Macbeth Essay Conscience

Macbeth's Conscience in Shakespeare's Macbeth

530 Words3 Pages

William Shakespeare’s seventeenth century tragedy, Macbeth, tells the story of Macbeth, whose ambition leads him to murder his close friends. In the play, he is told that he will become king, but to speed up the process he is convinced to kill the current king, Duncan. Although he is portrayed as a vile, evil character, the scene before he murders Duncan, his thoughts after the murder, and his encounters with his friend’s ghost show that Macbeth truly is a man of conscience. After his wife encourages Macbeth to kill King Duncan when he visits their home, Macbeth truly considers the idea. Shakespeare allows his character to mull over the act and consequences in a soliloquy which, “not only weighs the possible bad practical consequences of…show more content…

Immediately after killing King Duncan, Macbeth’s conscience is disturbed. He tells Lady Macbeth, “To know what I have done – it would be better to lose consciousness altogether”(2.2.87-88). He realizes the morality of his act and feels guilty because of it. Macbeth wishes to forget completely he even committed the act and his thoughts and comments even suggest that he regrets killing the king. He understands that morally, the murder was wrong. Since Macbeth knows the immorality of the act, he feels his guilt-ridden conscience continues to be bothered. Even after his fourth murder of his friend Banquo, Macbeth’s conscience is still active. Macbeth, although he feels guilt due to his other murders, he hires assassins to kill his friend so that no one can accuse him of any of the heinous crimes committed. The problem that arises after the murder occurs is that he sees the ghost of his friend at his dinner table. These ghosts arise because of the guilt he feels, and “that he acts with full knowledge of the evil only increases the pity and fear aroused by the dead” (Coriat 5). If the man had no sense of right and wrong, he would not imagine the haunting. Instead, Macbeth’s conscience compels him to identify the negative and immoral effects of his acts (Coriat 5). Throughout the play, Macbeth acts against his

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Lady Macbeth's Conscience in Shakespeares's Macbeth Essay

577 Words3 Pages

Lady Macbeth, a leading character in William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Macbeth, progresses throughout the play from a savage and heartless creature to a delicate and fragile woman, having no regard for mortality. In the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is both equally ambitious and evil as she urges her husband to kill King Duncan in order to fulfill the witches’ prophecies by gaining social power on the throne as king and queen. Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits to give her emotional strength in order to help her husband go through with the murder plot, “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty,” (1.5.39-42). She asks the spirits to take…show more content…

Assuming the role of stronger partner, she manipulates Macbeth with effectiveness by ignoring his objections about the murder. Refusing to understand his doubts and hesitations about the situation, she scorns his manhood by calling him a, “coward,” (1.7.43) and questions his virility, “What beast was’t, then, that made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man,” (1.7.48-49) until Macbeth feels that he must commit the murder to prove himself. Lady Macbeth’s strength of will persists through the murder of King Duncan as it is she who tries to calm Macbeth after committing the crime by declaring confidently that, “a little water clears us of this deed,” (2.2.67). Afterward, however, Lady Macbeth’s strong and ambitious character begins to deteriorate into madness. Her first sign of weakness occurred when she confessed that she could not have killed the king, revealing a natural woman’s feelings, “had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done’t” (2.2.13-14). Just as ambition has affected her before more so then Macbeth before the crime, the guilt plagues her now more effectively afterward as she desperately tried to wash away the invisible blood from her sin, “Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfume of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand,” (5.1.48-49). Lady Macbeth’s

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