Macbeth Guilt

Submitted By lneaton1996
Words: 751
Pages: 4

AP Lit
Revised Timed Write

Macbeth is a work of literature that forces the protagonist, Macbeth, to contend with an aspect of the past: his guilt. Stemming from one of the first few acts of the play, Macbeth is constantly bombarded with reminders of his greed and guilt, which reinforces the play’s theme; nobody is immune to the destructive nature of guilt and greed. His deplorable actions and guilt had a lasting impact on his life and decision making process, which further proves that Macbeth is not immune to the consequences of his actions. A major part of the play is how Macbeth’s past actions persistently haunted him. This drew upon the play’s theme of guilt and the resulting consequences. For instance, before Macbeth murdered King Duncan, he began to exhibit signs of remorse and apprehension, such as the floating dagger. Symbolically, the dagger represented Macbeth’s acknowledgment of the atrocity he was about to commit, as well as his conscience. When Macbeth sees the dagger, he mentions that the longer he stood there fixated on the dagger, the more apprehensive he grew about murdering King Duncan. Even more so, Macbeth admits that he will never sleep again after he’d murdered King Duncan, a sure sign of a guilty conscience rather than an apathetic monster. Macbeth conceding to this idea addresses the idea that he will never be able to get over Duncan’s death, his guilt a constant reminder up until his own demise. This is only one of many instance of Macbeth’s guilty conscience driving him to insanity and his eventually downfall. Shakespeare frequently draws upon Macbeth’s suffering to drive home the theme of guilt and greed’s destructive impact, and that Macbeth has no less of a conscience than anyone else. Macbeth isn’t the only character to acknowledge the existence of his conscience. Lady Macbeth, upon learning that Macbeth had been prophesized to be the future king, immediately called into question her husband’s malevolency. One could assume that Macbeth’s wife would know him well enough to adequately assess his morals, especially in regards to committing questionable acts. Lady Macbeth, in her own dialogue, mentions briefly how she’d have to help Macbeth overcome what was keeping him from going after the crown. All of this hesitation and analysis on the part of his Lady Macbeth clearly shows that Macbeth has fairly decent morals, though he unmistakably did not act on them. The theme of guilt’s unmistakable influence dominates much of the play, which is especially evident in the decay of Macbeth’s mental health. Macbeth didn’t end his killing spree with King Duncan, but rather he resorted to murdering his friend, Banquo, as well. At this point, Macbeth’s mental status isn’t quite up to par. Not only does