The Emotions of Ambition, Remorse and Fear in Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Length: 387 words (1.1 double-spaced pages)
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The most important emotions that we see in Macbeth are ambition, remorse, and fear. They are significant because they provoke Macbeth to do evil and cruel things. Ambition takes control of him earlier in the play when the witches tell him he is going to be king. After he already has done the deed, killed Duncan, he is remorseful for his actions. Out of fear for himself, Macbeth murdered Macduff’s family and killed Banquo.
Macbeth is captured by his wild ambition at the opening of the play when he and Banqou meet the three witches. The witches tell Macbeth that he is the Thane of Cawdor, and later will be king. They tell Banquo that his sons will be kings. Instantly Macbeth started to fantasize how he is going to be king. He understood that in order for him to become king he has to kill Duncan. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical”(Act 1 Sc. 3, p.23). He was pondering about the assassination until the moment that he could no longer control his emotions. “To prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself and falls on the other-“(Act 1 Sc. 7, p.41). Because of his “vaulting ambition” he killed Duncan.
Macbeth feels a great deal of remorse after he has killed the king. He understands that he has committed a sin and will be punished. He is so terrified that he hears voices telling him:“ Macbeth does murder sleep, … , Macbeth shall sleep no more”(Act 2, Sc.2 p. 57). Macbeth is very upset with himself and wishes that he never killed Duncan. “To know my deed it were best not know myself.” When he hears strange knocking at the gate he wishes that it wakes up Duncan, “wake Duncan with thy knocking”, however it is too late (Act 2, Sc.3 p. 61).
After Macbeth was successfully crowned, his fear did not let go of him. Earlier in the play right before the murder of Duncan, Macbeth was afraid that if he would kill Duncan this sin would come back to haunt him. “ This even handed justice commends the ingredience of our poisoned chalice to our own lips”(Act 1 Sc. 7 p. 39). So now when everything seemed fine, Macbeth was actually very afraid that something was wrong.
He decided to see the witches again. One of the apparitions told him to beware of Macduff, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware of Macduff.” The witches also tell him that he can not be hurt by anyone who is born from a woman. But still, due to his fear he sets out to kill Macduff. He could not catch him so he kills his family instead. Fear and paranoia were driving Macbeth crazy until Macduff came around and killed him, for Macduff was not of woman born.
As we can see, the emotions of Macbeth are very important. He was greatly influenced by his ambition, fear and remorse. These emotions are significant because they stimulated Macbeth to do and not to do things mentioned above. If not for his ambition Duncan would still be alive and well. Because of his fear Macduff is now dead. Emotions need to be controlled and thought through or serious consequences may follow.