What are the reasons Macbeth considers against the murder of King Duncan?

The first reason Macbeth considers against the murder of King Duncan concerns the consequences of his actions. Macbeth recognizes that his bloody deed will come back to haunt him. Macbeth acknowledges that he is Duncan's kinsman, subject, and host, and that he will be violating the most sacred principles by committing regicide. Macbeth realizes that Duncan is a humble leader who does not deserve to die. Macbeth also fears that he will fail at his assassination attempt.

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Macbeth considers and reconsiders his reasons for killing King Duncan several times at the beginning of the play, most notably in his soliloquy at the beginning of act I, scene 7. Here, Macbeth gives the following reasons against killing Duncan:

1. Duncan is his kinsman, meaning that he will be committing a sin in murdering a family member.

2. Duncan is his king, meaning that he will be committing regicide, an extreme act of public treachery.

3. He is Duncan's host, sworn to protect his guests against harm, and therefore certainly obliged not to murder them.

4. Duncan is an excellent king. There is no altruistic reason to kill and replace him, only personal ambition.

By the time Lady Macbeth enters, he has decided not to kill Duncan, and adds two further reasons in his ensuing argument with her.

5. Macbeth has just been made Thane of Cawdor, and is at the height of his favor and success. He (and his wife) should enjoy these honors and accomplishments rather than immediately embarking on a crime which could ruin everything.

6. This attempt to kill the king might fail. What then?

All these reasons are perfectly sensible, but Lady Macbeth sweeps them aside with the sheer force of her personality, leaving Macbeth as determined to kill Duncan at the end of the scene as he was doubtful about doing so at the beginning.

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Macbeth provides several valid reasons as to why he should not commit regicide during his soliloquy in act 1, scene 7. Macbeth begins his soliloquy by stating that he would certainly assassinate King Duncan if there were no consequences attached to his actions. However, he rightfully acknowledges that he will pay a heavy price for the bloody deed by saying,

But in these cases
We still have judgment here, that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague th’ inventor (1.7.7–10).

Suffering the consequences of his actions and jeopardizing his own well-being is the first reason Macbeth gives for not assassinating the king. Macbeth goes on to comment that he is King Duncan's kinsman, subject, and host. As a relative, subject, and host, Macbeth recognizes that it is his duty to protect Duncan from harm instead of plotting his death. By assassinating the king, Macbeth knows that he will be violating the most sacred obligations and committing the worst crime possible.

In addition to commenting on his close relationship with King Duncan and sacred duties towards him, he notes that King Duncan is a virtuous, humble leader who does not deserve to die. According to Macbeth,

... Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off (1.7.17–20).

When Lady Macbeth enters the scene, Macbeth tells her that he will not follow through with the plan, because Duncan has honored him as of late and he has "bought / Golden opinions from all sorts of people." Lady Macbeth proceeds to criticize his manhood, and Macbeth provides yet another reason for not committing regicide by asking, "If we should fail?" (1.7.65). Macbeth worries that their murderous plot will be discovered and they will fail to get away with murder.

Despite the many reasons Macbeth provides for not killing Duncan, he succumbs to his ambition and follows his wife's bloody plans.

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Macbeth worries about getting caught, feels Duncan has not done anything to deserve being killed, and believes a host should not kill a guest.

The first problem Macbeth has is that killing a king is very serious. He tries to talk himself out of it in his soliloquy. He begins by saying that, if he does kill Duncan, then he needs to do it quickly. Killing the king is dangerous. Macbeth is worried about the effects it will have on the kingdom. Will one murder create a domino effect of murders?

There are additional problems because the king is Macbeth's kinsman and his guest.

He's here in double trust;
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself (Act I, Scene 7). 

Basically, Macbeth would be violating every rule of gracious hosting by killing Duncan while he is staying at his home. You are supposed to protect your guests, not kill them. This is even worse when your guest is also your kinsman. 

Macbeth then goes on to praise Duncan, saying he is great and doesn’t deserve to die.

Besides, this Duncan

Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been

So clear in his great office, that his virtues

Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against

The deep damnation of his taking-off (Act I, Scene 7).

Duncan has been a noble and virtuous leader. People will sing his praises when he dies. He doesn’t deserve death. It sounds like Macbeth is no ethical match for him. Therefore, Macbeth worries about killing and serving as the replacement for such an excellent leader. Macbeth's only qualification for being king is that he wants to be king badly enough to kill the current king.

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