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Consider the events leading up to the murder of King Duncan. What elements contributed to his death?
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Regicide is the killing of a king. It is an event prevalent in Macbeth as the main focus of the story is of killing to gain power. In the play Macbeth the character Macbeth takes the easy route to power by killing the king and usurping the throne for himself. While this route to power seemed easy in plan the consequences for the country of Scotland and Macbeth are dire. The chain of being is an idea or philosophy that was prevalent during Shakespeare's time. It is an ordered hierarchical system of government. In Shakespeare's time people believed there was...
however his actions are augmented by the influence of others. Duncan provided an opportunity to assume the throne, his wife encouraged him to step forward and fulfil his destiny, and the witches make Macbeth and Lady Macbeth believe that it is possible and inevitable. With these factors all in correlation the single path in Macbeth's mind is opened. Through commitment to this task Macbeth chose the death of Duncan above his own honour. While he performed the act himself no man is an island. He relied on the influences of those around him in order to form his decision.
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Sophocles' play Oedipus the King was...Sophocles' play Oedipus the King was written for a Greek audience as a religious right and lesson around two thousand years ago, while Ibsen's play Ghosts was written as a criticism of the Norwegian society during the 1890's. Although these plays were written for under different circumstances, and not for the same purpose, there is a universal theme connecting them: man's liability to sin. One of the more specific themes of both plays is the negative effect that parents' sins have upon subsequent generations. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is born the son of Laius and Jocasta, King and Queen of Thebes. After he is born, Apollo prophesizes that Oedipus will kill his father and sleep with his mother. Due to this prophecy, Laius and Jocasta devised a plan to leave Oedipus in the woods to pass away, as he had now become a danger and an unwanted child. In this case, the parents' sin was attempting to defy the gods by trying to evade Apollo's prophecy. Later, Jocasta states that "no skill in the world, nothing human, can penetrate the future" Sophocles 201, and Oedipus echoes her doubt in prophets by saying, ""¦all those prophecies I feared "“ Polybus packs them off to sleep with him in hell! They're nothing, worthless" Sophocles 214. These lines lay their sin of doubting the foundations of their religion in clear view. Ghosts also reveals that parents' sins can have a negative effect on their children as the child's life progresses. This is displayed by the fact that Regine is the result of an affair between Captain Alving and the housemaid, Johanna. Being a child born out of wedlock, Regine is unwanted by Captain Alving because she is proof of his sin, and if anyone were to discover her true origins it could destroy the respect that society has for him. Regine is also unwanted by Mrs. Alving since she is a constant reminder, and the only inextinguishable proof of Captain Alving's debauchery. If she did not exist it would be easier for Mrs. Alving to hide her husband's secret, just as if Oedipus had died when Laius and Jocasta had left him in the woods, a plague proving his family debauched would not have been placed upon his people. Other sins that the parents in both plays commit include hiding the true origins of their children. For example, Oedipus' origins are hidden from him not only by Jocasta, but also by Polybus and Merope, the king and queen of Corinth, who take in Oedipus after Laius and Jocasta left him to die. Unfortunately, the rulers of Corinth never reveal to Oedipus that he is not their biological child, creating disastrous results. When Oedipus was told of Apollo's prophecy he fled from Corinth, not wanting to risk fulfilling the prophecy by killing Polybus and sleeping with Merope, whom he still believes to be his true parents. Oedipus then murders Laius during his travels, and sleeps with Jocasta after defeating the Sphinx and being crowned the new king of Thebes, completing the prophecy which he was trying to evade. Similarly, Johanna and Mrs. Alving hide Regine's origins from her. The fact that Regine's true father was never revealed to her resulted in an incident occurring between her and Oswald that was strikingly similar to that which happened years before between Captain Alving and Regine's mother. When Mrs. Alving overhears the conversation between Regine and Oswald she exlaims, "Ghosts! Those two in the conservatory"¦come back to haunt us" Ibsen 120. In this situation, the ghosts are symbols of family sins which she recalls from the past. Another similarity between Oedipus and Oswald that