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King Duncan's Murder Scene In 'Macbeth'

Updated on September 4, 2014

Lady Macbeth is alone and her soliloquy tells that she has taken wine which has given her fire . Her intoxication will enable her to befriend the assassination soon to be committed.The two Chamberlains sleep soundly for she has put drugs in their wine.She is happy at her alacrity to become the Queen after her husband treacherously becomes the King.She says that had Duncan not resembled her father as he slept,she herself would have done the deed.

Having murdered the King,Macbeth arrives to deliver the good news to his beloved Lady ,with hands smeared with blood.Macbeth gives the harrowing news that one of the grooms cried 'murder'.In a state of drowsiness,they prayed to God and uttered the word 'Amen' in a delirium before sleeping again.Unlikely enough,Macbeth could not pronounce 'Amen'.Macbeth takes it for granted that he will not be able to sleep anymore.He says:

"Methought I heard a voice cry sleep no more,

Macbeth does murder sleep,the innocent sleep;

Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,

The death of each day's life,sore labour's bath,

Balm of hurt minds,great Nature's second course,

Chief nourisher in life's feast."

Lady Macbeth advises him to place the daggers near the grooms for it must seem to be their guilt.On the contrary, Macbeth doesn't seem to have the courage to see petrified,dead Duncan again.She herself takes the lead and does the required deed.

While her Lady is away,Macbeth indulges in a soliloquy,in which he laments the deed done.Lady Macbeth on her return says that a little water will prove them guiltless but ironically,no amount of water will be enough and it is going to bring ruin for them.

Loud knocking is heard at the door and they put on their night gowns lest they are marked as watchers.Macbeth is unhinged but Lady Macbeth manages the shameful event with tactfulness.

The Murder scene displays Macbeth's inordinate ambition reaching its climax and the betrayal done to the lawful King who does not have an inkling concerning Macbeth's treachery.The assassination of Duncan has been planned before and it becomes easy to commit such a horrendous deed because of Lady Macbeth who seems to lack the milk of Human Kindness,even though she talks about Duncan's resemblance with her father.She is a wicked serpent through and through who pours poison into the already poisonous Macbeth's mind. She only carries forward the prediction given by the three 'Weird Sisters'.The Witches know it very well that they have their Hellish manifestation in the form of Lady Macbeth who alone is enough to convert acts into thoughts.

Starting from the persuasion, she scoffs at Macbeth for trying to follow the policy of escapism.She considers the'murder' as inevitable and being bold and bloody will lead them to the apex of worldly life.She has herself drugged the wine of the grooms so that they ought not to come in the way but must bear the guilt of their act of killing.After the murder has been done,Macbeth simpers like an annoying person but her Lady again takes a pivotal role in returning the daggers back to the chamberlains and paint their faces with Duncan's blood.She is courageous to do what Macbeth dares not,that is to look at the bleeding corpse devoured by never ending sleep.She comes back to Macbeth merrily,with blood stained hands while he stands apathetically staring at his own gory hands.She quickly reacts to the knocking at the South Entry and uses water to clear them off the deed.Putting on their night gowns,they leave the way for the Porter to rant and rage at Macduff's hard knocking.It is for us to presume whether Lady Macbeth is any way less than a fourth Witch or a little more than a wicked Murderess.


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