Macbeth - Up to what extent is Macbeth responsible for Duncan´s murder?

Essay by nachosoHigh School, 11th gradeB+, May 2008

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After having killed Duncan, Macbeth feels doomed and self-condemns himself in such way that when he “ha[s] most need of blessing”, he can “not say amen”. However, much has been debated whether the burden for having killed is only borne by Macbeth or if he shares the blame with somebody else. The purpose of the present essay is to state why I believe that Macbeth has killed only out of greed and is therefore doomed to hell and eternal damnation.

In first place, although Macbeth carefully considers the consequences of him murdering Duncan and knows that he should not kill for several reasons, he later commits the murder. Macbeth is tempted by the prospect of being King of Scotland, so what in the end makes him murder is his ruthless seeking after power, being his ambition the tragic flaw that causes his downfall: “I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition”.

As he journeys from being a brave soldier to a murderer, Macbeth is revealed as a deeply sensitive man, tortured by his imagination and his conscience. He knows that it is wrong to kill Duncan and struggles to overcome his evil thoughts, but he cannot overcome his ambition.

In second place, Macbeth is shown to be a “good and hardy soldier” and a “worthy” man, thus he is strong and has a conscience. He is strong enough to defeat hoards of enemies but cannot defeat his own greed and later his conscience: despite knowing that what he does is wrong, he does it none the less, hence suffering the torture of his conscience as a result; Macbeth is so conscience-stricken that feels as if his “hand will rather / The multitudinous seas red incarnadine”. He is constantly tormented by his...