In William Shakespeare's "Macbeth," the titled character, Macbeth, is a brave soldier who makes awful decisions leading to his rise to power, as well as his downfall. During the Elizabethan Age, specifically the early 1600s, people hold great truth in the existence and accuracy of supernatural phenomenon, like witches, which is an important factor in the validity of the play itself. The three witches, names unknown, tell Macbeth he will be king of Scotland and Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth feels he must help fate fulfill these prophecies, so with much persuasion from Lady Macbeth, he kills the current king of Scotland, Duncan. As a valiant and loyal soldier of King Duncan's, Macbeth never feels the urge to take the throne from his king before the witches place the thought of power into his mind. Macbeth has always desired power in his ambitious life, but to take the throne by murder is a thought he never encountered. According to the following evidence outlining the witches' intentions to use Macbeth as their own personal murderer, Macbeth pleads not guilty of murdering King Duncan on the basis that he is not a murderer but an innocent puppet in the witches' strides towards corruption. .
The witches start the whole mental process of Duncan's murder when they ambush Macbeth to relay information concerning his future. One witch shouts, "All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter" (Act I, Scene iii, li 50). Because of this prophecy, Macbeth believes he is destined to be the next king, so he sees only two solutions to fulfill this prophecy. He either has to wait for Duncan to die or kill Duncan himself. The first option is destroyed when Duncan announces his successor as his eldest son Malcolm with the slight declaration saying "we will establish our estate upon/Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter/The Prince of Cumberland" (Act I, scene iv, li 37-39). If Malcolm is set to be the new king, then Macbeth sees he clearly cannot receive the throne without his own intervention.