The Role Of Fear In Macbeth

Good Essays
Fear. An abomination of the mind, an unseen killer. Within every human, this abstract and corrosive force plays part in persuading to take action, often in the most despicable of ways. So is this also true in Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Macbeth. Throughout this sinister story, terror proved to be the most potent force in influencing the actions made by its characters. Macbeth, and all those defying his rule were driven by dread.
Macbeth’s thirst for power was speedily overtaken by paranoia after murdering King Duncan, resulting in him having even his best friend murdered, not to mention Macduff’s wife and children. We know Macbeth killed his best friend from how he spoke of him in the following lines: “There is none but he/ Whose being
…show more content…
As Macduff sought out men to fight for the throne, he spoke of Macbeth’s treachery as follows: “Each new morn/ new widows howl, new orphans cry” (IV.iii.4-5). Macduff obviously thought terrible things of Macbeth, and blamed him for killing many men and causing grief throughout his kingdom. This makes Macbeth a tyrant and murderer, and having a tyrannical ruler like that causes fear in a nation’s people. This is shown before Macbeth went out to battle as he orders, “Send out more horses. Skirr the country round. / Hang those that talk of fear” (V.iii.35-36). Macbeth speaks of hanging those who are fearful because it is the one thing that will set his people against him, and is present because of his slaughters. Without fearing Macbeth, nobody would have had a reason to band together against him. Greed, dislike of Macbeth, or any other reason for dethroning the tyrant held no power in forming an army except…show more content…
This means that the prophecy only came true because the witches said it in the first place. This argument seems logical since Macbeth would have not even considered assassinating king Duncan, let alone anyone else, if the witches had never spoken to him. However, this argument is flawed because the only reason Macbeth and others fulfilled most of the prophecy is because they were afraid, and even if the witches did hold more power in this story than fear, the most powerful thing would not be them, but what controls them or gives them their power to control, and what gives them their power throughout the story is fear. Macbeth told his wife, as she tried to get him to kill Duncan, “Bring forth men-children only, / for thy undaunted mettle should compose/ nothing but males” (I.vii.73-73). This conveys that Macbeth simply killed Duncan because his of his wife’s cunning, and for fear of her, he was persuaded. In addition, we have already seen that the prophesying of Macbeth’s downfall only led him to murder Banquo and Macduff’s family because he feared losing all he had won. Banquo seemed the last obstacle in his way after hearing only the first prophecy because his sons would receive the throne, so Macbeth tried to kill him and his son out of fear of losing his
Get Access