Macbeth’s Killing of Duncan in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth
In this essay I will explore all the reasons and explanations behindthe killing of Duncan by Macbeth. I will explore all the influencesupon him that lead to him deciding to kill Duncan; who is his king. Iwill explore four factors that contribute to the murder of Duncan;these factors are: Macbeth’s personal ambitions, the weaknesses ofDuncan, the witches and the ever-present influence of Lady Macbeth.
This play is based upon the life of a real man, Macbeth. He was bornin the year 1005, and was the grandson of King Malcolm II. Later inMacbeth’s life he fights a battle and eventually kills a man calledDuncan near Elgin. After killing Duncan he then drove his sons out ofthe country. This relates strongly to the play, where the thoughts ofMacbeth are explored more often and the story slightly different.
When James I of England became king, a year later Shakespeare producedthe play Macbeth. The strategy of producing the play at this time wasvery successful, as the play was very relevant to the audience, as itwas 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 ofSoliloquies (asides). This gives the audience a feel of what is goingthrough Macbeth’s mind and how his thoughts change during the play. Weknow in the play that Macbeth has been a successful soldier and hasfought for his country. He is seen as a hero at the start of the playand is admired by everyone. This is what Duncan says about him,
‘O valiant cousin, wort…
…agesMacbeth so much, she taunts him, and she questions his manhood, all tohave power for herself. The whole play is filled with twists anddifferent ideas on why Macbeth kills Duncan, but I feel the followingquote sums up the main reason why Macbeth kills him,
‘How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn
As you have done to this.’ (Act I Scene 7)
I feel this quote sums up why Macbeth kills Duncan because it showsthe methods of persuasion of Lady Macbeth. I think Lady Macbeth is themain reason behind the killing of Duncan, as she taunts him by sayinghe is not a man if he does not perform the deed. Her methods obviouslywork on Macbeth as the deed is finally done.