Discuss the importance of the factors that motivate Macbeth to murder King Duncan.

In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare there are many factors which contribute to Macbeth plotting and following through with the murder of King Duncan. The ones I consider to be of importance are Lady Macbeth’s influence over Macbeth, the prophecies that were originally made by the witches and Macbeth’s ambition, which acts as a driving force in the murder. Looking at the importance of these three factors, the witches prophecies seem to be of highest importance because they are what first gave Macbeth the ambition and ideas of killing the king.

It is in Act One Scene Three that Banquo and Macbeth come across the witches and they make the prophecies about Macbeth. “All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!” This is what first gives Macbeth the idea that he will be king, and he is even more convinced once he becomes Thane of Cawdor because he realizes the witches’ prophecies are coming true. This is the most important factor because Macbeth is given the hope of being king which in turn makes him try to assist the prophecies in coming true. It is then that he considers that it might be necessary to the king, but at first the idea still disgusts him and he doesn’t believe he would really go through with the murder. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantasical, shakes so my single state of man that function is smothered in surmise and nothing is, but what is not.”

The other factors become important because it is unlikely Macbeth would have gone through with the murder based on the prophecies made by the witches alone. This is where the influence that Lady Macbeth has over Macbeth early in the play comes in to the plot. When she learns of the prophecies she immediately decides that she will talk Macbeth in to whatever is necessary to make them come true. “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art...