Lady Macbeth is a strong-willed character who will do anything to have her way. Her desire for Macbeth to become King is even greater than that of Macbeth. Throughout the play, Macbeth is forced to commit unforgivable sins to achieve the position of King. Lady Macbeth shows her guilt towards the deaths of Duncan, Banquo, Lady Macduff and her family. Lady Macbeth’s guilty conscience is displayed near the end of the story when she is sleepwalking. She discusses her feelings, but mainly she reiterates her guilt. “The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean? No more o’that, my lord, no more o’that. You mar all with this starting.”(V. i. 38-40). This demonstrates how Lady Macbeth is feeling guilty about Lady Macduff’s murder and how Macbeth has ruined everything with his nervousness. Lady Macbeth also shows another form of guilt when she says “Wash your hands put on your nightgown. Look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on’s grave.”(V. i. 54-56). This confirms how Lady Macbeth is constantly thinking about the deaths that she was part of, and how the feeling of guilt is taking over her life. Lady Macbeth shows her guilt throughout this whole scene. She writes a letter, but the reader does not know what the letter says. It is possible she is writing about her guilty feelings, or writing an apology letter. Although the letters content is unknown, Lady Macbeth does end her life as a result of her guilty conscience.
Blood represents guilt as it is a significant image pattern in the play. Blood also represents murder, which results in guilt of the characters in Macbeth. Duncan and Macbeth are loyal friends to each other, but once Macbeth finds out that he needs to kill his loyal kinsmen his feelings change. He is hesitant to commit this crime, but as a result of Lady Macbeth’s persistence he ends up murdering Duncan. Macbeth makes the choice to kill Duncan. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine making the green one red.” (II. ii. 63-66). This illustrates that Macbeth is feeling guilt towards the death of Duncan. He is asking if the ocean will wash his hands clean, but instead he will stain the water red, from the blood on his hands. The blood shows an image of guilt, the guilt is on his hands, and how Macbeth wants it to go away. Another form of blood is represented when Lady Macbeth says, “Here’s the smell of the blood, still, all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”(V. i. 44-45). This shows that Lady Macbeth’s hands still have traces of blood on them and even the best perfumes will not rid her of the smell. This blood is from the killings she has taken part in, and it shows that the guilt can not be easily rid of, but will stick with her for a long time. Finally, blood is also shown through the murders that were committed. The murders formed a feeling of guilt, which is connected to why blood is an image of guilt through the deaths, but this may only be shown in Macbeth’s point of view.
Guilt is displayed a number of times through the internal conflict of Macbeth. Macbeth has to make many decisions throughout the play that revolve around his guilty conscience. Macbeth’s conflict in the beginning of the play is whether or not he should kill his kinsmen. He shows a guilty feeling before and after the crime is committed. He is guilty before when he is deciding to kill his best friend, and he is guilty after because he went and killed his best friend, and as a result, he is guilty of committing this crime. Another form of internal conflict is when Macbeth says, “I’ll go no more: I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on’t again I dare not.”(II. ii. 53-55). This shows that after killing Duncan, Macbeth regrets his decision. He is saying that he can not go back and that he is afraid to think about what he has done. This proves that he feels guilty over what he has done and that he can not go back in time. However, if he could, he would not have killed Duncan. He was faced with a conflict that he had to resolve, but he realized that he did not make the right decision. It also shows that in the play, Macbeth is not able to say “Amen”. Only because he can not agree with what people have to say, because he regrets his actions, and feels guilty for what he has done.
In conclusion guilt is displayed through various representations in the play. The theme of guilt is expressed by Lady Macbeth, through blood imagery and Macbeth’s internal conflict. Guilt is a major factor in people’s lives, and will continue to haunt the characters of Macbeth for a long time. Guilt can be a result of many things, as it is a feeling that remains forever. Usually this feeling occurs when an offence, crime, violation or wrong act is committed. It is the feeling of responsibility for this poor action that has been committed. Macbeth commits this poor action just to be happy, but in the end, he was only left with much remorse.
