Macbeth’s Letter Essay
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I am writing to you as I know that you will keep the contents of this letter a secret. The last few days have been very strange and unreal to me. I cannot believe how much my life has changed in such a short space of time. I ask you to please destroy this letter once you have read it and not tell a soul about what it contains as I have committed a terrible crime.
A couple of days ago I was a noble warrior fighting against Norway and now I’m king of Scotland.
With “my brandish’d steel” I approached the leader of the Norwegians, Macdonald, and “unseam’d him from the nave to th’chaps and fix’d his head on our battlements” to show everyone he was dead. Norway were defeated.
After the battle, Banquo and I walked along the moors and we came across three weird sisters that looked nothing I had ever seen on this earth.
They greeted me by saying “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Glamis, All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor, All hail Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter.” At this greeting I was rather shocked and confused. True I was Thane of Glamis but Thane of Cawdor and king? The Thane of Cawdor lived and as was the king. I was puzzled. Were these prophecies real? Whilst I was lost in my thoughts, Banquo asked them to predict something for him as they had for me. They told him that his children shall be kings but he will not be king himself. I ordered them to stay and tell me more but they were unwilling to be ordered by me and vanished into thin air. I do not think Banquo believed his prophecies as much as I did mine.
We carried on walking and talked about the witches. Then we saw two men coming towards us. They said that the king had sent them because he had heard of my success in battle. One of the men said the king bade him to call me Thane of Cawdor! I asked him why he was dressing me in “borrow’d robes”. He explained to me that the old thane of Cawdor was a traitor and would be executed. I could not help thinking that the greatest was behind. I then thought a terrible thought. Murdering king Duncan to become king. I pushed the thought out of my head and told myself “if chance will have me king, why chance may crown me without my stir.” I did not have to get involved in order to become king.
We made our way to the kings headquarters and king Duncan told me how grateful he was for what I had done in battle. I told him it was an honour to fight for him and I felt it was my duty to him. He then made a startling announcement. His eldest son Malcolm was named the Prince of Cumberland! I could not help feeling angry on hearing this. Malcolm stood in my way of becoming king. I felt as though I was not in control of my feelings. One minute I was loyal and the next I had these evil thoughts. They disturbed me but I could not stop them. I pleaded, “stars hold your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires.” I did not want anyone to see these terrible thoughts I had. Duncan said that he was to stay at my castle that night so I left at once to inform my wife of his arrival.
I sent a letter on to Lady Macbeth to inform her of the meeting with the witches, their prophecies and my becoming Thane of Cawdor. I know she thinks that I cannot act on my ambitions and that I am too kind to act on the information that the witches gave to me. When I arrived I told her I told her about Duncan coming to stay. She encouraged the idea of murdering him. She told me to “look like th’innocent flower but be the serpent under’t.” I was to look innocent but be ready to strike. I felt she was taking control of this situation. She overpowered me. I was not allowed to speak. I told her I needed to think about it but she did not listen and told me to leave all the rest to her.
When Duncan arrived, Lady Macbeth greeted him as my mind was too full with other thoughts. I know she showed gratitude towards him and showed fake loyalty. I could not have been false to his face. I left the feast to be alone. I thought that if I were to murder Duncan it would be best to do it quickly. But how I hoped it would be the end of it without any consequences because I knew that with murder would come horrible consequences. I was confused as to what I should do. I was his subject. I looked up to him as king. I was his host. I should be protecting him not murdering him. I thought Duncan is no enemy of mine. He is my king. He has been a good king so far. If he was to be murdered then everyone would be horrified and there would be a wild protest. Everyone would be looking for the murderer. The only thing I had to make me murder him was my ambition and that alone is not alone. Lady Macbeth came to me and I told her “we would proceed no further in this business.”
She called me a coward and said that if I told her to kill her child then she would do so. She had managed to change my mind. “If we should fail?” I asked her. She told me we would not fail and that Duncan would sleep easily after his long journey. She then said that she would convince his two guards to have some wine. They would be unaware of what is happening. Then when Duncan was dead we would smear blood on their limbs and let them “bear the guilt of our great quell.” At that moment I could not help admiring Lady Macbeth. I told her she should only have male children for she has great strength and courage. She told me that no one would suspect us because we would be distraught with sadness at the news of his death. My mind was made up. I told her that every bit of me was going to work at this murder. Part of me wanted to show I could do this and that I was not a coward.
I was walking around the castle later that night when I came across Banquo and his son. Banquo told me he dreamt of the witches and how their prophecies had come true for me. I lied to him and told him that I did not think of them. I had to lie as I was about to kill the king. After Banquo left I saw in front of me a dagger. It looked as real as the one I had in my belt. It was pointing towards Duncan’s chamber. I saw blood on the dagger that was not on there before. My disturbed mind was showing me things that were not there. Suddenly a bell rang and I made my way towards Duncan’s chamber.
When I returned to my wife from Duncan’s chamber I heard her say that she would have murdered him herself if he did not remind her of her father. I was anxious. I looked at my hands. It was “a sorry sight.” Lady Macbeth tried to get me to snap out of it. I told her that as I came out of the chamber I had heard someone saying their prayers in their room and how I could not even bring myself to utter the word amen. I felt cursed. She told me I should not think about it. I could not help thinking that it was the end of me. My wife warned me that to dwell on these things would make me mad. I felt mad at that moment. I had lost all control. I had murdered sleep. I did not think I would ever be able to sleep again. My wife told me to go and wash my hands. It was then that she noticed I still had the daggers. She ordered me to go and put them back.
I told her I would not go back into that room. I was frightened. I couldn’t find any ounce of bravery within me. I could not face going in there again. She was disgusted with me and told me I was acting like a child. She told me to leave it all to her. She took control once again. She returned the daggers and smeared the guards with Duncan’s blood. I became jumpy.
I looked down at my hands again. I believed that I had so much blood on them that it could change the whole sea red if I were to put them in it. I felt a sense of disgust as I stared down at the blood. Lady Macbeth returned from the chamber and her hands too were covered in blood. She called me a coward. She seemed so certain that “a little water” would clear us of this deed. I was not so sure. I did not feel like myself anymore. I did not feel like the noble warrior I once was. I heard knocking and wished that it would wake Duncan up and rewind this whole tragedy.
Now I am king. I will not bore you with how it all happened. I fear that people will suspect me. I think Mcduff already does. I fear that I will have to kill again to ensure that Lady Macbeth and myself are not found out. I only hope you will be able to forgive the terrible sins I have committed.