Guilt and Conscience in Shakespeare’s Macbeth Essay
1304 Words6 Pages
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the theme of guilt and conscience is one of many explored throughout the play. Macbeth, is a well respected Scottish noble who in the beginning of the play is a man everyone looks up to; however as the play progresses he makes a number of bad decisions. Eventually, as a result of his actions he suffers guilt and this plays heavily upon his character until his personality is completely destroyed. Shakespeare uses a range of techniques in order to develop this theme such as, characters, imagery.
Shakespeare uses the title character of Macbeth to effectively develop the theme of guilt and conscience in his play. Several times in the play we see Macbeth’s character crumbling as a result of a guilty conscience. At…show more content…
Macbeth’s conscience is further tormented after he kills Duncan. He begins to get paranoid and hallucinates, hearing voices saying, “Sleep, Sleep no more! For Macbeth has murdered sleep”.
As well as seeing the ghost of his murdered friend Banquo at the diner table, he also develops insomnia, and goes so far on as to suggest that he is jealous of Duncan because he can sleep forever whereas he cannot sleep at all. He also loses his appetite and can no longer eat well; this shows that his insides are turning with the memory that he himself had killed a King who had been so good to him and to Scotland. After getting Banquo killed, Macbeth sees his ghost at the banquet with twelve bloody gashes in his head; this makes Macbeth completely insane in an instant. He is not only scared by seeing the ghost of Banquo, but also by the thought that he had done these horrible things, and that his soul would be haunted by his murdered friends ghost for ever. It is through the main characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth that this theme of guilt and conscience is so vividly portrayed.
Likewise at the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth is a very strong character, but this strength crumbles as the play progresses due to her guilty conscience. At the beginning Lady Macbeth tries to muster the strength to force her kind natured husband into killing Duncan. She says things like, “unsex me here” in an attempt to muster
I'm currently a high school student, and I'm needing some help at writing essays. At the moment we're studying Macbeth in Literature, but I thought, if someone wouldn't mind, they could read over my essay and give me a few tips or corrections? It would be much appreciated! I'm not very good at writing essays, and, although I normally do quite well in English, essays is one area in which I could improve in. I know my introduction is very weak, but I'm not sure how to write a strong introduction. I also think I need a longer or better conclusion, as mine sort of trails off. But I'm not really sure how to fix these things. As I said, any advice or criticism would be appreciated. Thank you! Here is my essay:
By focusing on the key scenes of the play, show how the sense of guilt transforms Macbeth and Lady Macbeth form their first appearance till the end of the play.
All throughout the play, a sense of guilt is shown, sometimes barely a sense of guilt, and of course there are times when guilt overpowers the character.
Macbeth is the person who starts feeling guilt in the play. Before he kills Duncan, and after he kills him, guilt starts to weaken his ambition and certainty of the choice he had made to kill Duncan. Moments before Macbeth is going to kill Duncan, he is discouraged. He decides that he will not carry out the murder. Lady Macbeth is scornful for her husband, and she accuses him of cowardice and a lack of love for her. Lady Macbeth comes to reassure him that it will go as planned. After some perseverance and persuasion, Macbeth decides to carry out the murder, and this is the point in the play were the real guilt starts to appear. When Macbeth is alone and does not have Lady Macbeth to help and strengthen him, he has hallucinations of a dagger. He ‘sees’ the dagger leading him to Duncan’s room. After Macbeth commits the murder, he is obsessed by thoughts of damnation and guilt. Macbeth starts saying he was hearing voices, and starts saying bad things about him. Obviously, Lady Macbeth is blown away and does not know whether to believe him or not.
The next scene where we see how guilty Macbeth is feeling is when Macbeth is told that Banquo has been killed. He imagines the ghost of Banquo sitting in his chair. He starts talking and shouting to this imaginative ghost, and Lady Macbeth is worried about him and takes him away.
In the play, it is not only Macbeth who suffers from guilt. Lady Macbeth is also a character which shows guilt, being most of the cause for the murders done. She is taken over by guilt, when she starts sleepwalking in the middle of the night carrying a candle, and talking about blood on her hands. Ofcourse, when she is sleepwalking, she reveals the whole truth to the people and others characters that she and her husband have committed the murders that have been going on. She makes references to the deaths of Duncan and Lady Macduff, and Banquo. Even at the end of the play, the guilt overwhelms her, and she commits suicide (or it is thought to be).
So, all throughout the play there is indeed a sense of guilt in Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Both show this a lot, especially when they speak privately. At the end the guilt overwhelms them and gets the better of them by having the play end of the deaths of both of them.