How guilty is Macbeth?
According to the United States law in the twentieth century any person who commits a crime of murder would be given a death penalty. Macbeth would be given a death penalty for first degree murder and second degree murder or in other circumstances an insanity plea. Macbeth should be charged for first degree murder and second degree murder because he murdered king Duncan, sent murderers to kill Banquo, Fleance, Lady Macduff, and her children, and he killed king Duncans servants.
Macbeth should be charged for first degree murder because he killed Duncan to take over the throne. As lady Macbeth says “Bring forth men-children only; for thy undaunted mettle should compose nothing but males”. She challenged Macbeth to commit to the plan to murder king Duncan after she was told about the prophecy in a letter. Lady Macbeth would also be the blame for these murders. Evidence of King Duncans murder would be shown in the following “Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep,” the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast—”. Although he murdered the kind he feels guilty and fears that he will never sleep again. One murder led to another which in this case Macbeth murdered king Duncans servants after the kings body has been discovered. He does this so they cannot deny that they didn’t kill King Duncan.
Macbeth should also be charged for second degree murder because he hired murderers to kill Banquo. The witches prophesied that Banquos descendant will wear the crown “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none”. Macbeth has killed Duncan to make himself king of Scotland, but he fears that it will be for nothing in the long run if Banquos descendent rather than his own are destined to wear the crown. So he sends murderers to kill him. He also tries to murder Fleance in effort to destroy the family that might someday take his place on the throne “To leave no rubs nor botches in the work–Fleance his son, that keeps him company, Whose absence is no less material to me Than is his father’s, must embrace the fate Of that dark hour” but failed to kill him. Macbeth has murdered many innocent people and children to become king of Scotland. The witches told Macbeth to beware of Macduff, but Macduff has already fled to England. So Macbeth decided to hurt Macduff by sending murderers to kill lady Macduff and her children
Although Macbeth should be guilty of first degree murder and second degree murder he could be charged for an insanity plea. The murder of King Duncan which led to the other murders began with the witches prophecies which enhanced his ego. He was told he will eventually become king of Scotland “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!”. “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” But the question is if Duncan is already king, how can Macbeth become king? That’s when Lady Macbeth talks him into murdering Duncan. The witches prophesied that Macbeth is going to become king, Banquos descendant will take the throne, and told him to beware of Macduff; he killed all these people so they won’t take over the throne. If the witches didn’t tell Macbeth about the prophecies he would of never committed these crimes so they are also to blame.
In conclusion although it was the witches fault for all these murderers, Macbeth is going to be charged for first degree murder of Duncan, and Duncans servants. Second degree murder of Banquo, attempting to murder Fleance, Lady Macduff, and her children. He will not be pleading with insanity because although the witches suggest vague visions, it is Macbeth who interprets them the way he wants. He could have controlled his actions; his weakness was to believe everything he heard, to accept superstitions as fact, to get easily persuaded by others, and to act without analyzing first. In that case he would be given a death penalty on all these charges.