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Macbeth Deserves Death?Macbeth deserves to die at the end of the play: would you agree...

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dj12 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 19, 2007 at 5:23 PM via web

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Macbeth Deserves Death?

Macbeth deserves to die at the end of the play: would you agree with this view?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 19, 2007 at 7:00 PM (Answer #2)

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This is a personal response question, and it depends on how much you sympathize with the protagonist.  Macbeth is a tragic hero, meaning a hero that is brought down by his own fatal flaw.  His flaw has been unchecked ambition.  He "wanted" so much that he allowed himself to act against his better judgement, and he eventually spiraled out of control.

Personally, I think that Macbeth shows little remorse.  When he comments "out, out brief candle" in response to Lady Macbeth's death, he begins a speech about the uselessness of his pursuits in the grand scheme of life.  However, despite his realization that he acted badly, he does not atone for it.  He does not feel guilty about the murders he has committed, only that he has done so for little reason.  He does not turn himself in and apologize, but stubbornly fights to the very end.  For these reasons, I do believe he caused his own death and deserves it.

But what do you think?  Could Macduff just have arrested him?  Did he really have to die?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 19, 2007 at 7:12 PM (Answer #3)

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Macbeth Deserves Death?

Macbeth deserves to die at the end of the play: would you agree with this view?

This is an opinion response.  If you feel that Macbeth took advantage of his free will and he was in full control of his actions, perhaps you would be justified in this argument.  On the other hand, if you feel that Macbeth is a victim of his wife and the witches who fanned the flames of his ambition, perhaps this judgmet is a little harsh.

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted November 20, 2007 at 9:28 AM (Answer #4)

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I think Macbeth deserved to die, and that perhaps the noble death of dying in battle was actually too good for him. His cowardly plots and murders mean that he should have been executed, or killed himself, not die bravely on the battle field. In the context of a warrior like Macbeth, his death in battle was perhaps his only noble act in the play, and after having been such a rotten traitor.

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dj12 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 20, 2007 at 11:57 AM (Answer #5)

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Imagine Macduff was asked to make a speech at Macbeth's funeral.How would he make his speech on Macbeth?

Refering to the text.

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 26, 2007 at 4:39 PM (Answer #6)

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I think Macbeth deserved to die. This is a man so consumed with power that he turns his back on his king-Duncan, his friend-Banquo, and in the end his co-conspirator and wife-Lady Macbeth.  He does not feel anything but sorry for the way things end for himself, there is no remorse or reflection on what his greed has brought him to.

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted November 28, 2007 at 3:09 PM (Answer #7)

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I think Macbeth deserved to die, and that perhaps the noble death of dying in battle was actually too good for him. His cowardly plots and murders mean that he should have been executed, or killed himself, not die bravely on the battle field. In the context of a warrior like Macbeth, his death in battle was perhaps his only noble act in the play, and after having been such a rotten traitor.

While I agree that dying in battle was too good for the literary Macbeth, the history of Scotland at that time suggests that dying on the battlefield was the norm at that time, though.  The historical Duncan (Duncan I) was killed in battle and seven of the ten kings before him were also (of the three that weren't one died of old age, one was murdered and the third was killed after becoming a monk).  Further, Macbeth died in battle as did Lulach, Malcolm (III), and Duncan II.  Brother Donald Bane is the only exception of the time as he was actually imprisoned.

Lucky for us, Shakespeare chose to write the scene as it probably would have happened then and we're able to witness Macduff presenting Malcolm the head as a present.

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:03 AM (Answer #9)

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I would agree that Macbeth deserves to die at the end of the play. He has fallen so far and committed such heinous crimes (the murdering of Macduff's family) that there is no hope left for him. He really has no choice but to fight for his life and accept death as the penalty for his failure.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 12, 2012 at 2:20 AM (Answer #10)

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This really depends on whether you believe in capital punishment or not.  Macbeth certainly deserves the death penalty, and they did have it in his kingdom.  He brutally murdered Macbeth and Banquo for no reason.  However, perhaps his worst crimes were the killing of the completely innocent Fleance and Macduff’s son and wife.

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