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Homework Help: Macbeth english paper

  1. Nov 22, 2004 #1
    Hi. Am I allowed to post english questions??? I had to write a paper on the cause of Duncan's death in macbeth. What do you think of my paper? What should I change or add? Please help. I need a really good grade on this. I'm not really good in english. :frown: Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Cause of King Duncan’s Death in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

    In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, King Duncan’s death was caused by Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, and Duncan himself. All three of these things led to the eventual death of Duncan. Duncan made it easy for someone to kill him because he trusted everyone that was deceiving him. Lady Macbeth’s desire to be queen made her think of a plan for Macbeth to kill Duncan. Macbeth is the one that actually did the killing but was almost seduced into doing it by Lady Macbeth.

    Lady Macbeth is one of the causes of Duncan’s death, by convincing Macbeth to kill Duncan. She says that she would love to be queen and reveals her evil intents to be so in her small soliloquy. In act I, scene V, she says, “That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan” (I.V.25). This foreshadows that Duncan shall arrive that night and something fatal will happen to him. This is ironic because Duncan is about to die but Duncan has no clue. Lady Macbeth has already planned what will happen to Duncan and she is full with evil intentions for him. In the same scene she also says, “That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here” (I.V. 39). She says she wishes she were a man so she could kill Duncan herself. Lady Macbeth also says to Macbeth, “O never shall sun that morrow see,” this alliteration foreshadows that Duncan will not be alive the following morning (I. V. 59-60). Lady Macbeth had planned for Duncan to be murdered by Macbeth early on in the tragedy.

    After the commands from Lady Macbeth to kill Duncan, Macbeth doesn’t have a chance to speak. Lady Macbeth cluttered Macbeth’s head with images of killing king Duncan, and he can’t think of doing anything else because she won’t allow him to. In act I, scene VII, lines 58-59 Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that she will be furious if he does not kill Duncan for her when she says, “And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this.” Now Macbeth has his mind set on killing Duncan because his dear Lady Macbeth will be infuriated if he doesn’t do it. Lady Macbeth starts directing Macbeth on how they will kill Duncan, and since Macbeth is brainwashed by her he complies.

    After the witches told Macbeth that he was to be king, he decided that if fate had determined that he was to be king he should not try to reach the throne by his own actions, and let it eventually come. Macbeth said, “If Chance will have me king, why chance may crown me, without my stir” (I. III. 44-45). However, it was Lady Macbeth who convinced him to murder the king so that he could take the throne, “Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear” (I. V. 23-24). Lady Macbeth was more of a cause to Duncan’s murder than Macbeth himself as she used her position as a wife and a woman to seduce her husband into the sin. Macbeth caused Duncan’s death because he physically committed the crime. Macbeth was persuaded by Lady Macbeth to kill Duncan even though he did not want to. He should have stopped Lady Macbeth but it is his own fault for permitting Lady Macbeth to tell him what to do. Macbeth reveals his thoughts on why he should not kill King Duncan in a soliloquy at the start of act I, scene VII. He comes up with all kinds of reasons why he shouldn’t kill Duncan but he is too cowardly to admit that he does not want to do it to Lady Macbeth. Later on in that scene when Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are talking about the murder, Macbeth tries to break his promise and not kill the king but Lady Macbeth convinces him to do it. He should have been more of a man to Lady Macbeth and not so soft. Because he was so soft with her he was persuaded to kill Duncan.

    Finally, one last culprit for Duncan’s death is Duncan himself. His own sightless trust in the members of his court, even though one of them had betrayed him, is what condemned him. He is over confident with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The young, valiant, cruel traitor, Macbeth serves as a foil to the old, venerable, peaceable, and trusting king. Duncan just observes the hostess (Lady Macbeth) and says, “See, see our honored hostess, the love that follow us sometime is our trouble” (I. VI. 10). He doesn’t even think to see any deception within Lady Macbeth. Ironically when Duncan refers to the original Thane of Cawdor after he was told of his execution, “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face, he was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust.” He is mindlessly talking about the other Thane of Cawdor as well (Macbeth), as if this was what he would have said after his own murder (I. IV. 12-14). The crucial mistake Duncan made was to trust the same person twice, the Thane of Cawdor. This fault was fatal as it proved to be later on.

    Duncan’s murder was caused by Lady Macbeth’s want to be queen, which led to Macbeth listening to her to kill Duncan. But Macbeth’s ability to kill Duncan was caused by Duncan’s trusting of everyone. Duncan led to his own death because if he did not trust Lady Macbeth and Macbeth would have probably not been able to kill him. Since Duncan was weak Lady Macbeth knew that Duncan could be easily be killed which caused her to persuade Macbeth into doing it.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2004 #2
    Its a very well writen paper but i think its missing a large pice. I belive that the biggest reason that duncan is killed is the witches which you mentioned but didnt realy show their importance. If they had never made their prediction then macbeth would have never thought about murdering the king.

