... but when the body is found act astonished like it suprises you and disgusts you. Macbeth has a change of heart he ...
No matter how much the idea repulsed him, this part of him still wanted to be sat on the Stone of Scone, regardless of the cost to his own morality. His imagination introduced the concept of murder in the first place, before he even sent the letter to his wife. His love for his wife is the main downfall though, since it is his wife who pushes him into the act. She did this by challenging his masculinity, accusing him of cowardice and saying he has no determination when Macbeth resolves not to go through with the deed. All the pressure, guilt, and mental and emotional stress finally get to him just before the murder, making him hallucinate.
He sees a floating dagger leading him towards Duncans chamber. Is this a dagger I see before me, he says, allowing the audience to know he is hallucinating. He didnt find the murder itself easy, since after he entered, he began having auditory hallucinations. He thought he heard one of the kings bodyguards say God bless us and Amen the other, yet he found himself unable to say Amen. This was probably his subconscious mind telling him that he was going against God; this is because at the time the play was written, the people believed that the monarch was appointed by God, and so to go against the monarch was not only to go against God, but disrupt the cosmological order in the nation. Macbeth was so overcome with guilt after the murder that he went into shock, unable to go back to the scene of the murder to return the daggers which he, in a state of horror and repulsion at what he had done, had forgotten to leave behind.
He remarked Will all great Neptunes oceans wash this blood clean from my hands while he tries to wash away the royal blood. He was racked with guilt about his actions. Looking at Macbeth in this state, we realise he could never have murdered Duncan on his own, with only his ambition driving him. Lady Macbeth must have played a part in the outcomes of that evening. Lady Macbeth knew her husband very well. She understood his strengths and weaknesses probably better than he did, and this is why she had so little trouble persuading him to kill Duncan.
... Lady Macbeth (i. v), she receives a letter telling her about the witches' prophecy of Macbeth becoming king; she immediately begins to plan Duncan's murder. ... cope with the torment from his wife and kills Duncan. In conclusion, Macbeth can be generalized as a strong ... has two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Macbeth is a general of Duncan's army, and Lady Macbeth is his wife. Each of these ...
She knew how to use these strengths and weaknesses to her own advantage while suggesting murder to Macbeth. One of Macbeths weaknesses would seem to be his pride in his masculinity, and his inability to back down from a challenge or argument. You can see how Lady Macbeth exploits this weakness with phrases like art thou a feared to be the same in act and valour as thou art in desire and would thou have that which thou esteems t the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem These two quotes ask Macbeth if he is afraid to do what he set out to do, and asking him if he thinks he can achieve the crown without doing anything to make it come about through his actions; like the poor cat ith adage. This refers to a proverb, or adage, where a cat wants to catch a fish, but isnt willing to get his feet wet. Therefore the fish got away from the cat as the crown would get away from Macbeth. You can see from Lady Macbeths actions that she is pushing Macbeth towards murder, showing herself to be a driving force.
Lady Macbeth is ambitious for her husband. She shows this by showing no indication of doubt, suspicion, or hesitation in her reaction to reading of the witches prophecy. She doesnt just decide that her husband should become king, but starts believing that he will be king without any doubt that it will happen. Her one concern is Macbeths ability to fulfil the prophecy, fearing he is 2 too full of the milk of human kindness to be able to do what it takes to become king. However, she believes she can win him over with the valour of my tongue, which she eventually does, re-suggesting murder to her husband, encouraging him, even pressuring him to do it. Lady Macbeth, for all her faults does have her feminine qualities.
She is a loving wife, caring for the well being of her husband, and only forcing his hand when she knows he cant do it himself. She is described as honoured hostess in Act 1 Scene 7. She could however be doing exactly as she had said in this scene look like th innocent flower, but be the serpent under, and probably is. She has to force herself to be strong and ruthless, perhaps too much.
Question: Explain the ways in which Lady Macbeth changes through-out the play, looking particularly at her attitude towards the murder of King Duncan. There are many ways in which Lady Macbeth changes throughout the play. Throughout the play we see a gradual change in her attitude towards the murder of King Duncan. We see that Lady Macbeth changes from an attitude of wanting to be callously cruel ...
