To What Extent is Macbeth pushed into killing king Duncan?
Numerous people and factors push Macbeth into killing the king. The main factors are:
? Lady Macbeth
? The Witches and Fate
? King Duncan
? Himself (Macbeth)
I start with probably the most influential character upon Macbeth, his wife, Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth believes what the witches have said and therefore believes that she will become the queen.
‘Have I thought good to deliver thee’
She obviously has a great ambition and will do almost anything to fulfil her ambition. This shows a great evilness in her
‘And dashed the brains out’
She is also reluctant to accept Macbeths original thought of leaving the idea alone
‘What beast was’t then that made you break this enterprise to me’
She appears supremely confident about murdering Duncan even though Macbeth is not which also shows of her great ambition to succeed and become queen of Scotland.
‘We Fail? … But screw your courage… and we’ll not fail’
Lady Macbeth plans the murder from a very early stage even when Macbeth is unsure of what he is to do
‘When Duncan is asleep… his spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt of our great quell?
Overall Lady Macbeths ambition, confidence and naivete is perhaps the major factor in pushing Macbeth into the murder of Duncan. She does not think of the consequences of the murder so she is 100% behind Macbeth killing Macbeth, which makes it difficult for Macbeth to go against her.
Another factor is Banquo. The fact that Banquo knows of what the ‘imperfect speakers’ said is a major factor pushing Macbeth away from killing the King. If the King were to be murdered Banquo would be suspicious and would most likely suspect Macbeth of doing the evil deed of killing the king. This would obviously put Macbeth off.
Another factor is that of the Witches. Without them Macbeth would most likely not think twice about killing the king.
‘All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king thereafter’
If someone were to just tell him this he would most likely not believe it but it was the fact that the witches had forecasted that he would be Thane of Cawdor and Thane of Glamis correctly.
The witches forced him to think about being king but at first he expected to be made king without doing anything for it but he then realises there is only one way, to kill the king. This encounter with the witches has put him in two minds.
‘I know I am Thane of Glamis but how of Cawdor’
The encounter with the witches is obviously the most important factor because without it Macbeth would not kill the king but their presence and correct prediction causes him to think.
Another factor that may be connected with the witches or may not is the dagger soliloquy.
In this soliloquy Macbeth is confronted with either black magic from the witches or a hallucination caused by the anxiety which was caused by this awkward solution, in the form of a dagger.
‘Is this a dagger I see before me…’
The dagger is definitely an illusion in either form whether it is a hallucination or black magic but the presence of it causes Macbeth to be confident of his decision. The dagger also has large drops of blood on it or ‘gouts of blood’ which suggests that he has either made up his mind or that the witches are pressurising him to do it. After this Macbeth leaves to do the deed.
‘I go, and it is done.’
Macbeths murder of Duncan is caused by him being pushed by numerous figures. People putting great pressure upon him in the way of Naivety, selfishness and ambition caused him to use other peoples pressure than use more of his own thinking.