Why did Macbeth want to kill Fleance, and was he right to attempt to kill him?

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Macbeth is motivated to kill Fleance in order to solidify his reign and cement his legacy as Scotland's king. When Macbeth and Banquo initially received their prophecies from the Three Witches, they prophesied that Banquo's descendants would become kings. Macbeth understands that he is damning his soul by assassinating the...

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Macbeth is motivated to kill Fleance in order to solidify his reign and cement his legacy as Scotland's king. When Macbeth and Banquo initially received their prophecies from the Three Witches, they prophesied that Banquo's descendants would become kings. Macbeth understands that he is damning his soul by assassinating the king and does not want his efforts to be in vain. Essentially, Macbeth does not want to become king only to have Banquo's descendants inherit the Scottish throne. After murdering King Duncan, Macbeth assumes power and becomes completely consumed with protecting his title as king and securing his legacy. In order to ensure that Banquo's descendants do not inherit his throne, Macbeth knows that he must kill Banquo and his only son, Fleance. Strategically, Macbeth makes the right choice in ordering Fleance's assassination. He knows that if he kills Fleance, Banquo will have no descendants to inherit the throne and the witches' prophecy will not be fulfilled. However, the murderers are only able to kill Banquo and Fleance escapes, which is why Macbeth continues to worry about his legacy.

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Macbeth, having given himself over to the desire to become king, finds it within himself to do terrible things, including killing his once beloved king so that he might take the throne. Once he finds himself wearing the crown, his desire to keep it leads him to consider finding ways to avoid the prophecy of the witches that Banquo's heirs should take the throne. So he resolves to kill Banquo and his son Fleance in order to maintain his hold on the throne.

Whether it is right or not perhaps depends on the perspective. From Macbeth's point of view, if he wants to avoid the prophecy's fulfillment, killing Banquo and his heirs seems to be the expedient way to do it. On the other hand, from a moral perspective, it certainly seems repugnant to want to kill a child in order to maintain one's hold on a throne that was taken only by murder in the first place.

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