results from their parents' sins is that they both suffer, physically and metaphorically, from blindness. Oedipus blinds himself when he discovers the truth of the moral crimes which he has committed, and when he can no longer bear to see Jocasta hanging from the ceiling. While Oedipus' blindness is indirectly caused by his parents' sins, but directly due to his own rash actions, Oswald's blindness is a direct result of his father's debauchery. His father gave him a disease that causes "softening of the brain" Ibsen 161; blindness is one of the symptoms of the final stages of this disease, just before death. Metaphorically speaking, Oedipus is blind to the truth of his origins and to the crimes that he has committed until all is revealed towards the end of the play, while Oswald is blind to the truth of his father's character, even when it is told to him directly. Death of parents due to their own sins also occurs in both plays. When Jocasta discovers that Oedipus killed her husband and that she is now married to her son, she commits suicide. It is possible that she would not have died in this manner if she had not attempted to defy the gods. The effect of seeing Jocasta dead was so horrible that he blinds himself. Similarly, Captain Alving dies as a result of his own debauchery. It is extremely likely that he died from the same sickness that he gave to Oswald, a sexually transmitted disease. Due to this illness, Oswald is doomed to die because he is in the final stages of it. Whether he will die at the hand of his mother and the pills that he has requested she give him, or from the disease itself is unknown, but he will certainly die as a direct result of the sins that killed his debauched father. Although many of the parents' sins are similar in effect, there are also several differences that occur throughout the two plays. For example, Oedipus is banished from society because he himself promised this punishment to the man who murdered Laius. Not only is he exiled from Thebes, but no other place will receive him because he is looked at as a curse to society. His daughter Antigone willingly goes with him into exile, therefore becoming a social outcast as well. His other daughter and sons also become socially unaccepted because they are children of incest. Although Regine is an illegitimate child, she is not a social outcast since Mrs. Alving is the only person who knows of her illegitimacy. However, she leaves the Alving household with the belief that she will gain a position helping Pastor Manders, but, in reality, she will most likely end up working in Engstrand's brothel. If this happens, she too, will become a social outcast. Another instance of contrast is that Oedipus' sin was committed consciously, while Oswald's sin was committed unknowingly. Although Oedipus did not know he was murdering his father, a murder is never committed unconsciously. The murder was an effect of Oedipus' hubris, his pride and arrogance. His pride can even be considered a sin in itself, as it is the first of the seven deadly sins. If this murder had not occurred, none of the other moral crimes that he commits would have taken place and his children would not have had the weight of his sins on their shoulders. Conversely, Oswald's sin was not committed consciously. The incident that occurred with Regine happened only because he was unaware of his relation to her. Also, there was nothing he could have done to redeem himself from the results blindness and disease of his father's sins. It is in this way that Oedipus suffers because of his parents' sins and his own, whereas Oswald suffers only due to the sins that his parents have committed. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles' message to his audience is that people should not doubt the words of the gods, or those on earth who are meant to deliver their messages. This is demonstrated by the fact that all of what Tiresias prophesizes is true, and those who doubt him encounter horrible troubles throughout the play. Also, Oedipus' hubris is a sin itself, therefore one should attempt to control one's pride or the results can be disastrous. When the play is looked at as a whole, the meaning is clear: do not let your pride blind you to the knowledge of those who are wiser than you. In Ghosts, Ibsen's message is that the Norwegian society was hypocritical and immoral. This is shown through Oswald's suffering, for he is a victim paying for what a hypocritical society permits "“ social immorality. However, both plays are combined by the intricate link of sin, its effects on those who commit it, and the negative effect it has on succeeding generations.   

Sophocles' play Oedipus the King was written for a Greek audience as a religious right and lesson around two thousand years ago, while Ibsen's play Ghosts was written as a criticism of the Norwegian society during the 1890's. Although these plays were written for under different circumstances, and not for...

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