Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” is about a man named Macbeth who is an ambitious person, will commit atrocious acts to achieve his desires. At the end of the play, Malcolm expresses Macbeth and lady Macbeth as “this dead butcher and his fiend like queen”. Lady Macbeth’s evil is restricted to the first murder, but on the other hand, Macbeth who starts off as a noble hero, goes from one ruthless killing to the next. Even though Macbeth has made immoral decisions, you still need to consider the fact that the audience has a clear understanding of both Macbeth and lady Macbeth’s conscience and guilt from the murders afterwards. Therefore, since they have conscience and experience guilt, it is difficult to say they deserved this epitaph.
Macbeth exclaims his internal battle when planning for the death of Macduff: “I am in blood, Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,” (3.4 141-143). When Macbeth says this he is expressing that he feels so far into this game of murder, and Shakespeare dramatically describes this as Macbeth figuratively, being in blood. Macbeth believes that he has “waded” so far into this blood that it would not make sense for him to stop, but to keep murdering anyone that could prevent him from becoming king. Macbeth and his men are not successful in killing Macduff, but do kill Macduff’s wife and son. Macbeth remains in a confident state, even as Macduff’s forces advance towards Macbeth’s estate.
Late in the speech, Shakespeare indicates that the knife eventually disappears from Macbeth’s vision. These vivid details suggest that Macbeth is hallucinating due to immense fear he has regarding his future steps of murder. This mood of confusion suddenly switches as Macbeth decides that he is going to follow through with his plans of murdering Duncan. This can be concluded when Macbeth states, “I go, and it is done. The bell invites me.
This part of the soliloquy shows us that he is committed into killing Duncan to become King. If he did not want to do it he would not have had such a detailed and realistic dream. In this quote he discovers that this dagger is a ‘dagger of the mind, a false creation’. He also said that it originated from the heat-oppressed brain’. This means that this thought came from a feverish and ill brain.
Macbeth’s flaw, is his power seeking, ambitious nature, and it leads to his and many other’s downfall. Macbeth’s ambition is what drives him to go through with the murder of Duncan, and later to murder Banquo, both of these murders ultimately lead to Macbeth’s death. Macbeth’s ambition, his desire to be king, was the reason that Duncan was murdered, “’Gainst nature still: Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up, thine own life’s means! Then ’tis most like that the sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.” (Shakespeare Act II, Scene IV).
If charnel houses and our graves must send/ Those that we bury back, our monuments/ Shall be the maws of kites.” (Shakespeare, Act 3 Scene 4 ). Macbeth’s breakdown can be explained well by J. Lyndon Shanley in this quote from Macbeth: The Tragedy of Evil: “No sooner does he gain what he wanted than he is beset by fears worse than those he overrode in murdering Duncan. His horror of murder is lost in the fear of discovery and revenge, and the fear of losing what he has sacrificed so much to gain.” (Shanley 1)
Unlike the prophecies though, these visions don’t seem to goad Macbeth into taking a specific action. Instead, they remind of the horror of what he is about to do or what he has done. When Macbeth was heading to Duncan’s room to murder him, he saw “a dagger of the mind, a false creation” (2.1.53), which handle points him. The dagger move forward to the duncan’s room, and suddenly, “on thy blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood, which was not so before.” (2.1.53)
He is seen by Banquo as becoming evil. Banquo fears that Macbeth’s prophecy has come true due to foul play; that he murdered Duncan to become king. He suspects that Macbeth’s actions have been taken over by self-interest. Macbeth is becoming eviler because he is being guided purely by his self-interest. These quotes show that man is not purely good or evil, but rather both, but we are guided by self-interest.
Unlike Lady Macbeth, Macbeth felt guilty before he murdered King Duncan. Macbeth begins to have second thoughts about whether he wants to go on and murder King Duncan. On his way to murder King Duncan, Macbeth has the vision of the bloody dagger leading the way. While he realizes what he is about to do, he says “Is this a dagger which i see before me, the handle toward my hand”(II, I, 40-41). Macbeth realized that he had to kill King Duncan, but when he sees the dagger, he is imagining what it would feel to actually carry out the plan.
In Act 3 of Macbeth, the previously emphasized themes of prophetic fate and ambition join together to form the new qualities of Macbeth, anxiousness and fear of the repercussions after killing Banquo to fulfill fate. The themes of fate and ambition combine to once again affect Macbeth’s decision making, leading to a fatal choice to kill his dear friend, Banquo, after speculation of Macbeth’s description and reasoning behind the anonymous murder of Duncan. Shakespeare’s inclusion of the visions Macbeth begins to perceive dictates the significance of the emotional trauma and turmoil occurring within Macbeth following the second murder his ambition to finalize fate has allowed. The prophecy of the witches, along with Macbeth’s ambition, strengthens Shakespeare’s syntax in Macbeth’s interactions with the supposed ghost of
Macbeth continuously thought of what he is destined to do, making his prophecy happen faster. “ Macbeth - The handle, toward my hand? Come, let me clutch yet I see thee still, art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to the feeling as to
Macbeth’s delusion begins far before he kills Duncan. Right before he commits the murder he experiences a vivid hallucination of a dagger floating through the mist towards him, he then proceeds to state, “Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight? or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable as this which now I draw.”
The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a Testimony to the negative repercussions of vaulting ambition. In Macbeth, character's morals are put to the test by supernatural forces. This is illustrated by the character Macbeth, whose tragic downfall is ultimately the result of his ambition. Furthermore, Macbeth’s ambition leads him to kill King Duncan, Banquo; both he was originally loyal too, and Macduff’s family. Macbeth’s vaulting ambition causes him to make faulty decisions, thereby causing not only his own destruction, but the deaths of family and foe.
The play The Tragedy of Macbeth tells the story of a hero that plummets from his hero stature, into an abyss of darkness. Thus, turning Macbeth into the play's tragic hero. “....he allows himself to be seduced by the promises of boundless power, a man duped by false prophecies delivered by the forces of evil” (Bloom, 20). Although, is Macbeth simply a victim of the ideas ingrained into his head by the person he loved the most, or maybe just a hero turned villain by the greed for more power. Macbeth's beloved wife, Lady Macbeth doesn’t help the hero's decline into corruption, if anything she’s just one of the many reasons he falls into his downward spiral.
Shakespeare’s exploration of guilt is predominantly demonstrated through the portrayal of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The utilisation of a variety of language and stylistic devices enabled the audience to fully comprehend Macbeth/Lady Macbeth’s guilty conscience. A series of incidence’s prompted their guilt including Banquo’s and the King’s murder. The significant literary devices that aided Shakespeare’s portrayal of guilt include Asides, soliloquys and symbolism. The impact of the literary devices will be analysed in accordance with the portrayal of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s guilt.