Guilt in Macbeth In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Shakespeare asks the audience to explore the nature of guilt. Macbeth feels guilt for killing Duncan at the beginning of the play. Shakespeare illustrates the guilt of the characters in the play through the use of compelling imagery, brilliant metaphors, and dynamic personification. Shakespeare uses imagery to depict the importance of symbols and how they represent the guilt Macbeth feels. Additionally, Shakespeare often utilizes Personification to give human characteristics or attributes to something nonhuman to symbolize guilt. Finally, he uses metaphors to compare Macbeth’s guilt to other ideas. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Shakespeare utilizes imagery, metaphors, and personification to depict how …show more content…
Throughout the play, three recurring types of imagery stand out: blood imagery, sleep imagery, and hallucination imagery. After Macbeth kills Duncan, he asks Lady Macbeth, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand?”(II. 2, 60–62). As Macbeth gazes at his hand, soaked in blood, he is haunted by the weight of his guilt, realizing that water cannot erase the stain of his crime. Neptune's vast ocean mirrors Macbeth's remorse for King Duncan as Macbeth's guilt will continue to consume him, resisting any attempts to wash it away. With every attempt to cleanse himself of the bloodstains, Macbeth's quest for forgiveness only drives him further down a path of darkness and corruption. The murder of King Duncan takes place at night while he is in an innocent sleep. This is symbolized when Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth, “Methought I heard a voice cry/Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep - the innocent sleep” (II, 2, 35-36). The imagery of sleep in Macbeth symbolizes the characters' internal confusion and guilt following the murder of Duncan. Macbeth's restless nights, and visions of the crimes he committed, reflect …show more content…
Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth use personification to illustrate the guilt they feel for murdering Duncan. While Macbeth is undergoing a soliloquy, contemplating killing King Duncan, he says, “Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee” (II. 1. 33-34). In this quote, Macbeth is in a state of internal conflict and turmoil. He questions the reality of the dagger he sees infront of his eyes, contemplating whether it is a figment of his imagination or an actual object. The fact that the handle is pointing towards his hand implies a tempting invitation to commit the murder of King Duncan. Macbeth's desire to clutch the dagger reflects his increasing willingness to embrace violence and his downfall into darkness, symbolizing his growing ambition and guilt. In these lines, the personification is evident as Macbeth imagines the dagger having agency and intention. The dagger is personified as it seemingly invites Macbeth to grasp it, symbolizing his internal struggle and the influence of his guilt on his perception of reality. Lady Macbeth profoundly uses personification to describe the physiological toll that the guilty has placed upon her. "These deeds must not be thought / After these ways; so, it will make us mad" (II. 2. 33-34). Lady Macbeth personifies the deeds they have committed, treating them as individuals with their own
Eventually, a revolt by the two men ends up killing Macbeth and in turn, ending his rule over Scotland. In the play, one can see that both characters are victims of the effects of murder and the power of guilt, which are represented by the motifs of sleep and blood.
Firstly, Macbeth is consumed by his "wicked dreams" due to his lack of sleep. (Shakespeare 2.1.49-51) Macbeth can no longer sleep after his sins. His nightmares only represent the cruel actions that are eating him alive. To add on, after Bruno disappoints Carlos by not catching the ball, he decides to act like he "twists his ankle" to sit out.
"Is this a dagger which I see before me,/ The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee./ I have thee not, and yet I see thee still" (2.1. 33-35). The use of this soliloquy demonstrates the guilt that Macbeth is feeling before he has even committed the act.
The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare demonstrates various feelings of guilt in the main characters throughout the play. The vital characters in this play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, change their point of view drastically when remembering and analyzing their first wrongdoing until the last. Shakespeare displays different progressions of guilt in The Tragedy of Macbeth through Macbeth and Lady Macbeth at the beginning and end of the play. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth’s guilt was very prominent.
As Shakespeare uses symbolism throughout the play, it indicates how Macbeth’s actions are causing him to become insane. To begin, After Macbeth has killed King Duncan, he starts to regret his decision. Macbeth hears a voice which says “Methought I heard a voice cry sleep no more!” (2.2.47-48).
Guilt is a prevalent theme in William Shakespeare's tragic play, Macbeth. Through the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare masterfully portrays the profound and devastating effects of guilt on the human psyche. As the play progresses, guilt gnaws at their souls, leading them down a path of destruction, madness, and ultimately, death. Macbeth, a nobleman, and a respected warrior at the beginning of the play, becomes consumed by guilt after he murders King Duncan to fulfill the witches' prophecy of becoming king. Initially, Macbeth is plagued by his conscience, experiencing guilt-ridden hallucinations and vivid nightmares.
In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses recurring images and references of daggers to illustrate the sinister and barbarous nature of Scotland under the tyrant Macbeth. Shakespeare had a dagger come to Macbeth as a sign at the opening of the play, telling him in a hallucination that he should use this specific dagger to slay King Duncan. Although Macbeth was first hesitant to murder King Duncan, the dagger's symbolism ultimately compels him to carry out the crime. Later in the play, when Donalbain and Malcolm decide to leave Scotland after the death of their father, the dagger motif is utilized to symbolize the core of treachery surrounding King Duncan's death and Macbeth's ascent to power. Ultimately, Shakespeare's use of daggers represents the immoral
When lady Macbeth and Macbeth are about to kill the king imagery is shown “What bloody man is that? He can report, As smeeth by his plight of the revolt the newest state.” (Act I,ii). The Imaginary blood represents the guilt of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth which foreshadows the blood of the king when they murder
He is not only burdened by the physical act of murder but also by the moral and emotional weight of his actions. In the immediate aftermath, he expresses remorse, wishing he could undo his actions and wake Duncan from eternal slumber, declaring “Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!” (Act 2, Scene 2, p 83); however, Macbeth's guilt drives him to commit further atrocities, desperate to conceal his past crimes, thrusting him deeper into a descent of madness. The interplay between his overwhelming remorse and his internal struggle with guilt serves as a driving force, propelling him along a path of
He murders King Duncan to steal the throne, not anticipating the immense wave of guilt that will wash over him as a result of his crime. Beginning to panic in the moments following the murder, Macbeth wonders, “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” (Shakespeare 2.2.78-81). Though Macbeth’s longing to be King drove him to murder, the guilt he experiences from this action consumes him.
However, now he “almost forgot the taste of fears”, as his constant involvement with murder has numbed his sense of emotion. The feeling of disgust and hatred that guilt once made Macbeth feel towards himself is no longer present; instead, it has been replaced with a strong desire to
Guilt is a major theme throughout the story of Macbeth and the play portrays Macbeth’s guilt in forms of hallucinations, paranoia, and more. Throughout the play, Shakespeare discusses two different points of view on guilt. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth go through immense guilt throughout the play in completely different ways. In Macbeth, the character Macbeth experiences his guilt in ways that were severe at the time and it is explained within three different scenes throughout the play.