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Macbeth's Responsibility

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The disaster in Macbeth mainly revolves around one person, Macbeth. Although other outside conflicts influenced Macbeth to start his killing spree, most of the killings are committed by Macbeth. The witches and Lady Macbeth were the ones who helped pushed him along his self-destruction path, but ultimately Macbeth decided to carry out the evil deed of murdering Duncan by himself.

Macbeth's meeting with the three witches is what first incites the disaster when they tell him that he is to be the Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland. Macbeth is surprised by this news and wants to hear more. Macbeth writing to his wife about his encounter with the witches also proved to be a mistake because she became ambitious about Macbeth becoming king and she becoming queen. Macbeth had outside influences involved in the death of Duncan, but the other deaths in the play are caused only by Macbeth.

Macbeth was also responsible for the deaths of Duncan's guards when he said "O, yet I do repent me of my fury, That I did kill them." (A2, S3, 100-101) He had no reason for killing them but his rage enabled him to be irrational. When Macbeth became suspicious about Banquo knowing that he had killed Duncan, Macbeth ordered him and his son Fleance to be killed. Banquo was killed and Fleance escaped, which upheld the witch's prophesy that Banquo's future would not be happy and that his offspring would be kings. Macbeth showed his true evil when he ordered Banquo and his son to be killed. It showed that he had the ambition to act in a way that would protect his lust for power by retaining the throne of Scotland. When Macduff fled to England, Macbeth ordered that Lady Macduff and her children be killed. He shows no mercy in ordering so, he says: "Seize upon Fife, His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line." (A4, S2, 151-152)

Macbeth is the one responsible for the disaster in Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's ambition and the witches prophesy aided in Macbeth's decision to kill king Duncan, but he is fully responsible for the many other deaths that occurred.



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