Free Macbeth Essays: The Role of Guilt
- Length: 922 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
The Role of Guilt in Macbeth
Guilt plays a strong role in motivating Macbeth, and causes Lady Macbeth to be driven over the edge of sanity - to her death. Throughout the story, there are many different types of guilty feelings that play a role in Macbeth’s fatal decisions and bring Lady Macbeth to commit suicide. Although there are many instances that show the power guilt has played on the main characters, there are three examples that show this the best. One is, just after the murder of the great King, Duncan. Guilt overcomes Macbeth where he can no longer think straight. A second example is soon after that, where all the guilt Macbeth feels at first, changes into hate after he decides that Banquo must be killed as well. The last example is just about at the end of the play, when we see Lady Macbeth sleepwalking, and then later committing suicide; this all because of the burden of her guilt. All of these examples build the proof that in this play, guilt plays a very large role in the characters’ lives.
It all began really in Act II, Scene II after the murder of Duncan, when Macbeth returns to his room to join his wife. As any person would be, Macbeth is very shaken by his wrong act. Killing a man, not to mention a beloved king is a sin and Macbeth knows it very well! He truly believes he has murdered all innocence, and only worse things will follow. Throughout the scene there are several quotes that show this; " Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more," and " Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red." This shows the amount of guilt he felt. He describes this by saying that if he tried to wash his hands in the river, it would turn into the colour of the blood itself. Lady Macbeth attempts to make him stronger, " A little water clears us of this deed: How easy it is then!" But the guilt he feels just does not go away…At least for the time being.
As soon as Act III is set up, we see Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Banquo having a nice friendly conversation.
How to Cite this Page
|Does Macbeth Have Free-Will? Essay - Throughout the story of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, Macbeth acts in a much despised manner: he becomes a murderer and later, when king of Scotland, a tyrant. Many who have read or seen the play are left wondering how a man’s whole approach to life can change; how Macbeth turned from the hero whom all adored, to the tyrant who was hated and ended up a lone man, fighting for his life. Within the play, Macbeth is influenced by many: the witches; his wife, Lady Macbeth; possibly Hecate, Goddess of the Underworld; and his own desire to be crowned king.... [tags: Macbeth, free will, shakespeare, ]||2048 words|
|Free Macbeth Essays: The Importance of Guilt - The Importance of Guilt in Macbeth Through the story guilt motivates Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to a great extent. Macbeth was a kind, fine nobleman of the king Duncan. But one day his benevolence and his patronage to the king changed. He had met the three witches who had revealed the three prophecies. The first prophecy was that Macbeth would become the thane of Cawdor. The second prophecy is that he will become the king in the future. The third was that Banquo’s sons will also become kings in the future (Banquo is a good friend of Macbeth).... [tags: Free Essay Writer]||626 words|
| The Guilt of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Essay - The Guilt of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Guilt is a very strong and uncomfortable feeling that often results from one’s own actions. This strong emotion is one of the theme ideas in William Shakespeare, “Macbeth”. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth feel guilt, but they react in different ways. Guilt hardens Macbeth, but cause Lady Macbeth to commit suicide. As Macbeth shrives to success guilt overcome’s Macbeth where he can no longer think straight. Initially Macbeth planned was to kill Duncan but it wasn’t enough he also had to kill Banquo and Macduff’s family.... [tags: William Shakespeare]|
:: 1 Works Cited
|Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness - The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has on the country of Scotland. Lady Macbeth begins with an unrecognizable conscience.... [tags: Macbeth essays]||522 words|
|Who is the Dominant Partner between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth? Essay - The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is very strange. In the relationship, throughout the play, both take turns to assume the role of being the dominant partner. What is unusual about this is the fact that at this period in time, the man typically was the one controlling the relationship, but in this case, for a lot of the time it is in fact Lady Macbeth that is the dominant force in their relationship. In Act 1, Scene 5 we can see that Lady Macbeth is very ambitious for Macbeth.... [tags: Relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth]||1188 words|
| Essay about Action and Accountability in Macbeth - Action and Accountability in Macbeth They say that life is what you make of it. Though there is much in the fabric of Shakespeare’s tragedies that complicates the relationship between action and accountability with regard to the tragic heroes, it cannot be assumed, simply because they find themselves in a difficult position, that they are engulfed and rendered powerless by the events that unfold in their midst. Even Iago, Shakespeare’s evil incarnate, remarks, “ ‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus…we have reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings, our unbitted lusts” (1.3:316-326).... [tags: Free Macbeth Essays]|
