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Essay/Term paper: Lady macbeth responsible for duncan's death

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Macbeth

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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. Lady

Macbeth solely set up Duncan"s murder making it as easy as

possible for Macbeth to commit the assassination of the king.

This is another way in which Lady Macbeth is responsible for

the assassination of Duncan. The audience does not know

that Lady Macbeth feels that she is responsible for the

destruction of her husband until the end when she

sleepwalks. Lady Macbeth is excellent at hiding her true

feelings. She especially fooled Duncan with her great

hospitality and thoughtfulness. She also is good at remaining

cool in tense situations and is good at getting out of tense

situations. For example, when Macbeth was hallucinating at

the dinner party, and was seeing Banqou"s ghost, Lady

Macbeth remained cool and made up a plausible explanation

for her husband"s actions. Although she seems to have no

conscience, we see at the end when she is sleepwalking, that

she is deeply troubled. She knows that it is partially her fault

for all the murders, especially Duncan"s. Lady Macbeth, "has

light by / her continually, "Tis her command" (V.i.24-25). Lady

Macbeth is now afraid of the dark because all the crimes that

were committed were done in the dark. Her fear of darkness

shows the audience that she regrets what she has done and

that she knows what she did was wrong. The thought of

killing Duncan entered Macbeth"s mind before he spoke to his

wife. He first reveals his thoughts when he says, "If good, 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?" (I.iii.147-150). Macbeth is utterly horrified

that he would think of such a thing as killing his own king. He

is very disturbed that he was capable of thinking about such

treasonable things. Although Macbeth was upset with himself

about having thoughts concerning killing Duncan, Macbeth

wishes that he would have the fortitude to go ahead and kill

Duncan. Macbeth expresses his desire to be able to kill

Duncan even though he knows he will regret it when he says,

"The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be / Which the eye

fears, when it is done, to see" (I.iv.59-60). Lady Macbeth gave

Macbeth that extra push that he needed to become a ruthless

killer. However not all the blame can go on Lady Macbeth, her

husband did not have to listen to her and he did not have to

kill Duncan. Macbeth chooses to kill Duncan, it was his own

free will. Lady Macbeth did influence his thinking, but

Macbeth could not be totally blameless, he must take at least

half the blame for his destruction. Lady Macbeth, however, is

also responsible and she cannot be getting off the hook, she

deserves what she gets in the end because she was a main

factor in Macbeth"s decision to kill Duncan. This decision led

to Macbeth becoming a ruthless killer for which she must take

some blame.  

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