Who is more responsible for the tragic events in Macbeth, Macbeth or Lady Macbeth?  

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Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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First, I would suggest that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth share culpability in the murder of Duncan. They are co-conspirators in that crime and in the usurpation that follows it. Furthermore, when Macbeth, in a crisis of conscience, nearly backs out of the plot, she exerts emotional manipulation in order to drive Macbeth to carry through with the murder. Her role in influencing Macbeth in his murderous rise to power should not be underestimated or diminished. Their crime is a shared one (even if it was Macbeth that committed the murder).

However, it is important to note that Duncan's murder is only the beginning of Macbeth's bloodthirsty tyranny. As the play continues, he will organize the assassination of Banquo (along with the attempted assassination of Banquo's son), and later still, he will order the murder of Macduff 's family. When reading these scenes, you might get an impression that, in the wake of Duncan's murder, Macbeth falls further and further into his own sanguinary tendencies....

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