Friday, July 13, 2012

english Coursework

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Lady Macbeth is responsible for the death of Duncan. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

I agree that Lady Macbeth is partly responsible for the death of Duncan. However, I do also believe that she alone was not the only person to conspire and commit this sinful act. There were other characters that I think proposed and carried out the actions that led to the murder of King Duncan.

After returning victorious from the battle with the rebel Macdonwald, Macbeth and Banquo come across the three weird sisters (witches). They are curious about the sisters and ask of them what they are; the response they get is unexpected and dubious.

“All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!

All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter.”

Macbeth is sceptical of these words and dismisses them. However, when they meet Rosse and Angus they are shocked to hear that Macbeth has been made Thane of Cawdor, this startles Macbeth. He reacts by saying,

“Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor/The greatest is behind”

This means that he is now both Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, and the greatest thing is yet to come. (Become King) This is the first sign in the play that Macbeth believes what the witches have said, and that he now does want to be King. This thought disturbs him greatly, and therefore he resolves to leave matters to chance. I.e. not conspire to do any thing to harm Duncan but know that he will become king soon.

This idea is shattered when Duncan announces to Macbeth and others that Malcolm will in fact succeed him to the throne. Knowing that this is an obstacle, Macbeth plots how to overcome this unwelcome news. Macbeth then writes and sends a letter to his wife, Lady Macbeth, in which he explains the witches’ prophecies. On reading this she now shows her true colours to the audience.

“Come, you spirits/ That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here”

In that she is malicious and tactical. Immediately she concludes that killing Duncan is the option to be taken, especially as she learns that he will be staying in their castle that very night. She plans to do everything in her power to persuade Macbeth to kill Duncan. This is a key part in the events that led to the murder of Macbeth and already Lady Macbeth is affecting the goings on with her sadistic plan.

Macbeth reflects apprehension towards the plan about killing Duncan, but is reassured that he is only to act trustworthy and not out of character towards Banquo or Duncan during the banquet, as to conceal their plan. However, Macbeth still expresses doubts about murdering Duncan and fights his conscience. He fears his judgement in the afterlife and decides to call off the plan. Even so when Lady Macbeth goes to fetch Macbeth back into the banquet and he tells her that he is not going to continue, she uses a clever tactic to change her husbands wavering mind. She accuses him of being a “coward”, and then declares that she would rather kill her own baby that go back on an oath, which Macbeth has technically made. She the reassures him saying that they can blame the bodyguards for the Kings death by drugging them, and then by planting the daggers on them. This again is another important stage in the series of events, because if Lady Macbeth was not there then I am almost certain that Macbeth would have backed out.

When Duncan finally retires to his chambers for the night, Macbeth is very tentative as he is listening out for the sign to enter, (which is the bell ringing). After learning that Lady Macbeth was in the same room as Duncan and said,

“My father as he slept, I had done’ t � My husband”

This means that if he did not resemble her father so much she would have done the deed instead of Macbeth. Which shows that she had, at least once, some respect for others and some kind of conscience. Also the fact that she needed drink to carry out her part of the equation shows she is not all hardened to the core.

After Macbeth has killed Duncan he is a wreck and crumbles under this guilt and shame. Lady Macbeth however, has a calm head and tries to pull Macbeth together,

“A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight”

She tells him not to think about it and clears up after Macbeth by planting the daggers which he forgot to leave behind. This shows she is hard and headstrong whereas Macbeth is frightened. Finally, after returning she makes Macbeth retire to their chambers to not be caught and so that there is no eye-witnesses.

In conclusion I feel Lady Macbeth was vital in keeping the plan going by persuading Macbeth on two occasions to bare it, and in covering up and making the murder at least at the start seem good enough to get away with it. She did not kill Duncan though, and she would not, I think, have conspired to this plot if she had not heard that the three witches had prophesied it first. This leads me to believe that she has an affinity with evil and is a believer in witches and their satanic dealings.

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