    I don't think the play makes any points to say that Duncan is at fault for his own death because of his trusting, but thats just my opinion.

    great paper though
  4. Nov 22, 2004 #3
    Thanks :smile: . It seems like I have a bit too much plot summary and not enough analysis of the cause of his death. I don't know what to do about this though. What can I do?
  5. Nov 22, 2004 #4
    True I thought about making another paragraph about the witches. I might combine it with another paragraph.
  6. Nov 22, 2004 #5
    How can I make it so it analyzes the cause and not so much about what happened in the story.
  7. Nov 22, 2004 #6
    I'll make some random suggestions on what I think should be changed. I'll refer to which paragraph it's in by giving it a number

    1. three people shouldn't be referred to as "things". Maybe deleting "of these things" would help.
    2. No comma in the first sentence. I suggest getting rid of the state of being verb and change it to "Macbeth causes". There's a similar problem in other parts of the paper with that.
    4. Although the middle of the paragraph does justify your assertion that Macbeth contributed to the death of Duncan, I felt like I was reading more plot summary than anything because a statements like "Macbeth was persuaded by Lady Macbeth to kill Duncan even though he did not want to" go unqualified. I see how he was persuaded but not why he would have a reason not to kill him from your paper.
    6. Ending is weak. It restates the introduction but doesn't provide any real "oomph". Try creating a more clear cause->effect relationship between Duncan's flaw, Lady Macbeth's power-hungry nature and duncan's downfall. Really all you need to do is shorten it.

    One thing that you MUST get in the habit of doing is flowing in an out of quotations. If you read it aloud to another person, he/she should not be able to tell when a quote begins or ends. "In the same scene she also says, 'That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here' ", for example, should look more like "In the same scene, she wishes for those supernatural spirts "that tend on mortal thoughts to unsex [her] [t]here" so that she could be free of her feminine disposition. (The part after the quote is really more my opinion than yours.. I didn't agree that she wanted to become a man so much that she didn't want to be a woman). I think you should look at each of your quotes and try your best to put them in a way that fits the flow of the sentences better.

    More edits to come. Not a bad paper on the whole. I'm no english major but I did 5 both AP tests so I know how to BS (or write critically whichever you would like to call it :))
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2004
  8. Nov 22, 2004 #7


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    Shay, it would help people to know what grade you're in so they can comment appropriately.

    I've only read the first two sentences, so far, and if I were you, I'd skip the second one. Not only does is seem redundant, it refers to people as "things." Will read the rest when I find a little time...
  9. Nov 22, 2004 #8
    I'm in 10th grade but it is a Pre-IB english II class (honors).
  10. Nov 22, 2004 #9
    Where? What do you mean?
  11. Nov 22, 2004 #10
    There shouldn't be a comma in the first sentence of paragraph 2 (The last paragraph I denote by 6. and the first by 1.) I mean instead of saying "Lady Macbeth IS one of the causes", try "Lady Macbeth causes". Oftentimes state of being verbs will scream out to the discriminating eye of the teacher that you were not being careful enough when you went back and revised.

    I didn't see you go off the wall with state of being verbs and nominalizations ("noun"ing something that could be more simply expressed as a verb), however, which does you a service. Keep with your style for the most part but try and change around those few unnecessary "Blah is blah" sort of lines.

    Edit: Which IB do you go to? I had a lot of friends over at the ones in St. Petersburg and Palm Harbor just wondering if you were from the area.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2004
  12. Nov 22, 2004 #11
    How could I analyze the cause more? It seems like I'm only picking the surface and I need to go more in depth. What do you think?

    I go to Suncoast High School. It's in Palm Beach County near West Palm Beach.
  13. Nov 22, 2004 #12
    Suncoast? Is that the highschool that has a college right nearby? (I know all the "good" schools in FL by how well do they do in mu alpha theta competitions :P) Consider what ideas you've developed about each of the three you've mentioned during the course of the paper and apply them to the main idea again. State in fewer (and probably a little longer or complex) sentences the cause->effect relationship between the two. It's not a big overhaul that needs to be made just be more concise.
  14. Nov 22, 2004 #13
    This is where i have problems. Should I just say something like: lady macbeth's want to become queen lead to macbeth killing duncan?

    The closest colleges to us is Palm Beach Community College, FAU (in palm beach gardens), and FAU (in boca). I heard that we do really good in the mu alpha theta competitions :smile: .
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2004
  15. Nov 22, 2004 #14
    A little too short. Think about exactly what you've established Lady Macbeth as. To put it generally, you've proved her to be maniputalive and power-hungry. Think about how you've characterized Duncan and how Macbeth was guiled by Lady Macbeth. Try to write only a sentence for each. Try not to restate anything.
  16. Nov 22, 2004 #15
    So could it be like this:
    Lady macbeth's power-hungry maniputalive behavior seduced macbeth into killing the helpless king duncan?

    I'm sorry. I really don't know what to do. English has never been my best subject. :redface: I'm better in math and science.
  17. Nov 22, 2004 #16
    Lady macbeth's power-hungry maniputalive behavior seduced macbeth into killing the helpless king duncan. Duncan's sightless trust allows lady macbeth and macbeth to easily murder him.?? :confused:
  18. Nov 22, 2004 #17
    The two sentences say the same thing, essentially, but I like the message. Try using conjunctions; "Lady Macbeth's power-hungry, manipulative behavior seduced Macbeth into murderous thoughts and, because of King Duncan's sightless trust, he was easily killed." Of course your sentence will be a little different (and I used pronouns a little vaguely, you'll need to work on it a little) but a more complex sentence might make you appear more erudite (without making you appear as if you're just rattling off bombast). That would be an ideal last line so provide at least one more sentence before that in your concluding paragraph that you feel would best sum up your paper.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2004
  19. Nov 22, 2004 #18
    Should I use sentences like this in all of my paragraphs?
  20. Nov 22, 2004 #19
    The active voice, liberal use of conjunctions and conciseness probably aren't bad ideas. They're a easy on the eyes as well as please the little voice in your head that reads with you. Should you use them in all of your paragraphs? It's not necessary but definitely try and use them where you know the teacher is going to be paying the most attention (beginning and end)
  21. Nov 22, 2004 #20
    Can you please give a quick example.
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