In Macbeth, why does Macbeth hesitate to kill Duncan?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Macbeth hesitates to kill Duncan because he has a change of mind. He begins thinking about the fact that Duncan has recently honored him by promoting him to the position of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth explains to Lady Macbeth that he has decided not to kill King Duncan. In fact, Macbeth is quite adamant about his decision to not kill King Duncan:       

We will proceed no further in this business.
He has recently honored me, and I now have the
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which I want to enjoy for a bit longer, and
Not cast them aside so soon.

Macbeth seems content in being honored as Thane of Cawdor at this point. He is satisfied by having the golden opinions of all sorts of people. He admits that he does not desire to cast aside his his enjoyment so soon.

Of course, Macbeth's decision to not kill King Duncan is overruled by Lady Macbeth. She insults Macbeth's manhood. She calls him a coward. She manipulates Macbeth and insists that he follow through with the murder.

Macbeth is greatly influeneced by Lady Macbeth. He gives in to her manipulation. Macbeth becomes convinced to murder King Duncan. His actions are controlled by Lady Macbeth. She has more influence on him than he has upon himself.      


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