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.
In Robert Stevenson’s novella ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, Dr Jekyll transforms from the handsome “well-made” scientist into the devilish, sinful and villainous Mr Hyde. Similarly, in William Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Macbeth’, Macbeth transforms from a patriotic hero into a malevolent tyrant. By comparing the thoughts, intentions and actions within the protagonists’ behaviour, it is clear that both Stevenson and Shakespeare present the theme of change from good to evil within their stories. At the start of ‘Macbeth’, Macbeth is presented as a valiant, noble character, but Shakespeare uses varied language to foreshadow his downfall.
Throughout the Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the character of Macbeth possesses an essential characteristic of madness and irrationality that embodies the theme and important elements of the literary work. In the play, Macbeth’s character is perceived as so ambitious and desperate to achieve the greatest benefits for himself that his hysteria is manifested in the setting of the play, Scotland, in the characters that surround him such as his wife, Lady Macbeth, and his rival Macduff. In the play, Macbeth's inherent madness can be shown from the very beginning of the play. The character Macbeth enters the story as a captain of the king of Scotland’s,
Although introduced as a thoroughly hardened, ambitious woman, Lady Macbeth’s seemingly unbreakable character shatters when she is consumed by the demon of guilt. The guilt of Lady Macbeth seems nonexistent when she persuades Macbeth to kill King Duncan, but the heinous acts she and her husband commit throughout the play strain her slowly. Eventually, the guilt Lady Macbeth harbors emerges from her subconscious and crumbles her. The downfall of Lady Macbeth reveals that even the toughest, strongest, and most powerful people can succumb to guilt. At the commencement of William Shakespeare’s
Shakespeare engineered a most impressionable character in Macbeth who easily succumbs to the extensive magnitude of opposing constraints. This character is Macbeth, who is the protagonist in the play and husband to a conniving wife, who in the end is the sole cause for Macbeth 's undoing. Conflicting forces in the play compel internal conflicts within Macbeth to thrive on his contentment and sanity as he his torn asunder between devotion, aspiration, morality and his very own being. He has developed a great sense of loyalty from being a brave soldier; however, his ambition soon challenges this allegiance. As his sincerity begins to deteriorate, his own sanity starts to disintegrate until the point where he cannot differentiate between reality
In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the main character Macbeth, in many cases, is portrayed as being evil. However, his character is not truly the evil force driving the actions of the play. His wife, Lady Macbeth, as well as the witches and their misleading prophecies, are the real driving forces of Macbeth’s unspeakable actions. Macbeth is driven mad by the evil around him, causing him to turn to the violent behavior displayed throughout the many murders of the play.
At the beginning of the play Marson stated that Macbeth is portrayed as “valiant, dutiful to his sovereign, mild, gentle, and ambitious” (68). However, soon Macbeth is welcomed by the three witches and they speak their prophecy and declare him Thane of Cawdor. Still, Macbeth’s mental state is not shaken up, however, he is in a delusional state of mind. Macbeth rejoices and sends a letter to Lady Macbeth knowing that the witches’ prophecies come true. At the time, Macbeth has no interest in killing King Duncan, but Lady Macbeth does.
The Thane of King Duncan, Macbeth hears a prophecy that he himself will become king later on in the future after King Duncan. This then leads to Macbeth being overcome by greed. Since Macbeth greeds to be king so bad, he murders King Duncan and takes his place of the throne. Macbeth starts to live with so much guilt and fear that he commits even more murders to have his power safe. Macbeth is so confident in the prophecies that his life comes to a downfall and he gets killed by the people he did wrong.
The fact that Macbeth believes the witches’ prophecies are not evil nor good foreshadows how he will go on to kill any other person standing in his way to more power. His ambition blinds his mind to make him even think about ruthlessly committing a murder. This forceful way of gaining power will only lead Macbeth to become a “tyrant” in Scotland and his “fantastical” desires of killing Duncan and receiving the crown will lead Scotland to failure. Under Macbeth’s rule, Scotland seems to be in a terrible condition. With distrust among the people, there is tension all within the country, as Macbeth’s totalitarian regime had rendered the prosperity of Scotland.
Through keen use of action, soliloquy, and dialogue, Shakespeare causes any audience to react sympathetically to Macbeth’s negative attributes and perhaps even relate. For instance, Lady Macbeth’s manipulation is an aspect many readers can level with. Once it becomes clear that Macbeth’s mental health is diminishing, the audience inevitably begins to pity him. In his final moments, the desperation Macbeth feels is hard for the audience to ignore. Evaluating Macbeth’s character in full rather than focusing only on his negative attributes inevitably evokes sympathy from the reader.
At the beginning of William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ the protagonist Macbeth is described as ‘brave’, ‘noble’ and ‘honourable’, however Lady Macbeth’s and Macbeths desire for power consumes them. Macbeth’s ambition overrides his conscience and transformed his greatest strength into his greatest weakness. Macbeth’s inability to resist temptations that led him to be greedy for power, Macbeth’s easily manipulative nature which allowed his mind to be swayed, Macbeth having no self control and his excessive pride was what allowed him to renew his previously honourable and celebrated title into one of an evil ‘tyrant’. Macbeth is led by the prophecies of the witches after they foretell he will become the Thane of Cawdor. Not only the witches, but also his wife easily manipulate Macbeth as she attacks his manhood in order to provoke him to act on his desires.
Macbeth and Madness Imagine the President of the United States admitting to having mental instability. This scenario may rattle some, but it clearly plays out in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth. The play’s title character uses violence to maintain power but gradually plummets into mental illness. Before Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, conspire to murder his cousin Duncan, the King of Scotland, in order to attain authority, Macbeth foreshadows the possible repercussions; afterward, he experiences an immediate sense of remorse. The subsequent murder of a friend displays his progressive unsteadiness, but the massacre of an entire family demonstrates his transformation from instability to deviance.
In William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare introduces us to a man on a mission to assassinate the reigning king of Scotland, King Duncan. Through King Duncan, Shakespeare reveals Macbeth’s crude and unfiltered nature while capturing every second of Macbeth’s sadistic plan. With the use of paradox, internal character struggles, and the idea of fate, Shakespeare provides insight on what madness Macbeth created and the effect his madness has on other characters. Through the use of paradox in the play, minor details guide the path of the story to the very end.
Then, he hires murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance (Banquo’s son). They kill Banquo but Fleance manages to escape. Back at the castle during the banquet, Banquo’s ghost appears. Macbeth is struck with fear and guilt when he sees it. This is when Macbeth, for the first time, is expressing his internal guilt.
Choose a play that explores the moral and psychological deterioration of a central character Set in medieval Scotland and partly based on a true historical account, Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” charts the bloody rise to power and tragic downfall of the warrior Macbeth. Shakespeare utilises many literary techniques to create complex, central characters such as Macbeth and his wife Lady Macbeth. In doing this, the themes of ambition, power, manhood and disorder are introduced and explored. Macbeth is a general in the king 's army and originally the Thane of Glamis. He initially commits regicide in the play, but eventually goes on to order the death of close friends and women and children alike.