Guilt And Conscience In Macbeth

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A person who experiences unresolved guilt is usually plagued by their guilty conscience. They find it hard to concentrate or enjoy their life until it is resolved. In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, guilt has a profound influence on the conscience of the characters. Many of the characters in the play experience extreme guilt about their actions throughout their rise to power, which contributes to their downfall. In the play, Shakespeare established the the of guilt and conscience through the characters of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Macduff. Throughout the play, the character of Macbeth constantly feels guilt and remorse over his actions during his rise to power. For example, after he murders King Duncan, Lady Macbeth asks Macbeth to return to Duncan’s room, but he feels so much guilt for his actions that he becomes…show more content…
For instance, while she is waiting for Macbeth to return from killing King Duncan, she remarks that she would have killed Duncan “had he not resembled [her] father.” Lady Macbeth’s choice not to kill Duncan stems from her conscience. If she killed Duncan while he reminded her of her father, Lady Macbeth would have felt tremendous amounts of guilt. The theme of guilt and conscience is also established during Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene. During her sleepwalking scene, Lady Macbeth laments her involvement with Duncan’s assassination and attempts to wash away the nonexistent blood on her hands, claiming that “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” the blood she smells on them.The hallucination of blood on her hands illustrates how Lady Macbeth’s guilty conscience has affected her. She has been so negatively affected by her guilt that she can smell the blood of Duncan despite the blood not being real. Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth’s descent into insanity to further the theme of guilt and
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