Show MoreA person’s guilt will eventually manifest itself on its own terms. For most people, guilt is a hard psychological experience. Thus, the effects can be very diverse. In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the effects of guilt and having a guilty conscience is a recurring theme displayed throughout the text. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the two characters Shakespeare reveal to be most evil, experience an abundance of guilt and its unwanted side effects. Through the characters’ dialogue and soliloquies, the reader can pinpoint exact moments where guilt is unmissable. Shakespeare’s Macbeth clearly demonstrates how guilt can affect one’s actions, and it uses the concept to develop one of the many themes of the play.
Macbeth’s character…show more content…
Furthermore she says: Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One: two: why, then ‘tis time to do ‘t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our pow’r to accompt? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? (V.i.34-38)
Lady Macbeth is counting the chimes of the clock picturing the night that Duncan was murdered. Lady Macbeth also is stating that she believes no one can force her and Macbeth to answer for their crime, because they are too powerful. When Lady Macbeth refers to “the old man”, she is referring to Duncan. Lady Macbeth is clearly affected by her guilt when she begins to sleepwalk and babble.
Macduff’s character experiences guilt in a different manner than Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Macduff does not encounter auditory hallucinations or sleepwalk because of his guilt, he grieves for his guilt. Macduff leaves his family unprotected at his castle and travels to England. While Macduff is away, Macbeth sends a murderer to slay his wife and children. Later on, Ross goes to Macduff and tells him the news about what happened to his Macduff’s family. Macduff’s guilt becomes evident when he says, “ Merciful heaven! / What, man! Ne’er pull your hat upon your brows; / Give sorrow words.” (IV.iii.208-210). Here, Macduff cries out to heaven in an outburst of guilt, sorrow, and anger. Pulling one’s hat
Guilty Conscience in Macbeth
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In my opinion, the statement “If you commit a crime and don’t get caught, it doesn’t really matter because your guilt over what you have done will destroy you in the end” is true and happens in reality. What is a crime? It is an evil act that breaks the law or the basic values of the society, harming the individuals of the society. So if you commit a crime, and don’t get caught the fact that you have committed a crime and your heart knows will haunt you forever and make you feel guilty. If you know that the act you did was wrong, but you did it anyways ignoring what you knew will definitely lead to your destruction. Even though, you would appear to be confident to others, after committing the crime, but your inner conscience will always curse you and will eventually destroy you.
This is what happened to Lady Macbeth in the play written by William Shakespeare, “Macbeth”. When Macbeth informed Lady Macbeth of the witches’ prophecy of him being the king of Scotland, she incited him to kill Duncan (because of her desire or ambition to rule Scotland). She could not kill Duncan herself, so she told him to slay Duncan. Even though, Lady Macbeth did not kill Duncan, she knew it was because of her provocation that Macbeth was forced to take this step. In the beginning of the play, she is blood thirsty and cruel. In the middle, when she had to hide Macbeth’s hallucination of seeing Banqous ghost, she said “Good friends, think of this as nothing more than a strange habit. It's nothing else. Too bad it's spoiling our pleasure tonight” (III, iv, 101-103). She is still confident and is trying to stabilize Macbeth’s thoughts. Till this point she is not shown to be guilty of her act but confident. Gradually, as the play progresses we hear about Lady Macbeth’s condition from her maid, who says to a Doctor “Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise/from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her/closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon 't, read it,/ afterwards seal it, and again return to bed, yet all this/while in most fall asleep” (V,I, 3-8). Then Lady Macbeth says while sleep walking “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, 'tis time to do 't/. Hell is/murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard?
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What need/ we fear who knows/it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who /would have thought the/old man to have had so much blood in him. (V,I,25-31). She says this while sleeping, because her inner conscience is guilty of the way she lead Macbeth to follow the path of evil. She then says “Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia/ will not sweeten/this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!” (V, I ,31-35). Constantly she shows her wish that somehow the murders she committed could be undone. Her shame is what leads her to destroy herself. When the war is about to begin, Seyton informs to Macbeth “the queen my lord is dead” (V,v, 17). At last, her conscience stricken evil act lead her to her destruction.
By reading this play, my notion for this statement is strengthened. Whatever happens, if a person commits a crime and knows that the action was wrong, his/her guilty conscience will undoubtedly lead to his/her demolition. In this case, as mentioned before Lady Macbeth and Macbeth killed Duncan and Banquo. Though they never got caught, but when Lady Macbeth realized her mistake of committing the evil, her remorse lead her to end her life.