Conscience is the feeling that doing certain actions is wrong. It is something we have with us from birth, something that is also taught, developed and shaped through parents, especially during childhood. As children, we are taught what is right and what is wrong, by being given reasons and examples through very simple things. For instance, when a child takes another child’s chocolate, parents will teach their child that one must not take others possessions just because one wants to. But it’s worth mentioning that if a child’s needs haven’t been met, they will try to fulfill them at another child’s expense.
Conscience is the little voice we hear within us when we do something wrong. It might start very high in the beginning and keep repeating the same conviction of what we did wrong. But, if we keep ignoring it, the voice will become low, and disappear. It is a sign that one’s conscience falls. It is ignoring that feeling of guilt when doing wrong actions. Some people’s conscience falls and rises in an extreme way; Macbeth by William Shakespeare is the best example. Macbeth is an ambitious man. He is a powerful general in the king’s army, a war hero. Macbeth meets three witches, who tell him that he is “Thane of Glamis.” They predict that he will be “Thane of Cawdor” and that he shall be “King of Scotland.” Macbeth’s first conscience fall is shown when he thinks of killing King Duncan in order to have the crown. Macbeth questions the prediction: “This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, why hath it given me earnest of success commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs against the use of nature?” (1.3.23).These words of the witches cannot be bad, and cannot be good either. If they are bad, why do they promise me success? They said the truth; I am “Thane of Cawdor.” If it is good, why do I have this horrible image of a dead king? This thinking makes my hair stand on end, and my heart beats so fast. It knocks on my ribs against its usual beat. Macbeth has a conscience. Macbeth becomes angry when King Duncan gives his son Malcolm the title of “Prince of Cumberland” since Macbeth wants the crown. He wants to be the king after the king’s death. Macbeth’s conscience unravels when he says: “The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step on which I must fall down or else o’erleap, for in my way it lies. 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” (1.4.29). This is a confession of his desires. He wants to kill the King to satisfy his ambition, but Malcolm is in his way. He must fall down on that step or jump over it (Malcolm), for it is in his way. Till now, no plan to kill Duncan is contrived! It is still in Macbeth’s own mind. He sends his wife a letter about the witches in which Macbeth writes, “This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and Farewell.” (1.5.31). Between the lines of his letter we see how Macbeth offers his wife the title of a ‘Queen’. Therefore, she will help him to become a king. Lady Macbeth loves her husband. She wants him to be the king, to get the crown which he deserves. In the same time, she knows he is too kind and he does not have the evil in him to kill the king. She is a mere woman and she knows he will not listen to her, but she will argue him. She has a lack of conscience when she calls on spirits “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the top-full of direst cruelty” (1.5.38–41). She begged the spirits to unsex her, undo her, and let all the symbols of womanhood disappear. She wants to be cruel to help her