Insanity And Insanity In Macbeth

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A Guilty Conscience: How Guilt Drives the Powerful to Insanity Guilt is the cause of the destruction of many, particularly in Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth. As Macbeth and Lady Macbeth continue to murder for the sake of power, they embark on opposite journeys but their guilt ultimately drives them both to insanity. Macbeth goes from being driven mad with guilt, to his instability causing him to murder recklessly. His wife goes from expressing no compassion or guilt to her guilt overcoming her and driving her to madness. After the Macbeth kills Duncan, he has committed his first real murder. Though he has killed before, this is the first time he has ever killed someone he was supposed to be loyal to, the first time morality was not on his side. After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth is overcome with guilt causing him to lose his sense of what is real, of the real limits and properties of the world around him. To him his king’s blood spills in endless amounts from his hands. ““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.”(II.ii.79-81) He sees water, which was once pure like his conscience, now forever polluted by the blood resulting from his evil deed. This image acknowledges that Macbeth knows with killing Duncan there is no coming back from what he has done. This guilt and panic causes him to disconnect with reality and hallucinate infinite amounts of blood.

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