Macbeth

Regicide in Macbeth 12th Grade

In 'Macbeth,' the eponymous character fulfils his own overwhelming thirst for power by committing what was viewed to be worst possible crime: regicide. This initial murder of King Duncan acts as a starting point for Macbeth's reign of terror, and results in him no longer being viewed as a courageous warrior, but instead a fraudulent tyrant, eventually leading to his death at the hands of Macduff. Shakespeare uses the crime, its initial aftermath and its long-term consequences to develop the main characters of the play, deepening the audience's understanding primarily of Macbeth but also of Lady Macbeth and Banquo.

According to the Medieval Scottish society in which the play is set, King Duncan is the representative of God on Earth; to kill Duncan is to betray the deity himself, resulting in damnation to an eternity in hell. Where Duncan represents the light of God, the Witches represent the powers of darkness. In this way, it is not solely the act itself which alienates Macbeth from God; in committing the murder, Macbeth is also fulfilling the prophecies of evil. Macbeth later actively seeks out the help of the Witches, certifying his kingship not as a rule by divine right, and not even simply as the rule of a...

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