Where does the major responsibility for Duncan's death lie?

Essay by craigHigh School, 12th grade October 1996

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There were many people involved in the death of Duncan, the King of Scotland. However, Macbeth bears the major responsibility for the murder. Macbeth committed the task by his own hand. He understood the significance of the prediction in relation to his own ambitions. Finally, Macbeth was aware of his actions and he accepted them.

Macbeth murdered Duncan. He was the one who stabbed the King and he admits that freely in the play. 'I have done the deed' relates Macbeth to his Lady after he completed the objective. (II, ii, l.19) Before the murder he says

'I go and it is done; the bell invites me.

Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell

That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.' (II, I, l.69-71)

In such he plainly states his intent to murder Duncan and again later on, he mentions in a soliloquy that 'To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself.'

(II, ii, l.92) Preceding the actual death of Duncan, Macbeth's ambitions became apparent as the significance of the prediction and actual events emerged.

Being an ambitious man, Macbeth said

'... I have no spur

To prick the sides of my intent, but only

Vaulting ambition which o'erleaps itself

And falls on the other.' (I,vii,l.25-28)

In this speech Macbeth broadcasts his immense ambitions which are the only reason he is pursuing the witches prediction. Macbeth, upon hearing the witches speak was startled at their prophecy. Banquo said to him 'Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear / Things that do sound so fair?'(I,iii,l.54-55) Macbeth was startled because of the implications of the forecast. Macbeth had thought before about the very thing that he was now being told was his. He was infatuated with the idea and he lusted after information pertaining...