Honors 10 English
1 March 2018
Beneath ambition characteristics are demolished
Without all the words about guilt and conscience, the famous play Macbeth would be one
long killing spree; with Shakespeare’s famous lines about the theme of guilt, the noble Macbeth and ruthless Lady Macbeth become fascinating and flawed human beings in a tale of ambition, murder, love and death. The returning hero Macbeth and his strong wife, Lady Macbeth, depend on each other to unite their desires and to gain the crown. Macbeth has a vaulting ambition, combined with a guilty conscience that tortures him throughout the play. Lady Macbeth uses her fierce strength to incite Macbeth to act, and she feels no remorse about doing so. Weak Macbeth needs powerful Lady Macbeth to drown out the voice of his conscience, so their actions match their desire for him to be king.
Once Macbeth hears the witches’ prophecies, he is confident that he will become king, without working for it. When he discovers it isn’t as easy as he thinks, he considers if he truly needs to become king because he doesn’t want anyone to realize his feelings, that will soon turn into murdering King Duncan. Macbeth only wishes it were a dream, so he wouldn’t have to painfully experience it, but Macbeth knows that when he opens his eyes, he will eventually have to see his immoral deed.
Stars hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires.
The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. (1.4 57-60)
His conscience is still strong, and he is shocked that he is contemplating killing his good friend. The guilt and tortures of Macbeth's conscience start even before Duncan is murdered; knowing he is planning the murder makes Macbeth hesitant he can go through with it, but Lady Macbeth tells him to be confident in his thoughts and brave in following it out into steps to take the crown. She contrasts with her husband in the way of having no principles at all to stand for. Duncan’s murder is the start of Macbeth’s wild ambition needing to kill and his conscience losing himself. Macbeth feels embarrassed that he feels pressured to kill others for a selfish gain of wanting to become king. His conscience is stepping in and is reminding him of what type of man he is and questions if he truly needs and wants the crown. “What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes.” (2.2.77), he can’t bear to glance at his hands, he is so horrified by what he sees.
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. (2.2. 78-81)
Lady Macbeth orders him to go wash his hands, and it is she who takes the bloody daggers away to smear the blood on two guards, hoping she won’t be suspected of the crime. Lady Macbeth
doesn’t ridicule him, but she is always wondering why he self-doubts himself, but she continues to take advantage of not having...