:: 6 Works Cited
|Essay on Kurosawa's Adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth - Kurosawa's Adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth Transposing a story from one culture to another is never easy, as has been proven throughout history by fairy tales taken from other areas of the world and brought to America by companies such as Disney. Over the years this nation has seen the mutilation of beautiful tragedies such as Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid," for example. There are exceptions to this, however, as is shown by Akira Kurosawa's Japanese adaptation of William Shakespeare's Macbeth.... [tags: Free Macbeth Essays]||732 words|
| The Impact of Free Will in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay - Free will is defined as the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate. It is the ability to act at one’s own discretion. What this means is that there is no set destiny; only a person’s own decisions can impact the outcome of their life. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, free will plays a very substantial and powerful role. In 11th century Scotland, three witches give a prophecy to Macbeth, a general in King Duncan’s army, that he will one day become King himself. They also give a prophecy to Macbeth’s best friend, Banquo, telling him that his descendants will be Kings.... [tags: Shakespeare Play, Literary Analysis]|
:: 1 Works Cited
|Free Essay on Shakespeare's Macbeth - The Character of Lady Macbeth - The Evil Character of Lady Macbeth In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is made to act as a catalyst in Lord Macbeth's evildoings. Even though Lord Macbeth is generally the one to have the final say in the many killings that take place in the play, Lady Macbeth plays the role of a villain alongside him. She mocks her Lord if he frets over something she has instructed him to do, saying he would be less of a man if he does not follow through on their plan (I. vii. 56-57). She gives Lord Macbeth a short lecture in deceptiveness when they are planning to kill King Duncan (I.... [tags: Free Essay Writer]||988 words|
|Essay about evilmac Shakespeare's Macbeth - Theme of Night vs Day and Evilness - Macbeth: Theme of Night vs Day and Evilness “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I.i.10). This becomes the key phrase in describing Macbeth's downfall. It defines the night vs. day motif, foreshadowing the evil that will soon come. The night vs. day motif is so important in bringing out the theme of evil in this play because almost all of the elements of Macbeth's downfall are revealed at night. Sleeplessness, murder, and the witches' prophecies all become relevant as the drama unfolds.... [tags: Free Macbeth Essays]||654 words|
Guilt Macbeth Three Examples Instances Sleepwalking Wash Neptune Seas Worse Colour
Macbeth was already crowned king, and a dinner was planned for that night. Banquo was to be the "guest of honour". Little did any of us know, Macbeth was already conspiring his friend’s death. Guilt seems to play a motivating role when he says, "Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill" What he is referring to, is his guilt; if you do something bad once, it will bother you. If you do it again, it will bother you less. If you keep doing it, it will eventually stop bothering you completely. He also admits, (that one time only) in the scene, that after killing Duncan, his morals and guilt were poisoned and used to motivate him to commit more murderous crimes. " If’t be so, for Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind; For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered; Put rancors in the vessel of my peace…"
Perhaps one of the strongest evidence that shows guilt, is how it affected Lady Macbeth. After the absence of a story line for most of the play, Act V begins by re-entering Lady Macbeth; this time though, she is not at all the woman we were first introduced to. It begins with a discussion between a doctor and a very worried gentlewoman about the failing health of the lady herself. Just as we learn that she has begun to sleepwalk every night, Lady Macbeth comes in, doing just that. She starts to rub her arms, in a washing motion and says, "Out damned spot! Out, I say!" and, "…Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?" The word blood, is really a metaphor for the enormous guilt she feels and her action, in trying to get rid of the guilt by "washing" and rubbing it away. In the second quote, the "old man" represents, King Duncan. Who would have known that killing the king carried so much guilt? Her sleepwalking continues as she talks about the death of Lady Macduff. " The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean?" After the continuous rubbing motion, Lady Macbeth cries out, "Here’s the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." She realises that nothing could ever get rid of the smell of the blood and the guilt caused by all the murders committed by Macbeth. It’s also shown here that she feels fully responsible for every person killed by her husband. Just several scenes later, Lady Macbeth commits suicide. What’s the reason? It was just a build up of all the guilt.
The quotes and explanations used throughout this essay, built up proof that guilt played a big role as the motivation for Macbeth, and guilty feelings were brought out through the characters’ actions and responses, until the very fatal end. Guilt itself, is a very strong and uncomfortable feeling. It can result though, in many good things, and just as easily into bad things. This is what happened throughout this story…And this is also why the play has been called, "The Tragedy of Macbeth."