The Importance Of Conscience In Hamlet And Macbeth

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People’s conscience’s guide their actions, behaviors, and decisions on a daily basis, but is a person’s conscience powerful enough to determine whether they will live or die? Shakespeare would argue that it is. According to his writing, he would even go as far as implying that a person’s conscience is the reason that one might choose to kill himself. Two of Shakespeare's most famous plays, Hamlet and Macbeth, are prime examples of how a character’s guilty conscience combined with a character’s perceived lack of hope can lead them down a path of ultimate destruction and damnation over time. In both Hamlet and Macbeth, Shakespeare unveils his theme of how a person’s conscience guides them by describing how guilt and self doubt cause protagonist…show more content…
And, although Hamlet is able to realize his own fall, his honor and loyalty to his father prevent him from attempting to escape his insanity (Terry 1). All of Hamlet’s hope becomes lost as he realizes that achieving a comfortable future is inexorable without involving grim revenge. “It is this attempt both to please the state and God and to remain honorable that leads to Hamlet's crisis of conscience and, ultimately, to his tragic death”(Terry 1). On the other hand, Claudius’ realization that his guilty conscience has overtaken his ability to function comes later in Act III Scene III, in his soliloquy. A similarity that Macbeth and Hamlet share is the involvement of character soliloquies. Macbeth and Claudius both relate their struggles and mental disabilities to their failing consciences during their monologues. Each character’s soliloquy is derived from guilt, and each express the character’s moral dilemma and concerns regarding judgment, angels and ultimately heaven or damnation (Cauchi 336). Macbeth battles with his emotions in his soliloquy

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