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Can we Hold Macbeth Fully Responsible for the Evil Deeds in the Play?

Uploaded by Sprintfellow on Sep 30, 2000

In the play there are many evil deeds that Macbeth committed. These include the murders of Duncan and Banquo, Lady Macduff and her son. Macbeth is also responsible for Scotland's disorder. Macbeth plays the main role in each incident, with the other characters being only minor and undeveloped; acting as vehicles for Macbeth's actions. It is possible that it is not entirely Macbeth's fault for the evil deeds in the play.

In Act II, Scene II Macbeth is patented as a hero, when he defeated Norway in war for his country.

'O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman'

Initially, the Elizabethan audience consider Macbeth as a respectable and well like character. We do however learn that appearances can be deceptive which corresponds with the main theme; 'Fair is foul, Foul is fair' which is referred to a lot throughout the play. This theme is first introduced in Act I, Scene I where the witches foretell the struggle between the forces of evil and good in which Macbeth is to be involved. It is also an indication that all will not be as it seems. This portrays a character as being much worse if the audience's first impressions of that character were positive.
Macbeth's meeting with the witches brings a prediction which symbolises the beginning of Macbeth's downfall.

FIRST WITCH: All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Glamis
SECOND WITCH: All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor.
THIRD WITCH: All hail Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter.

Macbeth is startled when he hears this prophecy. He believes that his title is still Thane of Glamis; yet here he has just been told that he shall be King. He does not know Macdonwald who has been sentenced to death for betraying his country. The witches plant the idea of being King into Macbeth's mind, which has encourages Macbeth to consider his future.
In his soliloquy, the audience learn about Macbeth's initial plan to murder Duncan so that he shall have power and position earlier, thus destroying the natural order.

'My thought, whose murther is yet but fantastical.'

Macbeth sent a letter to Lady Macbeth outlining the witches' prophecy. He also consults her concerning his plans. This is how Macbeth reduces some of the responsibility of the incident of the murder by accepting her guidance and advice.

It becomes apparent that Macbeth is somewhat of a moral coward. This could be seen as a positive attribute as it shows the weaknesses of Macbeth, and...

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Uploaded by:   Sprintfellow

Date:   09/30/2000

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   10 pages (2,273 words)

Views:   1660

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