While Macbeth is having horrible imaginings of the future beyond the murder in his soliloquy at the beginning of Act 1 Scene 7, Lady Macbeth forbids herself this. She becomes entirely focused on the murder, not even contemplating failure. Her absoluteness of purpose, her total discipline, and her full control of the situation are immaculate. She succeeds in morally paralyzing Macbeth with her willpower. Eventually, her rigid self-discipline plays a part in her later insanity.
Macbeth eventually came to realise the precarious nature of his position. Lady Macbeth hasnt done this, for the rigid self-discipline she has crafted will not allow her. This results in a build up of gilt, which causes her eventual insanity. She forces herself to be strong and cruel, but doesnt accept that the sovereign sway of master dom she expected has not materialised. Her character is very strong and, as I have said before, excelling in self-discipline. Her mentality is stronger than her will physically.
She can persuade Macbeth to murder Duncan in his sleep, but she cannot do it herself because he resembled my father as he slept. In Act 1 Scene 7, she, while persuading Macbeth to commit the act, outlines her plan, something which she alone devised. Through doing this, she proves that she has been thinking about the murder, maybe non-stop, since the characters first discussion in Act 1 Scene 5. She plans the whole thing out for Macbeth, just leaving him to do it. She does all the thinking, but she didnt play a part in the actual murder, she didnt help carry the deed out, she just planned it.
In her plan, she outlines ways of diverting the blame from them using the guards daggers, then leaving them with the drugged guards covered with blood. She tells Macbeth while he is trying to wash the blood from his hands a little water clears us of this deed. She seems to feel no immediate guilt after the murder, no remorse, just satisfaction that her husband will be king- that is if she can keep him from making everyone suspect them. Near the end of the play however, her guilt catches up with her, and she starts sleepwalking, saying things like who would have thought the old had so much blood in him, obviously talking of Duncan. She denies her conscience until she cannot anymore, then apparently goes mad. One question remains Why did Shakespeare use Lady Macbeth as a cause for the murder of Duncan To answer this, we need to look at the history of Scotland.
... learns of King Duncan s visit that night, the opportunity has emanated, calling upon evil spirits to make her relentlessly murder Duncan. Macbeth arrives, ... us of this deed. She speaks of the deaths of Duncan, Lady Macduff and unknown to the doctor Banquo, alarming him ... to join up with the English forces and march to Scotland. Back at Macbeth s castle; Lady Macbeth s lady-in-waiting has called upon ...
The real Macbeth was born around 1005, son of the second daughter of the King, Malcolm II. His wifes name was Gru och. Her brother and her first husband both died at the hands of Malcolms followers, who were headed by the son of Malcolms first daughter, the man who became his successor, King Duncan I of Scotland. Avenging his wife and disputing the throne, Macbeth, Thane of Cromarty and Moray, brought Duncans rule to an abrupt end: on 14 August 1040, Duncan was mortally wounded in a battle at Pitgaveny after six years as King. Macbeth reigned for a further seventeen years before he was killed in a skirmish at Lump hanan in Aberdeenshire. The vengeance of his wifes brother and first husband were the reason Macbeth killed Duncan, and it may have been his wife who persuaded him to take vengeance.
Therefore, we can assume that Shakespeare originally had Lady Macbeth as the real driving force, but added the witches for the benefit of King James I, and the ambition of Macbeth for the audience and for the story. Looking at the evidence I have shown in this essay, I can determine that Lady Macbeth was a major driving force behind the assassination, but Macbeths ambition and the witches prophecies played an important part in the final outcome. Without the witches prophetic statements the chain reaction ending in the death of Duncan may never have started. Without Macbeths ambition, Lady Macbeth may not have been able to persuade Macbeth to commit murder for a crown. Without Lady Macbeths ruthless determination, Duncan would most probably not have been murdered. I can therefore determine that Lady Macbeth was a Driving force behind the murder of Duncan, but she was not the real driving force..