When the second of the witches prophecies becomes true, Macbeth immediately thinks of murdering King Duncan. “I am of Cawdor: / If good, why do I yield to that suggestion / Whose image doth unfix my hair” (I, iii, 143-145). For the first time in the story excluding his initial meeting with the witches which was by coincidence, we see the true, dark side to the “brave Macbeth“. Macbeth then sees himself kill his ruler Duncan in a dream state, Macbeth is at this point horrified by the idea. However, his thoughts of seeking out his destiny of becoming King still remain.
His own human nature, paranoia and selfishness are what leads him to his death. Macbeth is to blame for his death at the end of the play. Macbeth is manipulated by the witches and believes in their prophecies. The witches have considerable influence over Macbeth throughout the play. First, their early predictions stating that he will be king, and then the predictions of the apparitions saying that he only could be murdered by someone that was not born of a woman.
However, because Lady Macbeth has ambition beyond her status, she wants him to become King as soon as possible. The only problem for Lady Macbeth is she feels Macbeth is too nice to kill Duncan. She says “it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness”, which shows Lady Macbeth thinks of her husband as a coward. The soliloquy used by Shakespeare truly shows the disturbed mind of Lady Macbeth; creating an unsettling affect on the audience through his representation of her as a scheming and dangerous character. The use of imagery reveals that witchcraft was a fascination of Elizabethan England.
At first Macbeth agrees, but later Macbeth is having second thoughts on his decision. But Lady Macbeth is sure that being king is what Macbeth wants and that this is the best for both of them. So in response to Macbeth’s uncertainty, she manipulates him by questioning his manhood and his love for her. At one point she wishes that she were not a woman so that she could do it herself ‘‘Unsex me here’’…/’’come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall’. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections, when he hesitates to murder, she repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself.
The prophecies of the witches have planted a seed in Macbeth’s mind that if he kills Duncan, the current king, he will be one step closer to being king. However, although he is ambitious and his wife is pushing him to kill Duncan, he feels guilty killing his king. As Macbeth is contemplating the murder, he has a vision of a bloody dagger leading him to Duncan. The passage “Is this a dagger I see before me?.” from Macbeth illustrates how Shakespeare uses imagery and allusions to show Macbeth’s indecision and establish his frame of mind. Shakespeare uses imagery to illustrate Macbeth’s conflict between free will and a predetermined fate.
"He's here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subjects, Strong both against the deed; then as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself" (1.7.12-16) This is where Lady Macbeth comes into Macbeths fall. Because of Lady Macbeths strong will, she convinces Macbeth to kill Duncan so that he may become king. She becomes so obsessed about this crime that she even contiplats doing it herself. "Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty." (1.6.35-38) Her drive behind Macbeth drove him to kill Duncan.
It was Lady Macbeth who had planned King Duncan’s murder and the framing of the guards because Macbeth was too worried about the consequences. However, the greed for power corrupted and changed Macbeth. “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, Till thou applaud the deed.” (Act 3: II, line 50-51) Macbeth consoled Lady Macbeth about the necessity of the terrible things planned. The desire for power drove Macbeth to planning a second murder so he could feel secure. “I am in blood stepped in so far, that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.” (Act 3: IV, line 167-169) After committing the murders of Duncan and Banquo, Macbeth had decided that he had already gone so far to get
The other interpretation is that something supernatural and scary is at work, that the dagger is a sign from the witches Macbeth spoke to. This part of his soliloquy uses a rhetorical question, as if he is questioning his own sanity, especially when he realises that it is his own blade, ‘such an instrument I was to use’, covered in ‘gouts of blood’. This shows the reader that Macbeth is already seeing the horror of Duncan’s murder and it creates tension for the reader. It then moves onto the dagger and how it ‘marshall’st’ Macbeth towards Duncan’s chamber, suggesting that the witches are beckoning him to kill the king. This in turn makes the reader feel apprehensive and afraid of the supernatural beings corrupting Macbeth, as it gives a feeling that they are always watching, and also highlights the mystical powers they seem to have.
With the witches’ prophecies mulling over in his mind, and knowing that he was not the successor of the throne, he knew he had to take matters into his own hands. With the support and persuasion of Lady Macbeth, he kills King Duncan and gains his kingship. When Banquo makes his vow to find out who killed Duncan, Macbeth knew he had to silence him. After Macbeth is named king, he seeks out hired murderers to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance. Macbeth does this because he is afraid that Banquo will get in the way of his new title and Fleance, because he is prophesied to be king.
Macbeth is the real villain and Lady Macbeth is just a partner in crime, egging him on because of her desire to be Queen. Macbeth was loyal to his King and was an excellent soldier. However his wife, Lady Macbeth could see a better future for Macbeth as King after Macbeth tells her about the witches and their prophesies in a letter. Despite these conflicting ideas, it was Macbeth himself who decided to murder Duncan and the others. It seems that most people believe that Macbeth is the real villain of the play, after firstly killing the King but then Banquo and Macduff’s family but through Macbeth’s own ambition and desire for power, Lady Macbeth was able to manipulate and evoke weaknesses in Macbeth’s character to cause his respectable needs as a loyal solider, to turn into evil motivations.