Why are these significant choices that Macbeth makes?I have decided to focus on killing duncan, banquo and macduffs family. As well as being allowed to be influenced by the witches and his wife. Is...

Why are these significant choices that Macbeth makes?

I have decided to focus on killing duncan, banquo and macduffs family. As well as being allowed to be influenced by the witches and his wife. Is there any key quotes i can use that shows him choosing to do these things and the reasons behind them? I have  'On which i must fall down, or else o'er-leap' when he finds out malcom is going to be king and not him. That what i have as my choice quote for killing duncan. But i cant find any for the other two, can i have some help? If you do have any backgrond information on them like why he made these choices it would really help. Thank you

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Macbeth's soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 1, lines 52-77 explains exactly why he intends to have Banquo killed. He utters this soliloquy right at the point that the murderers have arrived and are waiting to be summoned. Most significantly, he says: "There is none but he / Whose being I do fear; and under him / My genius is rebuked, as it is said / Mark Antony's was by Caesar." He is referring to Octavius Caesar, and their historical falling out is dramatized in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. The last few lines of the aside/soliloquy show that Macbeth can't stand the idea that he has committed an atrocious murder only for the sake of Banquo's children. He thinks he can outwit fate by murdering Banquo and the son who appears to be Banquo's only child at the time. But, of course, Fleance escapes.

In Act 4, Scene 1, lines 164-177, in an "aside" which amounts to another soliloquy, Macbeth decides to punish Macduff for deserting him and fleeing to England to join Malcolm's cause. Here he makes a decision to become a ruthless tyrant and inflict drastic revenge on anyone who is disloyal. These lines contain one of Shakespeare's many wise and striking observations: "The flighty purpose never is o'ertook / Unless the deed go with it." (This truth could well be applied to Hamlet, who keeps intending to kill Claudius but never gets around to doing it.) Evidently Macbeth wants not only revenge but wants to make the murder of Macduff's entire family an example to terrify others who might be thinking of fleeing to England or otherwise betraying him. It only makes everyone hate him more and ensures his own doom.

 

 

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